I spent the weekend with a kick-ass group of women outdoor educators learning how to teach rock climbing skills, as well as what to do in scenarios where the teaching isn’t going that well (like how to do belay escapes and top-rope rescue scenarios). There were nearly 20 of us, and we spent three days climbing, brushing up on our knot skills, learning a ton of stuff, camping, and rapelling. As well as telling jokes and eating dinner on the beach and playing frisbee in the parking lot (see pic above).

The weekend was paid for by PassagesNW, as a way to keep their field staff all on the same page with climbing protocols in the field. All the camping and food was provided, all we had to do was show up and play. I’ll be heading out to a Field Staff Retreat with the same organization in about 10 days, and I’m really looking forward to spending more time with this group of pretty radical women.

The trip started with everyone piling in the vans. Jenny, the lead instructor and van driver hopped in the seat and started preparing for the drive. She’s a cute little blonde climber girl. If you don’t know the type I mean, check out the picture above. She’s the blonde one. “Everyone put on your seatbelts,” she says sweetly. I’m sitting in the passenger seat, so I see the brief look of annoyance that crosses her face when everyone continues chatting and ignores the message. Still very sweetly, but a little louder, she says, “You all know what the seatbelt bunny says, right?!” A few people roll their eyes, and a couple people say, “What does the seatbelt bunny say?”

She turns around to face the rest of the van, “BUCKLE THE FUCK UP!” After everyone finished dying of laughter, we all put our seatbelts on and start the journey. This ability to be really hardcore while still making everyone laugh and getting along was the vibe of the rest of the trip. Three days later, on the ride home, Kate calls from the back of the van, “Jenny, you totally rock my face off!” That pretty much sums it up.