Got Skills? Ladies Sport Climbing with Janet

In an effort to share our excitement about the new Skills Series programs, we thought we’d introduce you to each Series’ instructor and have them tell you about the program in their own words. The Ladies Only Sport Climbing Series, scheduled for the evenings of October 27, November 3 and November 10, will be taught by Janet Wilkinson.


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SP: Which skills series are you teaching and in your own words, what is it about?

Janet's not just a sport climber, either. Here she is on the first ascent of Saserling in India in 2011. Photo by Freddie Wilkinson

Janet’s not just a sport climber. Here she is on the first ascent of Saserling in India in 2011. Photo by Freddie Wilkinson

JW: The transition from indoor to outdoor climbing can be intimidating, and, frankly, dangerous. We want to support that transition so that Salt Pumpers can feel more confident going sport climbing on their own. In a trio of two hour intensive classes, the Ladies Only Sport Climbing Skills Series will cover risk and site assessment, equipment use and management, and techniques for improving efficiency – all to improve the chances of having a fun and safe day out at the crag. This particular course happens to be offered to women – and taught by a woman!

SP: Who would be a good candidate for participating in this skill series?

JW: The most obvious candidate is an indoor lead climber looking to go sport climbing on their own, but this course is not limited to her. It’s also appropriate for a non-leader who wants to be better informed while climbing outside or for a boulderer who wants to learn the ropes. If you are reading this blog post, and you identify as female, and you know how to top rope belay, plus you are a curious person, you probably are a good candidate!

SP: What would you say to someone who is considering joining but isn’t quite ready to pull the trigger?

JW: The most common feedback I get as a climbing guide is that the investment in professional instruction pays off in dividends, which makes sense since this is a sport that requires both safety and technical knowledge in order to progress.

SP: Why are you uniquely qualified to teach it? 

Janet climbing on Cannon Cliff, New Hampshire.

Janet climbing on Cannon Cliff, New Hampshire.

JW: We are in a post-modern era where gender *shouldn’t* matter that much, but I know from a decade+ of teaching climbing and climbing on my own that women-only environments have a different vibe that is conducive to positive learning experiences and, arguably, more fun. 🙂

Also, sport climbing was my entry into climbing, way back when Rumney was still under the radar and we were still recovering from the lycra generation. I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned along the way. 

SP: What do you hope your participants will gain from the series?

JW: I hope each participant comes with their own personal goals for the course, and meets all of them. And I hope each participant leaves the course having met a few new friends to climb with or at least exchange pleasantries with as we all transition into the winter gym climbing season.   

SP: Parting words?

JW: We all do this for fun, right? I believe that the more we know and share with each other, the more fun we can have.

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Register for Janet’s Ladies Only Sport Climbing Skills Series or learn about the other Skills Series.