Helping to keep the passion that is so synonymous with the climbing community alive in the midst of a pandemic, passionate Melbourne climber Jo Lee had an idea. That idea became a (virtual) reality in the form of the Women Uprising Virtual Climbing Festival. The first of its kind in Australia, it’s here to help to carve out a space for women to learn, grow and share their love of rock climbing with the ever-growing community of women crushers.
Taking to the interwebs on September 5, the virtual event (held on Zoom) will enable women to connect with other women to share their passion, have healthy discussions and encourage diversity while learning valuable life skills on and off the wall. The festival will feature interactive clinics with an incredible lineup of athletes and climbing professionals including leading climbing dietitian Amanda Watts discussing nutrition for climbing and life, and climbing guide and coach Esther Renita leading a clinic to help climbers become aware of, and learn how to overcome, mental barriers to successful trad climbing. For those who’ve seen more house walls than rock walls recently, Climbing Performance Coach Deryl Ng will also be sharing her tips on building a training program in the midst of a pandemic.
Championing diversity and inclusion, the event includes clinics and panel discussions from Naarm (Melbourne) LGBTQIA+ climbing group ClimbingQTs, and the Colourful Climbers community group, who create a space for BIPOC (black, Indigenous and people of color) climbers to build kinship and experiences together.
Representatives from all-abilities group Adaptive Climbing Victoria will also run a clinic, highlighting the inclusion of athletes with differing abilities, and how you can help adaptive athletes reach new heights. The climbing community is as diverse as the landscapes climbers are lucky to traverse on their individual climbing journeys, and the Women Uprising Virtual Climbing Festival aims to encourage and support diverse climbers in continuing those journeys.
The jam-packed day wraps up with an after-festival party, and all participants go into the draw for a $1,500 prize pack generously donated by festival sponsors Climbing Anchors, Arc’teryx Australia and Melbourne Climbing School.
Keen to get involved? Tickets are on sale now, and there are 10 scholarships available for women experiencing financial hardship. Explore the program and get your tickets HERE! Clinic registration opens August 29!
There will also be an exclusive access to a screening of “Kakapo Crest,” the ascent of New Zealand’s sabre-like peak by Tasmanian climbers Liz Oh and Rosie Hohnen as documented by festival co-founder and filmmaker Olivia Page.