The second week of August, 25 people from all over Southern California met for the first time to experience life in a new way. Sometimes you just gotta take a chance, risk failure and defeat to see.. you can really accomplish more than you realize.
Running a social media account has turned out to be one of the most fruitful experiences of my life. The chance to influence people and change lives is something I have taken on through the growth of @mountaingirls. On August 11th 25 brave individuals from all walks of life gathered as strangers and departed as best friends.
We began our weekend at Rockreation in Costa Mesa California. Nervously walking through the door, one by one, each participant had no idea what they were in for, as this would be some of their first experiences climbing. After introducing ourselves to one another, still not feeling very confident.. we circled around the Rockreation team as they covered all of the basic knowledge of climbing. From tying a figure eight, proper communication, belaying your partner and safety techniques - now was a chance to hop on the wall and see what the stoke was all about.
Move by move the group broke into laughter, breaking down barriers through relating with one another, seeing accomplishments of reaching the top, taking some falls and sharing overall excitement. Everyone was opening new doors into uncharted territory of climbing for the first time - together.
That evening we handed each participant their own Gregory Pack, a backpack purposeful for every season and landscape.. from the city to the outdoors. Gregory’s Simga and Singal packs come fully stocked with a laptop sleeve, pockets galore and space for a full day hike - perfect for a day at work or a day on the trail! Our group was absolutely stoked and ready to pack up!!
We carpooled up into the mountains of Big Bear Lake, down the dusty dirt roads into nature. Arriving at camp, we all unloaded, pitched tents and gathered around the fire for a night full of laughter, s’mores and fun stories. The next day big day was still on the horizon - a chance to get on some real rocks in the outdoor world. Late night, we all zipped up into our tents and sleeping bags, the milky way bright overhead - Dreams were about to be fulfilled.
Early morning everyone rose to the crisp mountain air. Bright smiles all around, bringing the fire back to life, we enjoyed some inspiring chats about how to make the most of your weekends and the ups and downs (literally) of climbing. Rock climbing is something anyone can do if they put their mind to it, and much like any sport.. you will have moments of pure accomplishment, followed by moments of feeling defeated. It’s all part of the game!! Keeping a healthy perspective is an important part of personal growth.
We soon packed our Gregory backpacks and headed out into the deep woods to meet face to face, the Holcomb Valley Pinnacles. A towering cluster of rocks nestled in the trees. As a group, we explored the forest and hiked past the climbs to get a birds eye view of where we were. Overlooking the tallest mountains in Southern California, everyone took a break to have uplifting conversation before heading back into the climb zone.
Ropes and gear were waiting for us, set up by our trusty crew and the entire group was ready! Each person got to tie their own figure eight knots, something just learned the day prior. One by one, each person made it up the wall. Our goals were being accomplished!! Getting our hands on some real rocks, feeling the breeze and seeing the endless mountain views was not like indoor climbing at all - this was the real deal. Huge smiles, some broken nails, fears and tears… every emotion was buzzing as we all cheered each member on. Those feelings of accomplishment and defeat came hand in hand as we all pushed ourselves to the limit. Having support from your peers is crucial in these times, we can all relate to inspire one another.
A full day of outdoor climbing was underway! Each person in our group had a breakthrough moment and made it to the top of the towering climbs. High fives and hugs, tears of joy - we packed up and hiked back into camp to get our things together for our journey back into the city. We all said our goodbyes, congratulated each other, knowing that our lives had all changed together. Farewells were not easy, every person who was just a stranger the day prior, now felt like a best friend and part of a big family.
This gathering was one of my favorite experiences. Each unique individual in the group made such an impact on me and reminded me of why it is important to have these gatherings. The way we learn together brings a special bond, not just between people, but to the process of knowledge. We can all relate and share our experiences with one another. There is passion and a fire inside of everyone, and having a partner to share that with helps you to know you are not alone. Support through peers and like-minded people is what will helps to continue on and pursue dreams.
I feel so blessed to be a part of this community, to watch lives change as people challenge themselves to step out of comfort zones and accomplish things that they only dreamed of doing. A big thanks to Gregory Packs for helping make this happen!! And of course the @mountaingirls crew for pulling it together for another RAD experience!! I am sincerely looking forward to the next meet up!
If you are interested in participating in a future gathering, head over to wwwMountainGirlsGathering.com to see what we have going on.