In­tro­duc­ing our third-ever Women’s Is­sue.


I BE­GAN CLIMB­ING 30 years ago at age 15, and con­sider my­self for­tu­nate to have had women teach­ers and men­tors from the get-go. Adair Peter­son, an in­struc­tor with the New Mex­ico Moun­tain Club, taught me how to ar­rest a fall­ing climber. And out at Al­bu­querque’s sharp, granitic U-Mound Boul­ders, Kathy Ko­con and Jes­sica Glad­stone, two steel-fin­gered lo­cals from town, showed me and my fel­low teenage mis­cre­ant friends how to climb grace­fully and send the hard­est prob­lems. These women helped teach me what it meant to be a climber.

In the late 1980s, women and kids were out­liers in a sport pop­u­lated by adult men, which is prob­a­bly why we grav­i­tated to­ward each other. Things have changed, how­ever—more women and young peo­ple climb than ever, thanks in no small part to the gym ex­plo­sion—and that’s a good thing. Climb­ing is for ev­ery­body, a shift in the land­scape we’ve tried to re­flect on these pages. First, Noël Phillips de­tails the rise of women in climb­ing (p.22). Then, Yosemite badasses Alexa Flower and Mi­randa Oak­ley of­fer a Guide’s Tip (p.40) on safer rap­pelling and help us sur­vive the deadly Val­ley with their in­ves­ti­ga­tion of five re­cent Yosemite ac­ci­dents (p.44). Me­gan Walsh takes us through a 200-plus-year time­line of women’s achieve­ments in the hills (p.54). We learn why women should not train “like small men” from Drew Hig­gins (p.60). Julie El­li­son pro­files Jaime Lo­gan, for­merly Jim, a pi­o­neer­ing Colorado climber who tran­si­tioned to be­come a woman in the past five years (p.66). And jour­nal­ist Alex Lubben sprints to keep up with the Ira­nian speed climber Far­naz Es­maeilzadeh (p.72).

This is­sue marks only the third Women’s Is­sue in Climb­ing’s his­tory. The first, no. 103, was in 1987; the sec­ond, no. 347, was last year. In no. 347, El­li­son, the for­mer ed­i­tor of Climb­ing, de­tailed an in­ci­dent at In­dian Creek in which two male climbers as­sumed she wasn’t up for lead­ing a dif­fi­cult pitch and so acted as if she weren’t there. It trou­bles me that sex­ist bull­shit like this is far from a thing of the past at the cliffs and on­line, but this is still our re­al­ity, some 30 years af­ter the first Women’s Is­sue. Lit­tle men have al­ways been threat­ened by strong women. But we can counter this nar­ra­tive with more pos­i­tive ones, like those on these pages, and by be­ing real and kind to each other. So, to the Adair Peter­sons, Kathy Ko­cons, Jes­sica Glad­stones, our fe­male con­trib­u­tors, and the count­less women guid­ing, lead­ing, and help­ing re­shape the sport and the in­dus­try, I say, “Thank you.” Climb­ing would not be half as awe­some with­out you.


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