Friday, July 10, 2015

Women's Concerns on Day Trips

All climbers in the backcountry need to find the best way to interact with the environment and also take care of their health while they are out-of-doors. Women sometimes have different needs in the backcountry than men do. If you’re a woman signed up for a daylong course with AAI, here are a few tips and tricks to help you have fun and be successful:

1    Peeing outside.

For most AAI courses, you will not have consistent access to a flush toilet or latrine throughout the day. This means that you will need to pee outside at the location your instructor designates (feel free to ask if they don’t mention early in the day where you should go). You will want to bring some toilet paper and a Ziploc bag or bandana to use to wipe after going to the bathroom.

To go to the bathroom, go to the designated spot and squat to pee. Then wipe and pack out any toilet paper in a Ziploc bag. If you use a bandana instead of TP, you can tie it on your pack to dry out afterward. A small container of hand sanitizer is nice to have to clean your hands after going to the bathroom.

2    If you have your period…

Be sure to pack out any used tampons or pads in a Ziploc bag. You can wrap the outside of the Ziploc with duct tape ahead of time to keep it discrete if you want.  

Menstrual cups such as the DIVA Cup are also great for the backcountry, though you shouldn’t feel the need to invest in one just for a short course if you don’t already use one. DIVA Cups can often be worn all day without needing to empty them.

3    Stay hydrated.

Be sure to drink plenty of water while you are out on your course—at least two liters throughout the day, and possibly more if you are in the desert and the temperatures are high. Some women let themselves get dehydrated so they can avoid going to the bathroom outside, then crash and burn on their course. Don’t let that happen to you!


We hope to see you out there on one of our courses soon. We get a ton of women on different AAI trips and courses, so if you haven’t climbed before don’t be intimidated. Just sign up and get after it!

--Shelby Carpenter, AAI Instructor and Guide

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