Emily McDermott

A Whitewater Voluntary Swimmer 

Emily is self-described as a pretty average chick with light brown hair, two nose rings and some semi-large ear holes, also your right-hand gal (minus the right hand)...dead giveaway if she is wearing a t-shirt, irrelevant if she is in her usual mega-baggy attire.

What are your three most prized accomplishments?

Public speaking in front of a crowd of 400 people at the age of 6, getting up on water skis, clipping into a bolt with my little hand

Describe yourself to a stranger so that they could find you on a crowded street…

What are your three favorite things to do?

Try to paddle but mostly swim through gnarly whitewater, lie on warm rocks in the sun/sometimes climb up them and educate keen individuals on the outdoors/flora & fauna/fun facts.

Where are your three favorite places to be?

Pretty much anywhere outside, but I especially enjoy the Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Little Cove at Bruce Peninsula National Park and Lake Moraine in Banff National Park.

What is your greatest passion?

Ah! Such a difficult question. I think my passion is being connected and immersed in nature, but also, connecting to people through nature.

What keeps your passion alive?

Seeing the little light turn on, and the glow that others emit when they realize how valuable our earth's gifts are, from the resources to its healing and protective nature.

What is one thing that people don't know about you, but should?

I call my right hand my "little hand" rather than residual limb, stump, nub or whatever word you can come up with, and absolutely despise the word "disabled" as I am extremely able.

What is your wildest adventure?

Traveling in a motorhome cross-country with my immediate family...you wanna talk about adventures? Put four strong personalities in a 30ft motorized vehicle. Oh yeah, and two dogs.

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be?

Back to my childhood when it's completely acceptable to be carefree and ask all the questions I never did, but also to the Northwest Territories for a longish self-sustained expedition.

What is your personal definition of feminism?

Feminism to me is all about equality. Sometimes using the word feminism throws me off a little bit because it can be deceiving as to what you stand for but I believe at its basis, what we all should be striving towards is equal opportunity

What do you find valuable in being a woman in the adventure/outdoor industry?

Perspective.

Who is another woman who inspires you/your WCW (include an Instagram handle, if available)?

In all honesty, this question has really frustrated me, because I genuinely can't think of a single female that I have idolized or been inspired by, which I think speaks volumes to the lack of publicity and/or acknowledgment of powerful and inspiring female figures in this industry.

In the coming years, where would you like to see women in sports/adventure/outdoors?

EVERYWHERE! but really I would love to see more women being bad-ass and shown off as much as our male counterparts.

For more, you can follow Emily on Instagram.

Melise Edwards

melise-edwards-bouldering

A donut-fueled Discoverer

Melise is easy to spot, she is usually the girl with an afro likely eating an entire box of pastries.

What are your three favorite things to do?

My three favorite things to do are reading, being outside and eating sweet treats.

Where are your three favorite places to be?

Squamish, BC; Boone, North Carolina; Gold Bar, Washington.

What is your greatest passion?

Neuroscience, climbing and helping others.

What keeps your passion alive?

Constantly learning new things, whether that be new information or discoveries in science or new areas to explore in climbing.

What is one thing that people don't know about you, but should?

I can eat at least 6 doughnuts in one sitting. I got embarrassed after 6 and had to stop myself but I could have definitely eaten more.

What is your wildest adventure?

Navigating full time work, training for climbing, online classes, volunteering and side projects for different companies. Talk about wild!

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be?

I would go to Rocklands, South Africa for the climbing and wildlife!

What is your personal definition of feminism?

My personal definition of feminism would include trusting women to make their own decisions as well as securing equal rights for women. I've seen so many instances of groups claiming feminism but follow it with shaming women for wearing make up, being too "fragile," wearing the wrong types of clothes, etc. If you are truly a feminist, you wouldn't need to interject your opinion on every facet of a woman's existence. Treat women as equal, trust women to make their own decisions, empower by listening.

