rock climbing

Outdoor Retailer: Day 3 - Women Who Dare

In a quiet meeting room at the Marriott across the street from the high paced energy of the trade show floor, I found myself in the presence of 5 climbing legends. This was not your ordinary gathering of climbing greats, it was better. The 5 athletes sitting in the front of the room represented decades of experience, record breaking ascents, pioneers in the sport, successful examples of leadership, and they were all women.

Kitty Calhoun, Lynn Hill, Kate Rutherford, Brittany Griffith, Angie Payne and Deanne Buck. (L-R)

Kitty Calhoun, Lynn Hill, Kate Rutherford, Brittany Griffith, Angie Payne and Deanne Buck. (L-R)

When planning my schedule for Outdoor Retailer (OR), this event had come on my radar from the Outdoor industries Women's Coalition (OIWC). The event was described as follows:

Join OIWC and a panel of elite female climbers to discuss the qualities of great leaders- both in climbing and in business. You will also have the opportunity to meet Chris Noble, author of 'Women Who Dare.' 

OIWC executive director, Deanne Buck, will moderate with panelists Kate Rutherford, Angie Payne, Brittany Griffith and Kitty Calhoun. [Lynn Hill was on the panel as well]. The panel will discuss Centered Leadership - a theme OIWC has been focused on this year and that is tied in to a McKinsey Report on successful women leaders and the qualities they embody. Their model ties in very well to traits climbers naturally embrace and cultivate. A couple of the themes that might be included in this panel include how successful leaders find meaning in their work or how they manage energy to build to success.

Inspiring athletes, legends in their fields of expertise offering leadership and business advice... aren't opportunities like this one of the main reasons to attend a trade show like OR?

The answer is, yes!

The conversation easily flowed covering leadership, communication, success, failure, fear and courage and how these relate to life, athletics, careers and goals. Each woman drew upon her personal experiences as a climber to provide valuable insights into leadership, pursuing a non-traditional path, the roles of fear and failure in finding success, and the importance of supporting and being supported by those around you. 

Over the past couple of weeks since returning home from OR I often find myself thinking about this conversation, finding inspiration in things they said, remembering lessons from stories told, and sharing these bits of wisdom with women I know.

I am finding the courage to go after the things I really want. Trusting what feels right. Breaking things down into pieces to get to my goal. Remembering to keep trying and working on the project when it doesn't go as I planned... both at the crag and at my desk.

A big thanks to Kitty Calhoun, Lynn Hill, Kate Rutherford, Brittany Griffith, Angie Payne for being Women Who Dare and OIWC for putting the event together.

Book signing of  'Women Who Dare'

Book signing of 'Women Who Dare'

The women of  'Women Who Dare'

The women of 'Women Who Dare'

Sierra Club Rock Checkout & Getting on the Sharp End

This spring we went out to Alabama Hills near the foot of Mt.Whitney and took part in the Sierra Club Rock Checkout, as with all of the Sierra Club LTC (Leadership Training Course) requirements that we have undertaken this year we learned a lot, got to show off our own skills, and met some really cool people. Saveria and I both received our M Rock rating and I got to practice some E Rock skills with great instructors and get some valuable experience. Alabama Hills is a spot you can't miss as it is passed on your way to the Whitney Portal. We passed it ourselves earlier this year on our way to the Mountaineers Route in April. For the first time we got out and played a bit on the rocks saying to each other it would be fun to come back and climb here, a few months later we were back ready to climb.

I got to drive out early with a couple of our mentors, Patrick and Dan, to get an extra climbing day, little did I know a special moment was hours away. There are some fun sports climbs in the Alabama Hills area and we went over to a wall that had a good progression of grades so Patrick and I started climbing and we worked over to a 2 pitch 5.6, Patrick lead up to the first set of anchors and set up a top rope for me. I climbed the fun friction route and I felt pretty strong. When I got down Patrick asked if I wanted to lead it, I looked at him and said yes, yes I do. I gathered my quick draws and Patrick pulled down the rope and I tied in to the Sharp End. I started up and a whole new world opened up, I climbed to the end of the first pitch and clipped the chains. I came down to high fives from some people I really admired which was fantastic I tried to call Bob right away, but he was on another trip. That was the start of the weekend.

The following days were full of a lot of great experiences and great people. Over the two days days we had to show knowledge of a number of climbing related skills and proficiency in using them. Upon demonstrating our ability to perform and use the various skills safely we passed the checkout. We are on our way to our official Sierra Club leader's ratings which feels great!

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Merry Go Round Restaruant, Lone Pine, CA

The surprise of the weekend was discovering great Chinese food in Lone Pine at Merry- Go-Round! The owners went above and beyond to accommodate our large group without reservations even asking other patrons to switch tables so we could all sit together. The food was tasty and a welcome change to pizza or burgers... the normal Lone Pine options.

Interview: Dan Richter

Dan Richter will always be the most interesting guy in the room, but his relaxed and cool demeanor never boast of it. Saveria and I were lucky enough to meet him, in one of his current positions as a Sierra Club leader and guest speaker at the Wilderness Travel Course. We were immediately drawn to his passion for climbing that began in his childhood in the Alps. Saveria and I then attended his Advanced Mountaineering Program, taught with fellow climbing mentor Patrick McKusky. Dan quickly became one of our climbing mentors and also a friend. I have enjoyed amazing conversation with him, specifically on my other passion, movies. Because you see, Dan in another life choreographed and starred in the man-ape sequence of 2001. He was also a mime and worked closely with John Lennon and Yoko Ono from 1969-1973. I said the most interesting guy in the room right? Dan was also kind enough to answer our AdventurUs hero interview questions.