“Step up and BELIEVE!” was the the mantra for the long weekend that brought together women from all over the country for Backcountry athlete Steph Davis’s fall women’s clinic in Moab. They came to learn, to improve, and to challenge themselves in expected and unexpected ways. The women’s clinic, now in its fifth year, is all about “giving women a comfortable environment to learn safety skills and empowering them to progress with their climbing.”
Backcountry Gearhead Karsyn Ansari, an experienced climber herself, got to attend this fall’s clinic and help out. “One of the most awesome things I observed during the clinic is how great it is for people to have a chance to learn new skills in a low-pressure situation. I’ve always felt that people learn best when they can relax, ask questions, and practice to their heart’s content, and this clinic was absolutely ideal in this respect.”
Climbers got the chance to learn to lead while on top rope, a low-pressure way to learn a vital skill. On the ground, partners practiced belaying and learning to use a Grigri.
Time on the rock was supplemented with “classroom” demonstrations at Moab’s city park. Climbers learned and practice important skills such as how to safely clean a route, how to set up a rappel, how to inspect anchors to make sure they are safe, and a variety of knots and situations in which to use them.
The group takes to Wall Street for more practice and to get a feel for crack climbing.
On top of incredible climbing spots, Moab boasts spectacular scenery that’s yet another draw for the clinic.
The clinic’s made up from a myriad of small but significant moments, according to Steph: “It’s great when people have an ‘aha’ moment with rope work or systems, and learn something that will make them more confident and safe in the future.”
Says Steph, “The positive spirit and camaraderie shared among female climbers is great. I introduce everyone by email before the clinic and often people end up sharing a house together or making travel plans, or climbing together before or after the clinic. A lot of people stay in touch and plan trips together, even if they’re from different parts of the country. I really love that!”
Karsyn confirms, “I think climbers in general are always fun to be around, and super encouraging, but there is something about being in a group of lady climbers that pretty much guarantees constant encouragement and never-ending fun! Oh, and don’t forget the jokes!”
Learn more about Steph’s women’s climbing clinics here.