What do you find valuable in being a woman in the adventure/outdoor industry?

As a woman in the outdoor industry, I find it valuable to engage in dialogue about feminism, diversity, privilege and how these things are inextricably linked in the bigger picture that includes society at large and, by extension, our smaller outdoor communities.

Who is another woman who inspires you?

Bethany Lebewitz is an amazing woman who seeks to encourage diversity in climbing through her website, social media and events.

In the coming years, where would you like to see women in sports/adventure/outdoors?

In the coming years, I would like to see women--specifically more women of color--represented in all outdoor sports, especially rock climbing. We shouldn't forget that speaking about women in the outdoors hasn't always been an extremely inclusive discussion; diversity is sorely needed in the outdoor industry.

For more on Melise, you can follow her on Instagram, Twitter and her website.

Kerstin Holster

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Biker Babe

Kerstin can usually be seen in a flannel with black converse high tops and wild long brown hair with mud splattered on her face. She'll probably also be wearing a big smile and talking about how stupid-fun bikes are.

What are your three most prized accomplishments?

2016: 2nd Overall NW Cup Pro Women; 2017: Currently 2nd Overall; NW Cup Pro Women; 2017: Being apart of the Sweetlines JR Racing Development team, as a mentor to "Rippin" Riley.

What are your three favorite things to do?

Riding bikes with friends, eating some kind of chocolate (hopefully s'mores) and camping out with a bonfire.

Where are your three favorite places to be?

The mountains, a nice lake and home with my spazstastic cat.

What is your greatest passion?

Racing downhill bikes.

What keeps your passion alive?

How it continues to be the most freeing experience I have ever felt.

What is one thing that people don't know about you, but should?

I am an absolute dork and will pretty much laugh at any corny joke.

What is your wildest adventure?

Dirt biking in the Mojave desert, getting lost, almost running out of gas, just to find camp over the next hill climb.

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be?

I would go race the Crankworx and World Cup circuit! I love traveling but never really have the means to do so. Racing the circuits would help me travel, explore and do what I love to do riding bikes.

What is your personal definition of feminism?

My personal definition is women having the choice to be what they want to be and to have the choice to do what they want to do in an empowering way.

What do you find valuable in being a woman in the adventure/outdoor industry?

I value being a woman in the outdoor industry because I (hopefully) inspire young girls to follow their passions. Whatever that passion may be!

Who is another woman who inspires you?

I have so many inspirations it's hard to say... I guess overall Casey Brown and Britney White inspire me on so many levels - both are genuine badasses. Throughout my riding career, I've always wanted to be as fast and stylish as both of these ladies. 

In the coming years, where would you like to see women in sports/adventure/outdoors?

I would like to see more women CEO's of outdoor sports companies, more female marketing directors putting out meaningful marketing, rather than lazy marketing. I would like to see deeper support to women racers who have shown they have what it takes to be at the top level. Deeper support to women like Britney White to do super empowering video projects. I would like to see less model ambassadors and more paid professional sports ambassadors.

Dominique Vetromile

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Diver Diva

Dominique, Nique, Dom, Domster - a woman of many names with beachy hair that is always out of control, blue eyes and usually dressed in a chic NYC black. Her daily look is completed with a coffee in hand and her dog, Ruthie scurrying around her ankles. 

What are your three most prized accomplishments?

1. Since I was 10 years old I have wanted to live in New York City. I didn't know what I would do there but I know it was a place I needed to be. I felt like life happened so loudly there, bigger than anywhere else and somehow, equally grungier and more sparkly than anywhere else. After I lived in Milan in college I knew I wanted to work in the fashion industry so I finished my degree in Public Relations with the intent of going into Fashion PR. In January of 2015 I packed two duffel bags, bought a one-way ticket and I was off. I slept on couches, took over a part-time lease and eventually signed a lease in Lower Manhattan. I worked an internship for 8 months and then I started as the in-house PR + Marketing Coordinator at a small denim brand called 3x1. I did everything I had wanted as a kid and it was so different than what I expected but I truly cherished it.

