I took a climbing trip with Outward Bound in my early 20’s, and it changed my life. It was a physical accomplishment I did not think I was capable of achieving – and my awareness of possibility and faith from that successful experience remains with me today.
Chelsea Griffie was similarly inspired by rock climbing and the outdoors. Her Chicago parents were not campers, so she climbed for the first time as a young adult on a trip to Brazil, and was hooked. In the years since, Chelsea’s skills grew through her participation and leadership in NOLS, the National Outdoors Leadership School.
In additional to reaching her own climbing goals over the years in the Yosemite Valley, considered the climbing Mecca, Chelsea teaches backpacking skills and yoga to women of color through the Balanced Rock organization. She is also currently the Program Director of Bay Area Wilderness Training, an organization that offers basic leadership courses and advanced seminars to prepare adults to lead youth safely into the wilderness. Here is more about BAWT:
If you are interesting in learning to climb, Chelsea suggests taking a trip to your local climbing gym, where you can test out the sport before deciding if it’s right for you, or if you are up for more of a challenge, consider Outward Bound or NOLS courses. These rigorously rewarding courses are organized around nearly every age group and located all over the world. Try climbing at least once — it just might change your life!
Listen HERE to my talk with Chelsea, which follows an delightful interview with Audrey Peterman, organizer of the Breaking the Color Barrier in the Great American Outdoors Conference.
Photo by Dudley Edmondson