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Climbers Like Me: Nikki

Tell us about yourself - who are you and what do you love doing?

I’m an artist, writer, photographer, guidebook author, and climber based in Salt Lake City, Utah. I started climbing in the early ’90s and have been working in the outdoor industry and climbing world since 1998. My photography has been featured in many outdoor publications and am a National Geographic Adventure photo contributor. I’ve authored five climbing guidebooks to date and have written many feature articles for climbing magazines. I’ve done more than 150 first ascents throughout the west and have traveled the world to climb. I’m also an athlete representing REI, Mountain Hardwear, Scarpa, Grivel, and more. Now, much of my work is focused on trying to build a more inclusive, diverse, and safe community within climbing and the outdoors.

Give us three words that you identify with most?

Wife. Friend. Woman.

What brings you the most joy outdoors?

Spending time being active with people I love, and enjoying these beautiful spaces together.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Coming out as transgender was definitely my biggest challenge, but within that, accepting and finding love for myself was the most difficult. It’s so hard to erase everything society has told us about who trans people are, and the demonisation of entire groups of people. Trans people belong. We exist, and we deserve the same rights as everyone else. If you could share a core value or abiding principle with others, what would it be? Be kind.

Tell us one small change we can make as individuals to help our community?

Stand up to hate. When you hear co-workers, friends, family, etc saying hateful things about a person or community, speak up. I listened to people saying hateful things about LGBTQIA2S+ folks for years before I transitioned and it made me feel like I’d never be accepted or supported if I came out.

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