2. After almost two years in the city, I went on a family vacation to Alaska. It was a week-long whale watching trip and about 2 days into the trip I knew I couldn't return to New York. I was so happy being outside and on the water that I just couldn't imagine going back to an office job knowing all that was out there. So, I went back to the city at the end of the week, quit my job, packed my bags and moved back to Colorado where I taught skiing all winter. While moving to New York was such a huge accomplishment in itself, I also feel like recognizing that I needed something different, that my dream had changed and that the world was so much bigger than I realized was a big accomplishment as well.

3. Graduating from college felt like an enormous feat. I left for my Junior year to live in Milan, Italy and had no intention of going back to school. After a year and a half in Italy, I did decide I wanted to finish my degree and thank goodness I did because I met some of my best friends that last year of college.

What are your three favorite things to do?

I love to ski, scuba dive and be with friends + family. I spend so much time traveling that my best friends are spread all over the world, so any chance I get to be with them is really special.

Where are your three favorite places to be?

I love to be in the mountains, in the ocean or in a foreign country. There is something grounding about the mountains, the ocean always surprises me and being in a foreign country keeps me out of my comfort zone. The balance of all these things keeps me sane.

What is your greatest passion?

My greatest passion is storytelling but in terms of people. I love that the way you dress, the music you listen to, the way you take your coffee, the books you read and the pictures you keep with you all tell a story of who you are. I think we could learn so much about each other just by being a little more observant and curious about the other people in the world.

What keeps your passion alive?

I keep my passion alive through travel and I love late night conversations. I think there is something beautiful about being vulnerable and asking someone for help. Those conversations often lead to advice through stories of someone's past and a little more understanding of each other is reached. I also grew up in a family that valued travel. Learning the customs of a new country, a language or just spending time getting to know a city opens your eyes. It makes your world just a little bit bigger.

What is one thing that people don't know about you, but should?

I’ve never been on a roller coaster, but I don’t really feel the need to try it.

What is your wildest adventure?

I am not allowed to tell that story, but if we ever sit down and have a glass of wine and I’ll tell you. Instead, I’ll tell one about a night dive I did this summer. I went on a pelagic night dive in Kona, Hawaii. The boat picked us up around 10 pm and took us offshore into about 6,000 feet of water. We were then tethered to the boat and dove to about 45 feet in dark water. Very dark water. We had a spotlight light that allowed us to see all the critters that come to the surface at night to feed. There were juvenile ahi (tuna) and squid but mostly we were looking at things the size of your pinky nail. Things like larval fish, lobsters and other invertebrates, siphonophores and even cephalopods. It was one of the most amazing dives I have ever done.

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be?

There are so many things I want to do! I want to do a through-hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I want to go to the Himalayas and hike or ski. There are so many countries I want to visit and I definitely want to live abroad again. I'm young, I can't pick just one place I want to go and one thing I want to do...

What is your personal definition of feminism?

I think that feminism is about being unapologetic about who you are. There are no boxes, no girly girls or outdoorsy girls. I think we are all a mix and we, simply, are who we are. I think that feminism is about celebrating people no matter what and giving them space to be who they are without judgment or cruelty.

What do you find valuable in being a woman in the adventure/outdoor industry?

I think that women in the outdoor community push the envelope in some really unique and inspiring ways. It is very cool to be around a group of girls that want to push their limits and the limits of what people tell them they are capable of. I have found that the scope of what I think is possible for myself has broadened by being around women who won’t take "no" for an answer and won’t compromise on what they believe they are capable of.

Who is another woman who inspires you?

I am inspired by people who are unapologetically themselves. I am lucky in that many of the women in my life have this trait but I also think women like Emily Weiss and Ruthie Lindsey live life exactly the way they want - unapologetically. They also push the boundaries of what people thought was possible in their own unique ways. It’s awesome.

