Date: March 18th, 2017
Location: Vantage, WA
Author: Gaya Rakhim
Training Stage: Base
Climbing Type: Sport Climbing
Vantage never ceases to amaze—from its diverse routes to its remote picturesque-ness, Feathers showed a welcoming time for the ladies of NSM who were experienced, novice, and everything in between. I always had a bit of stage fright while climbing, especially since this trip was my first outdoor lead. For a number of us women on the trip, Vantage would be where we crushed our first outdoor leads.
We started off the morning on one side of the Feathers, climbing pitches where we lead, set and cleaned routes for practice until the first-time leaders got comfortable. It was great being in the presence of diversity in climbing skill levels, while at the same time having such a supportive and helpful environment all around. Having just taken a sport-climbing series course, the NSM Vantage trip was the perfect introduction for my gym to crag learning experience. As fellow climbers passed on their knowledge and introduced us to gear and proper equipment handling, each piece of gear gave me a larger take-away of what is pertinent in climbing—for instance one of the ladies our group brought a beta clip, where its functional use is to clip in the first quickdraw without having to free climb to the first bolt and run the risk of decking and experiencing a fall without being clipped in. This showed me the humility that even experienced climbers in our group have in safety and respect for outdoor elements.
Throughout the day, we went from pitch to pitch, sending routes and enjoying the sunny views over the cliffs and canyons. I could see the improvements in everyone’s climbing technique—including my own. By the end of the trip, I can attest to the increase in confidence and love for the sport that climbing with such a strong and supportive group of women gave me. This was my first time with NSM and it left such a great impression on me. I look forward to many more awesome times to come!