Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Women's Programs at AAI

Many women prefer the empowerment of a trip run by female guides and populated by female climbers. Those who come out of these programs often find friendships and climbing partnerships that last for years. Surprisingly, these types of programs are relatively new. Most of them have been developed in just the last decade.


It certainly wasn’t because women didn’t want to learn how to climb. Instead, it was because there just weren’t that many female mountain guides out there. It took a number of courageous female climbers to break through this “glass ceiling;” the first of which was Alma Wagon.

A few years ago I had the honor of writing an article about this pioneering guide for the Northwest Mountaineering Journal. Wagon began her career in 1918 and laid the groundwork for every female climber and guide to come. To read about her, click here.

Though there still is a deficit of female guides in the industry, this group of individuals grows every year as does the popularity of women specific climbing programs.

For those who feel some trepidation about issues that relate specifically to women in the mountains, websites like Rockclimbing.com provide open forums for women to talk about these issues as they relate to climbing.

If you are interested in a more thorough history of women in climbing and guiding, you might try one of the following books:

Women on High: Pioneers of Mountaineering by Rebecca A. Brown
Annapurna: A Woman’s Place by Arlene Blum
Clouds from Both Sides by Julie Tullis
High Infatuation: A Climber's Guide to Love and Infatuation by Steph Davis
Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World by Lynn Hill

For more information on Women’s Programs at AAI, please call us at (360) 671-1505!

Jason D. Martin

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