In the coming years, where would you like to see women in sports/adventure/outdoors?

I want to see women continue to push themselves and the sports they love. I think we can do anything. It is amazing to see women pushing the boundaries of what they can be told they can do - I hope to see that continue.

Kaki Arnaud

Kaki Arnaud - Women Crush Wednesday

A Hearty Enigma

If you're looking for Kaki, there is a good chance that you will not be able to find her unless you are atop a mountain summit. Once you arrive, she will be the short-ish one with a mop of unruly brown hair thrown into a bun on top of her head and flaunting layers of bright clothing.

What are your three most prized accomplishments?

Graduating from University with a BS in Exercise Science was a good one. Summiting Mt. Rainier for the first time at 14. Becoming good at growing my own food, and then cooking with it!

What are your three favorite things to do?

Skin uphill, ski downhill, repeat... Is that one thing, or two? Hikes with my dog and my person. Standing outside catching snowflakes in my mouth during the first snowfall of the year

Where are your three favorite places to be?

Up. Up. Away.

What is your greatest passion?

Pushing my limits and learning constantly.

What keeps your passion alive?

Getting out into the world and interacting with people in far-off places.

What is one thing that people don't know about you, but should?

There are a lot of things people don't know about me! It takes me a loooong time to let people into the nitty gritty of my life... Most people are surprised to learn that I went to the Sturgis Motorcycle rally when I was 12 years old. Or that I trekked the Annapurna Circuit (plus Mustang) at 13, or that I climbed Mt. Rainier for the first time at 14. I guess there's a bit more too (like another 20 years of adventuring since that last one), but I do enjoy being a bit of an enigma...

What is your wildest adventure?

One time, when I was in Patagonia, we had a whole 10-day ration of food stolen from our cache during the first third of a three-month sea kayaking/mountaineering expedition. We spent three days on a beach eating golden raspberries and a few fish we bought off some fishermen... It was an exercise in patience and group dynamics. In the end, it was probably one of the most poignant learning experiences for me and helped shape how I approached client groups in guiding situations later on.

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be?

I've always wanted to do a ski trip in Africa before there is no snow left at all. I think there could be some amazing "summit/headwaters to delta" trips that have yet to be done...

What is your personal definition of feminism?

My own definition of feminism is owning my choices and feeling the power and freedom to live them.

What do you find valuable in being a woman in the adventure/outdoor industry?

I got lucky because I didn't have to find the "outdoors". I'm from a long line of strong-willed women and geologists, so I learned the value of the outdoors without any gender strings attached to me. What I did notice as I started growing up, was that most of my "heroes" in the sport and explorer realms were men. That changed when I started to learn about Wendy Fisher and her success in "extreme skiing," as it was called back in the day. She showed me that there was strength in the simple beauty of a well-chosen line. That perspective shift is something that I value. I think women in the outdoor industry often "speak" through our actions and I think there is a lot of power when we stop and listen.

Who is another woman who inspires you?

There are so many amazing women doing amazing things in the adventure realm these days! There are two women right now that I just admire to no end. Jen Edney is a photojournalist that will be embedded in the Volvo Ocean Race starting in October. She is a strong woman in a sea of men (literally). Her ability to tell a story through an image is striking. The other is Taylor Rees. Taylor lives her art. It comes through in every photo, video and film she works on. She has a sense of humor and a true joy in her work.

In the coming years, where would you like to see women in sports/adventure/outdoors?

In a place where we don't have to be talking about women, we just see them in outdoor media and sport the same amount as men and there are no qualifying statements about women. I want to see even representation and $$ for women in the outdoor/sport world.

Katie Bono

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Mountain Doc

Katie Bono can best be described as a 5'8'' blonde, wearing a lot of bright colors and an intense look on her face. She's probably moving pretty fast too - given that she just broke the speed record on Denali!

What are your three most prized accomplishments?

