She Moves Mountains exists to empower and educate women and gender minorities through technical climbing clinics and community events.
In the guiding industry, only 15% of working guides are women. Of that 15% only a small portion are Women of Color or from the LGBTQ+ community.
Guiding as a career is full of hurdles; a large financial and time commitment, as well as the experience and skill to qualify for rigorous training programs. We established the SMM mentorship program to address, and counter, this disparity in our industry.
The program aims to provide an opportunity to explore what it means to be a guide in a supportive and encouraging environment. To create a space where you can shadow current instructors while having the opportunity to ask questions about the realities of becoming and being a guide.
Participants will have the opportunity to shadow 4-8 clinics as assistants which may include setting up top-ropes, cleaning routes, monitoring belays, coiling ropes and helping with demonstrations.
We believe strong mentorship relationships and representation within the climbing community are invaluable, and we see our relationship with mentees as a partnership. In addition to support and guidance, SMM will offer 3-4 free workshops for participants to build necessary skills for tackling guiding certifications.
There are ten spots for new applicants for the 2022 season. If you are interested in becoming a guide or instructor but are unsure about the initial financial investment, this is a great opportunity for you!
Basic requirements are weekend availability (2-6) at Smith Rock State Park, Joshua Tree, or Moab from March to November, including a day of training at the beginning of the season. Ideally, candidates will feel comfortable leading sport at the 5.9 grade and above and have been introduced to the basics of traditional climbing. Most importantly, we want to use our resources and platform to help diversify the climbing community and reach underrepresented and marginalized groups, so if this mission speaks to you, we want to hear more!
The application deadline is February 15th and participants will be notified by March 1st.
If the purpose of our mentorship program speaks to you, we would love your support! We have created a fundraiser to cover the expenses to provide clinics at no cost to the mentees. Our goal of $2,500 will provide wages and insurance for SMM guides to run up to four clinics that cover necessary skills for participants to tackle their first instructor courses and exams. Any additional funds will be used to offset the cost to any mentee who wishes to pursue guide courses following the program.
Since our 2020 program was unable to run due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have retained a few mentees who are excited to stick with us in 2021. Read about them below.
Cathy is a Bay Area native who was lucky enough to discover climbing in college. Since then she dove headfirst into the outdoor universe, and ended up teaching a variety of courses ranging from canoe camping, to a multi-pitch climbing course in Red Rocks. Growing up Asian American, Cathy was never exposed to the outdoors like many of her adventure partners, and is forever grateful for the opportunities that have given her the valuable skills she has today.
Cathy Participated in the Mentorship program in 2021, was accepted into the AMGA Women's Rock Guide Course in the fall, and has now worked a few events with us at SMM!
"I truly believe that recreation in the outdoors is for everyone, and that climbing is a wonderful gateway to it. Nowadays, I'm based in the Bay Area and spend most of my time climbing and skiing in the lovely Sierras."
Marayah spent the 2021 season shadowing more clinics and events than any other mentee! Their hard work paid off, and they became SPI Certified this fall.
They have a clear drive and dedication to the sport, as well as instructing. Marayah's assistance was invaluable during our 2021 season and we're so excited to see what the future has in store!
“This is exactly the type of program I’ve wanted to invest in and grow from. Climbing has been transformative to finding deep rest in my identity and has positively influenced how I understand my connection to the earth and my community. Ultimately, I want to guide with special focus on breaking down barriers unique to underrepresented groups; my goal is to inspire others to push forward and commit to chasing dreams without regard to any odds that seem stacked against them.”