© Women's Trad Festival 2019 is a BMC Event | All photos by Charlie Low & Jessie Leong

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We're on a mission

Behind Women’s Trad Festival lie three key aims and core values, which underlie everything we do.

Our aims

To help beginners transition from indoor to outdoor climbing

When you’ve just started climbing, the idea of trad can be intimidating. You might not have any gear, or know anyone to teach you. Whether you’re an indoor regular or a complete beginner who has never climbed at all before, we want to help you build skills and confidence trad climbing. Although numbers of women climbing indoors are increasing, there are still far fewer female climbers out on the crags!

To support women in outdoor leadership

Our leaders are a range of qualified and trainee instructors. At the festival they meet others working in the outdoor industry, are supported by highly qualified female mentors, and can be log the experience for Mountain Training awards and CPD points. Women still make up less than 25% of qualified outdoor climbing instructors. We believe it’s crucial to build a strong, supportive community of women in leadership who, in turn, can be role models for others to follow.

To create a network of female climbers

Whether you’re a complete beginner or a professional instructor, we want to weave a strong, supportive community of female trad climbers. Coming from all over the UK and beyond to WTF climbers can meet like-minded people, find new climbing partners and share stories. We hope that everyone leaves feeling inspired - whether in their personal climbing, or with the ambition to follow a new career path in the outdoors.

Mental wellbeing

It is being increasingly understood that being active outdoors has a positive effect on mental wellbeing. Often we feel this instinctively. Many of the answers to our question ‘why do you climb’ in 2018 centred around mental health. It seemed it was a way for many to be present, find focus, to leave the stresses of day-to-day life behind, to be happy in the moment, in nature, often with friends. 
In fact, one of the WTF team, Hetty Key of
Women in Adventure, has just released ground-breaking research on mental wellbeing in the outdoors.
We all recognise and deeply value the power of the outdoors and are increasingly committed to use this event as a way of increasing awareness, as well as hopefully being a part of a bigger movement to increase mental wellbeing. 

Sustainability

Our world is changing, a climate emergency has been declared. We could not, in good conscience, run an event that essentially contributes to climate breakdown without building into its foundations a key value of sustainability. 
We aim for the event be as close to zero waste as possible. No disposable plates, no paper flyers.
‘Less plastic would be fantastic’ we say. We recycle everything we can and this year produced only 5 bin bags of non-recyclable waste (from 300 people over 2 days!) and encourage car-sharing and public transport.

Our steps to help may be small but we want to show you that it is entirely feasible to produce less waste than we currently do in our society! Things have got to change, and we want to show you it’s possible. If we can do it, we hope we can motivate you to make changes too.

Accessibility

Trad climbing is not the most accessible of sports.  Perceived as dangerous, often new climbers might not know someone who could take them out, and courses can often be very costly. Trad climbing also requires an large amount lot of gear and kit, which you may not want to invest in if you are only just starting out. 
We aim to offer a chance for anyone, even if you have no kit and have never climbed, to learn to trad climb. At the festival, you can borrow kit, receive expert instruction and be part of a community of others also learning.

Our values

This year our raffle raised more money than ever for charity, which we split between three charities that supported our values. Here's what they had to say about our support.

"Wow, bowled over that Women's Trad Fest picked us as one of their charities this year. Thank you so much! Your generous donation of £400 makes a big difference to us, helping us provide opportunities for all to climb, and getting disabled climbers of all ages involved in the climbing community."

Climbing for All Sheffield

"Thank you so much for the money raised for Vertigirls. This means so much to us all. Most of our participants are on a very low income because of their additional needs status and having donations like this allow us to subsidise our activities and make them affordable to all."

Vertigirls