1. Learning how to mountain guide.

2. Balancing climbing goals with career goals.

3. In general, whatever I've accomplished most recently!

What are your three favorite things to do?

1. Climbing! Most any kind.

2. Outdoor adventuring (trail running/ski touring/etc).

3. Dinner/drinks with good friends.

Where are your three favorite places to be?

1. The Canadian Rockies. 

2. Winter in the mountains. 

3. On a long multi-pitch climb.

What is your greatest passion?

Life!

What keeps your passion alive?

...

What is one thing that people don't know about you, but should?

My hiccups sound like the noise a rubber bathtub duckie makes.

What is your wildest adventure?

Applying to medical school.

What is your personal definition of feminism?

Equality of opportunity and expectations for women and men activated with compassion and empathy.

What do you find valuable in being a woman in the adventure/outdoor industry?

Being able to get more women into the outdoor industry.

Who is another woman who inspires you?

Ilana Jesse and Lizzy Asher.

In the coming years, where would you like to see women in sports/adventure/outdoors?

Wherever they want to be.

For more on Katie come see her speak TWICE at our Flagship Festival in Carbondale, CO 9/14-9/17 and follow her on Instagram

Kathy Karlo

Dancing Queen

Kathy is the tiny person with no volume control, who excitedly talks too fast, and is always seen with a cup of coffee in hand (minimum). She usually travels with a brown dog.

What are your three most prized accomplishments?

1. Aid soloing Touchstone Wall in Zion National Park in spring of 2017. It was the most intimidating thing I have done on a wall. When I first arrived at Zion I felt unsure if I could successfully make it to the top. It took so much blood, sweat, grit, and more blood. In two and a half days, I summited. 2. Starting my own blog three years ago is one of my proudest accomplishments. I have always wanted to be a writer, and in the past, it has been hard to not compare where you are at in your career with other people. I'm not well known or published often, but I write from the heart and that feels good. I don't write for editors or approval–I write for myself. 3. I am proud to be able to out eat any man that I know. Doughnuts, pizza, and sushi specifically.

What are your three favorite things to do?

1. Go rock climbing. Or ice climbing. Or any sort of thing that involves upward movement and allows me to push myself. I just love a good challenge–as long as it leaves me with a full body ache the next day. 2. Driving. I know that some people dread long car rides but there is something so appealing to me about an open road, a plethora of snacks, and bad music you can sing your heart out to. 3. Baking and then feeding people. I have always been under the impression that feeding people is the best way to love them–humans need food, shelter, love. I like to provide some of that in the form of pastries.

Where are your three favorite places to be?

1. The desert. My god, have you ever seen a desert sunset? I could happily be a desert rat for the rest of my life. 2. Hanging off some cliff–any cliff. It doesn't matter which one, as long as the view is spectacular. 3. I don't care where I am, as long as there is sunshine. I think it's because I am solar powered.

What is your greatest passion?

Climbing–I am forever in the pursuit of climbing higher.

What keeps your passion alive?

My need to push myself–both mentally and physically. There is always something we can improve upon–we, as humans, are never "done".

What is one thing that people don't know about you, but should?

I can't dance. Don't ask me to.

What is your wildest adventure?

In May of 2016, I was asked to go on a big wall expedition in São Tomé and Príncipe. Having no previous big wall experience, I obviously said yes. Have you ever big walled before? It's hard work. Have you ever big walled in a jungle? It's hard work and there are snakes.

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be?

Because climbing takes up 99.9 percent of my life, I would love to do something in a non-climbing capacity. I think my dream adventure would be to go deep sea diving and explore unknown caves, where I would eventually find treasure and befriend mermaids.

What is your personal definition of feminism?

Feminism is about women being empowered and being treated equally to men. It means that you believe in equality–that you fight the double standards, the misogyny that is ingrained in us at an early age, and you stand for equal opportunities. Feminism is about living the life you choose, being proud to be a woman, and being passionate about making the space around you a better place for all women.

