Katie Paulson of She Moves Mountains.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SHE MOVES MOUNTAINS
Katie Paulson is a climbing instructor with She Moves Mountains, an organization teaching and empowering women to scale rocks and explore the outdoors. Follow her advice to ascend Joshua Tree National Park’s boulders and climbing routes with confidence.
Pick a Spot
“[Joshua Tree] has variety — good entry-level climbing and really hard stuff. You’ll find a lot of places where you can just scramble to the top and hang ropes. There’s a rich, long history of climbing in Joshua Tree and tons of guiding companies here, so it’s super easy to find someone [to help].”
Meet Your Match
“It’s important to go seek training from a professional, and that can be a great way to meet people. [Retreats] have actually set people up. They’ve come alone, not knowing anyone, and then left with friends and climbing partners. And wherever you go, there’s a Facebook group for the climbing community in that particular area.”
Embrace the Butterflies
“Being able to examine [fear], work with it in a healthy way, and not be crippled by it is one of my favorite things about climbing. I would encourage anyone who thinks they might be afraid of trying it to go and get into those feelings a little bit. Also, understand that, especially if you learn through the right channels and use your gear properly, it is actually pretty safe.”