The American Mountain Guide Association, which recently installed Angela Hawse at the helm, only the second time a woman has led the prestigious climbing organization, announced this week they’ll be offering a for women, by women rock climbing guide course later this fall. It’s the first known guide program geared to the public taught with strictly women guides to a women-only student base.
To put the course together, AMGA entered into a partnership with The North Face, who will supply a bit of grant funding from their Move Mountains iniative—a program designed to increase women’s participation in the outdoors—to help enrollees cover the cost of the course.
“As the country’s premiere organization for training and educating professional rock, alpine and ski guides, we discovered that only 8 percent of our 303 Certified Rock Guides are women,” the AMGA said in a presser. “Given that 46% of outdoor participants are women (according to the OIA’s 2018 Outdoor Participation Report), we know that there is room for improvement and increased gender equity in the guiding profession.”
Shelma Jun recently wrote about taking part in a pilot all-women’s guide course the AMGA put on this fall:
“Our all-women environment created a safe space for conversation and questions. When you are the lone woman in a space dominated by men, you can feel pressure to prove that you belong and deserve to be there even though no one who looks like you is in this space. It can instill a fear of looking weak, which in turn can make it impossible to share parts of you that are vulnerable in order to grow. With female-led courses, there is a higher chance that your instructor has had similar experiences in the backcountry and might even be able to offer tips on how to deal with situations where sexism can affect relationships with clients, bosses and peers.”
The AMGA/The North Face program begins in September. Applications will be accepted through March 17. There’s more from AMGA on the program here.