What do you find valuable in being a woman in the adventure/outdoor industry?

As the "Outdoors" narrative has traditionally been one of male conquest, dominance, and assertion of masculinity, women have been excluded from it. What I find the most valuable in being a woman in the outdoor industry is that we are redefining that narrative by being both hard and soft–we bring both qualities to the table, and I think there is something rather beautiful to that. There was a time when women were looked upon in the outdoors as the weaker gender as if we were delicate flowers and needed tending to. But a whole new generation of women accomplishing great things has completely taken that image and thrown it out the window. And it isn’t because we’re strong and it isn’t because we aren’t scared, it’s because sometimes we are both strong and scared and we do the thing anyway.

Who is another woman who inspires you/your WCW (include an Instagram handle, if available)?

Katie Boué (@katieboue) inspires me on the daily because of her passion for being an advocate for the outdoors. She utilizes her social media platforms in such a beautiful, transformative, and unique way to connect with other outdoor enthusiasts and encourages them to get involved with causes they are passionate about.

In the coming years, where would you like to see women in sports/adventure/outdoors?

Acknowledging the existence of gender barriers means we have the power to go beyond them—that’s going to be badass for the history of women in the outdoors. I’d personally love to see the first all female ascent team of the Dawn Wall on the news in the next decade, maybe less. I want to see women pushing themselves and encouraging their comrades to do the same–because empowered women empower women.

Sarah Coburn

Rock Lobster

How can you find Sarah? Well you won't have to look hard. She can best be described as tall, psyched, and hungry. This typically translates to a gangly and vivacious babe sprinting past you towards the nearest  dairy-free ice cream parlor.

What are your three most prized accomplishments?

Graduating from college, singing the National Anthem at Shea Stadium in 5th grade, and sending anything which seemed impossible to climb at first glance.

What are your three favorite things to do?

I like to rock climb, eat cereal late at night, and get down to late '90's/early 2000's hip hop and RnB.

Where are your three favorite places to be?

Shoved in a sandstone splitter, in bed on a rainy day, and in the ocean.

 

What is your greatest passion?

Rock Climbing.

What keeps your passion alive?

Doing it.

What is one thing that people don't know about you, but should?

I've never played Monopoly and I'm ok with it. And my dog looks like a lemur.*

Editor's note - everyone knows this.

What is your wildest adventure?

This past fall, in a turn of events I ended up living in my tent in Indian Creek. I had no car and my plans for the future had drastically changed. I regrouped and decided step one was to get a vehicle. I met some lovely strangers in the creek, who I now call friends. They gave me a ride to Colorado, where I went looking for a truck. I found a car. I also found a community. I decided to stay in Carbondale, CO for the winter...I'm still here, and feeling pretty stoked about it.

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be?

My dog Sophie and I would do a world tour in a hot air balloon. The search would be on for big rocks, salty waves, good smells (Sophie put that in) and the world's best Dark and Stormy.

What is your personal definition of feminism?

Women can, do, will, and should.

What do you find valuable in being a woman in the adventure/outdoor industry?

I value being a woman in the outdoor industry because hopefully, it inspires young girls to follow their passions, whatever they may be, despite being underrepresented.

Who is another woman who inspires you/your WCW?

Carolyn Parker is my WCW because she is the epitome of a bad ass. She is an athlete, trainer, and founder of her own thriving business. She is not only strong and knowledgeable, but kind, honest, and always encouraging of others to strive for whatever goals they have set for themselves.  She commands her space and does not apologize for it. She inspires me to push past limits I had unknowingly placed on myself.

In the coming years, where would you like to see women in sports/adventure/outdoors?

I would like to see women everywhere - supported and featured as athletes, filmmakers, business owners and adventurers. I don't want it to be a surprise when girls can crush, but a given.

For more, follow Sarah on Instagram or keep an eye out for her camper and lemur dog.