An International Women’s Day post by Emily Krause
From female-only groups of mountaineers to solo rock climbers, women have been (literally) reaching new heights for decades. Women climbers across the globe have shown the world not only that the future is female, but also that women can crash through any glass ceiling, no matter how high. Here are just a few of the incredibly noteworthy female mountaineers you should be talking about in light of International Women’s Day:
In the worlds of both camping and climbing, Tabei’s name is well-known. She was the first woman in the world to reach the peak of the globe’s most famous mountain, Mt. Everest, and took on this task with an all-female climbing team nonetheless. The team even survived an avalanche during their ascent up the mountain and continued on fearlessly. After a battle with cancer beginning in 2012, Tabei passed away in October of 2016. In the world of mountaineering, she will forever be remembered as one of the greats.
Perhaps the most well-known rock climber in the world, Hill’s claim to fame began when she became the first individual ever to free climb The Nose of the rock formation El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. Let’s take a moment and really reflect on this. What this means is that Hill ascended up El Capitan without any assistance from equipment, meaning, she used her hands and feet and nothing else. Though Hill has many other accomplishments under her belt in the climbing world, this alone deserves massive celebration.
Tashi and Nungshi Malik
Who doesn’t love a good sister story? Tashi and Nungshi Malik are the first pair of twins in the world to climb Mt. Everest together. However, the sisters didn’t stop there. One of their most recent accomplishments was the completion of what is known as the “Explorers Grand Slam”. This incredibly difficult challenge consists of reaching both the North and South poles while skiing, and ascending the Seven Summits. The sisters were the first pair of siblings, and twins, to scale the tallest summit on all seven continents together; talk about girl power.
How can I conquer my own mountains?
So, how can you conquer your own mountains, you ask? While we hope that reading about the incredible women above inspired you, we are in no way suggesting you need to climb Mount Everest to prove you’re a strong woman. However, with the approach of International Women’s Day, we hope these simple reminders will both empower and encourage you as you conquer the mountains in your own life:
Never apologize for being you
Have you ever found yourself apologizing for absolutely no reason at all? This is a struggle most women find themselves dealing with daily. We apologize for things that don’t merit an “I’m sorry” and most often we do this for things completely out of our control. If Everest wasn’t remorseful for the avalanche it inflicted on Junko Tabei’s team, why should women be apologizing for being themselves? The truth is, women are so much more powerful than we believe, and that should be celebrated, not covered up. Mountains don’t apologize for standing tall, and neither should you. The next time you catch yourself letting an “I’m sorry” slip out for no reason, stop that thought dead in its tracks. Conquering your own mountain starts with unapologetically being the woman you truly are.
Never doubt yourself
It’s hard not to look at other women conquering their own mountains and wonder if we’ll ever see the peak of ours. But here’s a secret: the moment we begin to doubt ourselves, the more likely we are to stall our ascent. Over the course of the past two years, women have been making their voices heard more than ever, and your voice can be a part of that movement too. The abandonment of doubt and comparison when it comes to other women may even allow you to open yourself up to courage you didn’t know you had. As you work through your own doubt, try pushing yourself to do things that are out of your comfort zone. If you’re looking for ideas on how to minimize doubt, try traveling or camping alone! When you have no one else to rely on but yourself, you’d be surprised how easy it is to kick the feeling of doubt to the curb.
Never say never
One of the ways we can practice the mantra of “never say never” is by not letting simple things hold us back. A perfect example of this is our wardrobe. Many women are afraid to make changes to the things they wear for fear of backlash or even simply because they don’t like to splurge on themselves. Starting small by putting your own comfort first, even in the type of underwear you purchase, can be a big step in the right direction. Women like Lynn Hill and the Malik sisters don’t let anything hold them back, especially not things like uncomfortable undergarments. Next time you start to say never to the small things, make some wardrobe changes that benefit you instead, like putting comfort first when it comes to the kind of bra you wear. If you’re already putting yourself first when it comes to your clothing choices, identify another area in life where you keep telling yourself “no”, and turn it into a yes!