Can you tell us more about the Inclusive Outdoors Project that you co-founded?
Inclusive Outdoors Project was founded by Sophia Bielsky and myself in November 2020 during the heart of Covid. As we developed a relationship, we started to notice so many inequities for marginalized folks, especially within the outdoor industry. Many folks not feeling safe in homogenized spaces and the lack of affinity spaces - safe and caring spaces where folks from similar lived experiences and social identities feel welcomed - within the mountain sports world. which primarily included the activities we loved: ice and rock climbing, mountaineering, and backcountry skiing. From there, we created Inclusive Outdoors Project to bridge these gaps.
We are where affinity meets the outdoors for BIPOC, Adaptive/Disabled, and LGBTQIA2S+ Communities. We partner with guiding services, festivals, and other companies and nonprofits to build and cultivate intersectional spaces where everyone feels welcome, especially those that have been historically excluded. To learn more, please follow us <LINK TO: https://www.instagram.com/inclusiveoutdoorsproject/>.
You’ve said you don’t want to be just an inspiration, but to inspire people to take action. Do you have suggestions on the best ways for people to take action?
What I want is for folks to be better stewards to ourselves, to each other, and share the many privileges each one of us has with those around us. Privilege is not a bad thing, as long as we’re able to share and live in a community with one another. Learn what anti-racism is, support Critical Race Theory, know that Pride was a revolution, understand ways folks can provide more access to those with disabilities, whether that be through the language we use to breaking down the stigmas we hold on to. We are all creators, artists, educators, storytellers, bridge builders, disruptors... Feel who you are and work to leverage that to better the lives around you. There are no checkboxes for taking action, only daily habits that will build a culture that is for everyone.
What would you want people to take away from this content you created with The North Face and your first adaptative descent of the Skillet?
We are more than the sum of our parts. We are so much more to ourselves and to each other. We lift each other up and we continue to climb on the shoulders of giants that came before us. Work to live outside the boxes we have manifested for ourselves, work to live without borders or boundaries. Because walls are meant for climbing and boundaries are meant to be broken.