Girls Trip: Red River Gorge

Photos and words by Shelby Michele. 

Four glorious days of Miguel’s Pizza, warm beer, a damp tent, and incredible outdoor sport climbing. Originally, there were supposed to be four of us, but our guy friend ended up having to back out. And so, the all-girls trip to The Red was born.

When the company is mixed, most things default to the boys. Everything – carrying the rope, cleaning the route*, knowing what to do in a tricky situation, and even finishing a route if one of us has to bail- nearly always goes to one of the boys. It’s not because we want to, necessarily, but the combination of societal gender norms and the boys’ higher ability levels tends to make it easier to just let them do their thing. And, although it is nice to know that someone in the group knows what to do and can handle things, it leaves the boys with all the responsibility all of the time and it leaves the girls with a permanent safety net. This trip helped all of us remember that we can save ourselves when necessary.

About Shelby Michele: In both climbing and photography, I have had so many incredible mentors, and I would be remiss if I did not give them some credit. I can attribute my attention to detail, professionalism, dry sense of humor, and eye for beautiful light to many educators and friends along my journey. Without them, I’d still be shooting from the ground, and what fun would that be?

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