Dispatch: What I Learned From A Women's Alpine Camp
Amy Mishkin—the winner of OR's 2016 #SheAdventures scholarship—just got back from women's alpine climbing camp with ACMG guide Sarah Hueniken. And she's even more ready for adventure than ever before. Already a climber, skier and hiker, Amy's goal was to broaden her experience with alpine climbing and become more self sufficient in the mountains. We chatted with Amy to find out what the camp was like, what she learned—and what she'll take with her on her future adventures. Here's what she said:
I was extremely interested in the camp because it was alpine climbing, a mountain activity I had never done before. I also was completely unfamiliar with the gear necessary for the trip and am so happy that Sarah and Kir (our guides) as well as the other ladies helped me become more familiar with it! I have rock climbed, backcountry skied, and hiked big peaks, but this trip was my first time hiking through a glacier; I have only skied on one. I loved the idea of a guided trip where I could learn how to safely navigate glacial terrain in the hopes that I will be able to do it on my own in the future.
The most challenging moment was throughout the trip and it was learning all of the new knots and rope management skills. Many of the women had more experience with alpine climbing, glacier travel, and trad climbing, but all of these skills were brand new to me! It was a lot of new information in a very short period of time and I wanted to make sure I knew how to do everything properly to make sure I was safe! I also wanted to learn these skills not only for the trip itself, but to be able to use them in the future.
Resources, knowledge, experience, mentors, experience, and gear are all necessary in order to safely and efficiently travel through the mountains. The mountains are a humbling place, you can always learn more, push yourself further, and add to the gear collection in order to do so.
My favorite part of the trip was the camaraderie between all of the women. Each individual on the trip is an inspiring mountain adventurer and it was so fun to get to spend a week with a group of women who loved the mountains as much as I do! I am looking forward to doing more adventures with them in the future!
There are many aspects of the trip that I am excited to continue in my personal adventures. The first is the idea of a women-only program. I think being with a group of all girls for an entire week in the mountains was incredible and definitely something I want to continue to do in the future. The second was all of the travel we did every day and the peaks we summitted. When Sarah and Kir would say the plan for the day, I would look at the mountain above and think, how is that even possible? I learned that I am capable of safely climbing and traveling a lot of bigger peaks that are visually really intimidating and I can't wait to take this confidence on more mountaineering in the future! The third is all of the knowledge I learned over the week. I became much more comfortable with my rock climbing gear and learned a lot of new rope skills specific to alpine climbing. I hope to use this both while traveling over more glacial terrain as well as traveling in areas with crevasses while backcountry skiing!