When Yolanda, the owner of Onsight Gym in Knoxville, TN, invited me to be a part of unleaSHEd women’s festival, I immediately said yes. I was ecstatic that Butora was on board and I was also excited to teach a psyched group of women redpointing and sport belaying tactics.
After a few weeks of anticipation, the weekend suddenly arrived. The other coaches and I watched these ladies improve their technique drastically over the span of the festival weekend. It was an experience I’ll never forget. The eager group learned to lead belay, strengthened their mental game, worked their way up boulders they haven’t done before, overcame their fear of falling and, above all, had fun and made incredible new friends.
The unleaSHEd women’s festival offered a safe environment for beginners, advanced climbers, and all those in between, to come together. We don’t often see people at different skill levels mixing and learning from each other in an open and ego-free setting.
This female-only event presented the opportunity to women, who have never tried seemingly scary outdoor sports, to come and experience it for themselves. The results were amazing.
With encouragement and support from experts and peers, we saw many women break through barriers that have held them back in the past.
By broadening their skill set and climbing knowledge, the intimidating aspects of the sport have now become less relevant and have made it an approachable hobby to pursue in life.
I’m so thankful to have been invited to be a part of this empowering event.
Butora Athlete Alice Hafer is a traveling climber, writer, and filmmaker. She is currently working on her next film featuring an expedition to Africa.