Journey Above the Clouds: A Kilimanjaro Adventure

Embracing Adventure & Scaling New Heights

This is a guest blog by Mind & Mountain friend & team member Vanessa Chavarriaga. Vanessa is a Colombian, mountain athlete, environmental sociologist & outdoor advocate.

Read on for more of her story:

As a child, I'd gaze out of airplane windows and dream of slipping among the clouds, imagining them as perfect mattresses or trampolines. The wonder of those shifting clouds gradually faded as I grew older, but it wasn’t until I began going on outdoor adventures and backpacking trips in my 20s that I allowed myself to dream again.

This past summer, I spent on an extraordinary eight-day expedition living above a sea of clouds. Together with Phil Henderson, an industry leader with nearly three decades of outdoor experience, we organized a challenging climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, choosing the Lemosho Route. In May 2022, Henderson made history by guiding the first all-Black team to the summit of Mount Everest.

My connection...

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Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Be: The Art of Goal Setting

Redefining Goal Setting in Outdoor Recreation

This is a guest blog by Mind & Mountain friend & team member Vanessa Chavarriaga. Vanessa is a Colombian, mountain athlete, environmental sociologist & outdoor advocate. 

Read on for more of her story:

I am a relatively new mountain athlete -- my childhood consisted of indoor activities and being teased for being the slowest one to run the mile in gym class. Read more about my childhood in the Vamos Afuera: Everyone Belongs on the Trails blog. The learning curve for skiing, ultra running, and climbing has been steeper than the trails themselves. The only remedy I have found for this is finding the support of a community of mentors who genuinely want to uplift my potential and help me grow.

I was fortunate enough to find mentorship, inspiration, and sisterhood in my dear friend, Dani Reyes-Acosta. Through our many climbs and runs I have learned that no one is capable of existing in this space alone, and we have...

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3 Ways We’re Using Financial Accessibility for an Ethical Business

Embracing Inclusivity in Business & Community

Hello! This post is part of a series about our team values at Mind & Mountain and the ways that we practice those values within our programs and behind the scenes. 

What does it take to build a business and a community that lives the values of inclusivity and equity? At Mind & Mountain, we’ve been on a journey to do just that. Whether you participate in Mind & Mountain’s programs or you’re a business owner looking for ideas, we want to provide transparency on our approach and our learnings (so far!) about implementing equitable business practices.

We want to point out that we are eternal students on this path. Equity and liberation aren't a box to check off once, but a practice in which we will always have growth potential and room for improvement. We’ve developed our current processes for transparency and accountability with the help of leaders in this field (primarily Black women)...

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Float & Hike: 10 Day Trip on the Tatsenshini, Alsek, and Yakutat Coast

A Fast and Fantastic Trip on the Tatshenshini & Alsek Rivers

The Tatshenshini–or “Tat” for short–is an epic journey starting in Canada’s Yukon. From there, you float and paddle downstream on the Tat through the Tatshenshini-Alsek Wilderness Park, merging into the Alsek River, and ultimately ending up in Alaska’s Glacier Bay area.

Along the way, the river carves through pristine wilderness. Getting permits for this long, international trip is one of the most competitive permits to land, and it’s not hard to see why! In fact, this is the only float trip in Alaska popular enough to even require permits. Between the towering mountain ranges on either side of the river, the many glaciers alongside, and the icebergs floating through the river, the scenery is unforgettable.

We were lucky that some very motivated friends of ours navigated the permitting process and the itinerary logistics, meaning we could just tag along. Taking turns with the...

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Podcast: Mindset, Perfectionism, and Resilience in the Outdoors

Replacing Self-Doubt and Perfectionism in the Outdoors with Compassion and Inclusion

I recently joined Jacalyn Gross on the Women Empower Active podcast to chat about our outdoor stories and mindset reflections. The podcast is a production of UR Sportswear, a running apparel brand for women. Jacalyn and I had an open and honest conversation that we hope will normalize the messiness of each of our outdoor journeys.

Jacalyn and I focus on different outdoor activities in very different environments–she’s primarily a trail runner in the Pacific Northwest, and I’m a skier, backpacker, and nordic skater in Alaska. We had a great time chatting about the themes that are common to both of us, and we bet you’ll relate to our stories, too.

We focused a lot of our chat on how mindset matters in the outdoors, and what a difference it can make for our experiences. We talked about the power of community and our hopes for inclusivity and acceptance in outdoor spaces. Plus,...

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Winter Sports on a Budget: Tips for Saving Money on Gear & More

Budget-friendly Tips on Getting Out There for Less

If you’ve ever walked into a ski shop, you’ve probably been floored by the cost of winter gear. Things don’t get any better when looking at lift tickets for your local slopes. And all that sticker shock can be really overwhelming.

Finances are a huge obstacle for so many folks, and nowhere is that more true than in winter sports! This form of gatekeeping creates an exclusive culture that we’re trying to break down. We want everyone to have access to winter sports, no matter their budget, and without the fear of getting shut out by high price tags.

The good news is that you don’t have to blow your budget to get out there. We’ve compiled a list of tips from outdoor recreation enthusiasts (across many platforms) to make winter sports more affordable. And we added a few from our own experiences too. 

Let’s dive right in! Here’s our best money-saving tips for getting...

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One Year of Sistering Support

One year of Sistering Support

In April of 2021 SMH Training officially marked the one year anniversary of our Sistering Support program!

In honor of that milestone, I wanted to share some information about how it’s gone, who we’ve helped, and why financial support and equity pricing are an important part of our business model.

 

First things first – what is Sistering Support?

"Sistering" is a construction term in which a post that's holding up too much weight is supported by additional posts on either side. This metaphor conveys what we're after: helping take some of the weight off those who are carrying a lot right now. Especially for BIPOC, queer, disabled, bigger bodies, and others who are underrepresented in the outdoor world.

Ideally, finances wouldn't keep anyone from health, movement, or outdoor time. And if we’re going to realize our goal of a more diverse outdoor recreation community – we have to work to make the opportunities to thrive in...

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