Women’s Climbing Festival 2016 – Bishop, CA

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Flash Foxy 2016 Women's Climbing Festival - Campfire Chic

The weekend of February 19-21, 2016, was awesome! The first Flash Foxy Women’s Climbing Festival was held in Bishop, California.

A few months earlier, I was online and ready to pounce the moment registration opened. In the excitement of getting the tickets, booking my motel room, and trying to get an idea of who else was registering for the festival I stopped and thought: what the hell am I doing? I don’t know anybody going to this festival. Alex can’t come with me. I’m not even that strong of a climber, I’m going to make a complete fool of myself.

In the following months, it was decided that Alex and one of our friends would drive up with me and go on their own adventures while I was at the festival. I signed up for a workshop designed for women who boulder in the gym and are not familiar with climbing outside (even though I’ve been outside a few times), and made sure to participate in the private Facebook group “switchboard” to see if I knew any of the other women who registered for the event.

I didn’t train as much/hard as I planned and I knew that as February 19th approached I needed to come to grips with the possibility of not being able to send any of the routes (climb to the top of a boulder) in Bishop. I was really nervous about the entire weekend.

Climbing Pad Tetris - Campfire Chic

I ended up knowing an internet friend who would be at the event and luckily, she was the first person I ran into the day of the event. We met for the first time the night before at the brewery in town (and also the registration location) and she spotted me pulling into the parking lot. I nervously hung out with her and her two friends before heading into the fairgrounds to check out the demo gear that was up for grabs and finding our workshop groups.

Evolv was demoing (allowing you to borrow) shoes so I opted for a pair of shoes that are higher up on the food chain than any of the pairs I own. If I was going to be climbing in one of the most iconic climbing areas in the United States (if not the world), I wanted to wear some kick-ass shoes.

I registered for the “Bridging the Gap” workshop for women who wanted to taking their indoor bouldering outside because it seemed like it was a good transition workshop for somebody like me who has the technical skills but isn’t at the level to be climbing highballs (long and difficult bouldering problems that are higher than 15 feet off the ground). I quickly learned that the other women had been climbing at the gym for a few months and I felt a little silly that I’ve been recreationally climbing for a few years but don’t have much to show for it.

Flash Foxy Womens Climbing Festival 2016 - Bridging the Gap Workshop - Campfire Chic

What was the biggest thing I learned?

Climbing with women rocks.

I usually climb with Alex and maybe some of his friends or I quietly cycle through a section of the bouldering area where beta-spraying men want to be helpful but forget that I’m over a foot shorter than them, so the tips they have to share may not be helpful. Climbing with women mean they are closer to my height and they know that our legs are powerful tools. Women are encouraging without the name-calling and totally understand if you need to take a moment to calm down without calling you emotional.

What is awesome is that some of the women in my group live in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas, so we can plan to meet up to go climbing outdoors or visit each other at our different climbing gyms if we want!

Bouldering in Bishop Buttermilks - Campfire Chic

Hero Roof Bishop Buttermilks - Kam of Campfire Chic

The day after our workshop (Sunday) was a free day and many of us ended back in the boulder fields working on the same problems we tackled the day before. I brought Alex this time so he could get some time on the rocks and so he could see the awesome community of other #girlcrew climbers coming together and sharing crash pads. We met some well-known climbers who wanted to work on some of the same problems as us and were very generous with their helpful hints and encouragement.

I can’t wait for next year to see if the Flash Foxy community brings this climbing weekend back. I know I’ll go in with more confidence to attend more aspects of the festival (happy hours, panels, etc.) and I hope to be able to spend more time in Bishop so I can really enjoy the other areas I didn’t get to visit this time. I know Alex will be up for another climbing adventure.

Other posts about the Women’s Climbing Festival:

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  • Katie April 9, 2017, 6:00 am

    I went this year and it was amazing!


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