Inside The Mind of a Female Climber.

I feel as though I am qualified to write a post in this style, since I am a senior Psychology major. Who over the past two years has learned to observe another and evaluate their behavior and or thoughts. Now in this post I will be speaking sometimes down about female climbers, in no way am I trying to generalize every single female who climbs under the observations and insight I have gained from not only myself but other females I climb with. So here goes my tiny Rant….

Throughout my years of climbing I have noticed one thing. It seems to be that men have it easier in the climbing world. They seem to be able to take any beta, make all the friends, and a willing to make that risky move. Whereas a woman seems to beat herself up a lot when she can’t figure the beta out or is standoff-ish when it comes to taking a big move or learning something new. For example, I once watched a dear friend of mine do take after take on a route for weeks straight. And the only thing stopping her was her!! I see this even in myself when I climb, I doubt myself more than I probably should. Saying things like “I’m not good enough of a climber” or “I’m not strong enough as the guy I just watched send that”. Again, I don’t want it to seem like I’m putting women to shame, but as I move my eyes around my local gym these are the things I notice. Women just counting themselves out even after the smallest mistake

I have been climbing big walls, towers, in gyms, you name it I’ve tried my hand at it. And from my experiences it appears females, even if they’ve just been introduced to the climbing world feel as though they need to fill a stereotypical female image. Less than, not strong enough, and always needing a helping hand from a man. AGAIN. This post is all from my opinion and my experiences so don’t get your panties in a wad.

But Fuck that ladies!!! Take a page from the great female climbers of our day and know that you are good enough, you are strong enough and you will make that big move you’ve been trying for weeks now. Know that even if the guys don’t say it your training is paying off and you will kill the pitch!!! And to my readers, I would really like to know what you guys think about this.

Sarah Co-writer theDIHEDRAL



14 Replies to “Inside The Mind of a Female Climber.”

  1. I’m not a climber but I’m old at giving myself a bad time when I get stuck on stuff. I think we just need to be a little less harsh on ourselves and leave some room for success. Nice post.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This is so true. When I climb and I don’t make the move that I was trying to I feel like I’m not a good enough climber. But the guys at the place that I climb are super nice and want me to start making routes in there and are so encouraging. So I definitely have gotten better at not putting myself down as much. Great post! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When I climbed with my husband, before he was husband, I was fearless. (Probably trying to impress him) Sometimes recklessly fearless, taking climbs that were sandstone. Finger friendly but crumbly. I was not a good judge of rock, especially in Utah or Colorado where there are many places the rock can disintegrate beneath you. Yet, I learned something climbing with him, since he was my regular climbing partner. Even though I would get discouraged at the big reaches he could make, (He’s 6′ and I’m 5’2″) there were places I could reach that he couldn’t for the same reverse reason. I could fit into a crack or ledge that he couldn’t. On any given climb I would need to be creative to ascend the same face. I got real good at “smearing” and “palming” with little to no holds to speak of. Overhangs were always difficult for me as my arm strength or reach wasn’t as good as his. I read once that women have leg strength that men do not, whereas men have arm strength that is greater than a woman’s, so recognizing that, we must compensate by being a little bit more inventive in how we make our climbs. To give you perspective, I learned to climb at 45, Id give anything to have known about rock climbing when I was younger. So, in my book, there’s absolutely no excuses. ENJOY!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. HI, I am a climber, a woman and (as of February) 50 years old. I am curious about your observations. Do you see any difference between the younger women versus us older ones? I have only been climbing 18 months so I don’t have a frame of reference from when I was a young climber. There are not a ton of us older women in my local community, but have found that the older female, in other areas, also have the “i can’t do this as well as a man” tendencies. Do you have any beta on this?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey, thank you for liking my blog post! I really like this post. In my short time of climbing, I have also noticed this in a lot of lady climbers at the gym who climb with men as their partners. I had the good fortune of being introduced to climbing and other really strong women climbers by the woman who got me into climbing. My first climbing partner was a woman, as is my current partner. I think because I didn’t have any long term male climbing partners I didn’t feel like I was climbing in their “shadows.” But our gym has some really strong women climbers and recently one of them became the manager at the gym. She’s made a lot of effort to make the space inviting for women.
    I noticed that a lot of the guys climb hard and fall, and I followed suit, whereas I started realizing most of the women tended to climb to NOT fall, so they cleaned routes until they got it down before they led.
    I think having lady climber role models helps a lot. And climbing with other women. For awhile our gym had a Friday night women’s group so women could climb and be mentored by the stronger climbers.
    I think all of those are important for our confidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t know if it’s about “feeling a need to fill a stereotypical female image” so much as the way females are conditioned versus the way men are conditioned in society. I feel that from a young age men are encouraged more to take risks, be athletic, and show confidence than women are. I think women have more mental stigma to overcome when it comes to these kinds of challenges. I would also agree with what others have said here – climbing with strong female partners makes me more confident when I climb!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. There is a fabulous article out there that breaks down this enigma… and it essentially all comes down to confidence. This is again a generalization, but men seem to have an easier time finding self-confidence than women.

    I can relate to this most definitely, and am guilty of it as well. My legs shake. I’m not yet a comfortable leader. But those I find most inspirational are also women: women who have struggled with the mental side of risk and climbing, and who persist through it to become stronger. Because in the end, it’s all a process, and that process involves time.

    So here’s a shoutout to all the women crushers out there who have encountered their own climbing demons, but haven’t given up. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting post. I think, as in most things, the only person you need to compete with is yourself. If you try to be like everyone else, you will never be satisfied, but if you achieve something you never have before, you have already won. Now, all that being said, I have no interest in hanging myself off the side of a cliff, high in the air with no net. It would scare the crap out of me. The stupid stuff I do, usually has both feet on the ground, albeit not always firmly (like hiking 12 miles and 3,000 feet elevation gain and loss on Bright Angel Trail, at the age of 64). We all need to give ourselves the joy of trying new things. We may fail or do less than a stellar job, but, If we never try, we will never succeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. while i’m not a climber and haven’t witnesses women or men climbing very often, i believe that this is a common trend in many women. like you said, women should in no way be generalized into a single population, but there are certain behaviors that have developed in many women because of society’s expectations and the negative influence of reinforcing gender roles. you are absolutely correct in saying that the fix is simple: confidence. however, simple does not mean easy. remembering that mistakes aren’t the end of the world and that you can learn from failure is key.

    Liked by 1 person

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