We're on a mission
Behind Women’s Trad Festival lie three key aims and core values, which underlie everything we do.
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 climbing walls are becoming increasingly diverse with regards to gender, this representation isn't reflected out on the crags. We want to actively change this by welcoming new faces into our community and challenge the old stereotype of who a 'climber' is.
To support women and other marginalised genders 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 AMI mentors, and are able to log the experience for Mountain Training awards and CPD points. Women still make up less than 25% of qualified outdoor climbing instructors*. Our leadership positions are made up of women, men and lgbtq+ instructors. We believe this strong, supporting community and inclusive environment are crucial as it helps create role models, opening the door to any aspiring individual.
To create an inclusive network of trad climbers
Whether you’re a complete beginner or a professional instructor, we want to foster a strong, supportive and widely inclusive community of trad climbers. We welcome everyone with open arms but are focused on and led predominantly by women, other marginalised genders and lgbtq+ folk. Coming to our festival from all over the UK and beyond, 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 outdoor.
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, 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.
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.
We recognise that trad climbing is not the most accessible of sports. Knowledge can be a barrier, as new climbers might not know someone to take them out, and courses can be costly. Finances can also be a barrier as generally, trad climbing requires large amounts of gear and kit, which you may not be able to invest in, especially if you are just starting out and are not yet sure if it's for you. We aim to give a chance for anyone, even if you have no kit and have never climbed. At WTF, you can borrow kit, receive expert instruction and be part of a community of others also learning. We also run disability awareness and training courses for our leaders and offer a parent and child ticket to try to counter the child-care barriers single parents might face.
We recognise that homophobia, transphobia, racism, elitism and more are systemic barriers to participation and are actively working to make our festival and the climbing community welcoming of diversity in all its forms.