This new climbing route in Staunton State Park promotes inclusion in the outdoors

“The bolder people, who feel like it must be a replica of a high school, where the strongest, meanest dudes, often a very homogeneous type of granola white dude, come in and poison the atmosphere. “Vo said. . “It seemed like something I felt very strongly when I entered the climbing gym… it took me a while to find a community. “

The two women have started organizations to create welcoming spaces for various climbers. However, the general lack of diversity among people who set routes in gyms and outdoors manifests itself in other ways.

“In particular, there are some really horrible racist names that have been put on these roads,” Vo said.

These names are then listed in guides and online. Like Prehmus, she also pointed out that the protective anchors on many sport routes are attached dangerously for smaller climbers.

She summed it up by saying, “Basically a lot of the ways these routes were developed never really took into account what kind of needs someone like me would have, a 5 foot 2 little woman of color. inches. . “

Blount said rock climbing is a form of stress relief for her, and setting a route outside was a relief after the pandemic made rock climbing in rock gyms difficult or impossible.

“I found the idea of ​​going out and doing a puzzle piece out of a very large mountain wall to be the most incredible opportunity. I can’t tell you how happy I was to finish the road and complete that last hole, ”said Blount.

They plan to name the new route “Patterson’s Pitch” in honor of Mary Jane Patterson, one of the first black women to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Colorado climber Monserrat Alvarez Matehuala was among the first to climb the new route.

“It was personally really amazing to climb a route marked out by two women of color,” said Alvarez Matehuala. to have these privileges, to step aside and give up these resources and share knowledge so that our people can continue to develop their own roles. “