Women take their place in the outdoors, whether it’s hiking, camping, Nordic skiing or climbing. And when it comes to ice climbing, Nathalie Fortin pays particular attention to it with her Des femmes et des lames community.
Nathalie Fortin is one of the best ice climbers in Quebec. She loves this sport, which she has been practicing for twenty years. “I like commitment, I like pushing myself,” she says. And spending a day outside in winter is not the same as summer. There is always a satisfaction of having, in a way, overcome the bad weather. »
She particularly likes the changing appearance of ice cream. “It’s different from rock because usually the route stays the same. In ice, we are really linked to factors that nature has in store for us. Ice does not always form in the same way. Year to year, or even week to week, it’s not the same path. It’s always a learning curve. »
Over the years, Nathalie Fortin has seen that there were fewer women than men who climb ice. “I wanted to break down that wall with clinics,” says Nathalie Fortin. It gave them the opportunity to learn, then find partners. »
She wanted to create an additional initiative with a community on Facebook, Women and Blades. Participants have access to a larger pool to find partners and to organize projects.
While climbing schools – Laliberté-Nord Sud, Passe-Montagne, Attitude Montagne, Aventurex or Chamox – offer various specialized ice training, Nathalie Fortin sees them as complementary. Her workshops and the Des femmes et des lames community bring together only women, which gives them a particular color. The way of learning is different.
“The girls tell me why they like to climb together: not feeling performance pressure, not being judged, being encouraged,” continues Nathalie Fortin. I want it to be a positive community, where everyone is accepted. Just because you climb less hard or you climb harder doesn’t mean you have to have a tag. »
In her workshops, Ms. Fortin takes into account the physiological differences between men and women. Since these are often less physically strong, they need to pay more attention to technique, to save more energy. Nathalie Fortin gives them tips for this purpose. Just as she suggests tips for fighting the cold.
“A lot of my girl friends say, the cold stops them. There are plenty of things we can share. For example, sometimes people overtighten their boots. When you’re not climbing, you can loosen them, it improves blood circulation. »
It also involves wearing mittens and a down jacket to belay the person climbing.
“Often, in winter, we don’t eat,” notes Nathalie Fortin.
In general, the women who participate in Nathalie Fortin’s workshops have already done rock climbing or climbing in the gym, “but it’s not a prerequisite,” she says.
Nathalie Fortin dreams of seeing women storming the ice falls, but also the high mountains. “Me, that’s what brought me to the mountain. Because once you know how it works, ice axes and crampons, it is naturally that you want to go to the mountains, to go mountaineering, to live adventures. »
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