Interview written and compiled by Stephanie Hall
Ever met someone who is just the embodiment of outdoor joy? If you’ve met this week’s WCW, Amanda Meyer, you have! Amanda @thewildoutside, @wildonesyoga has the personality that just thrives in outdoor spaces; she’s fallen in love with climbing, paddling, yoga, trail running, exploring, and backyard chickens. She’s got a degree in environmental education, she’s developing a business teaching nature-based yoga to kids (so cool!!!), and she’s a sea kayak guide. Amanda came to Duluth to attend UMD, and frequently returns to the area, but is currently living in Savannah, GA. I first met Amanda when she was one of the amazing students running the Women on the Wall program at UMD through RSOP (its open to the public and will be resuming in the fall semester, check it out) This was personally my first experience with a space created specifically for womxn, and it was such a mind-opening and positive experience, kudos to RSOP for creating this space! Amanda was a great instructor; kind, welcoming and knowledgable, so I know all who have the chance to have her as a guide, instructor, or mentor are lucky to learn from her. My favorite tidbit about her? “I once peed my pants from laughing so hard at the top of Cookie Monster in Red Rocks!”
Where are you living now? Where is your new local crag?
I am currently living in Savannah, GA (and have a guest room that y’all are welcome to use!) local crag… unfortunately the rock climbing is limited in the Savannah area, thankful to have the Savannah Climbing Coop in town, though bouldering is just not my jam, trust me I have tried so many times to like it… I do go when I am feeling real needy for some chalk dust and traversing action and it gets me through.
What is the best part about where you live/climb now?
The amount of nature! The coast of Georgia is one of the most beautiful areas int the south, so many places to paddle and explore, the ecological diversity is astounding!
What do you love about climbing?
I love the very meditative flow of climbing, you must be in the moment and mindful, you can’t be thinking about the past or the future, you must stay in the present moment to succeed.
What do you miss about North Shore climbing or the Duluth climbing community?
I miss being a part of the community so much! The friendly faces and friendships, being able to go to the climbing gym for hours and climb and chat and enjoy the company. I miss the ability to go climbing in general, having a gym close by, the Lake, the rock… I miss it all!
Share a story of an impactful climb or experience you’ve had related to climbing (good or bad), or an experience you’re proud of.
Climbing literally changed the trajectory of my life, when I came to UMD as a freshmen, I attended a freshmen trip rock climbing up the north shore of Lake Superior, I had never climbed a day before in my life. I fell in love with the sport, the climbing community welcomed me in with open arms and I found many friends and mentors who helped me find my path to graduate with a degree in outdoor education, I now am beginning a grad school program in clinical social work and plan to work in wilderness therapy. I am so thankful for that first climbing trip and every climbing trip that came after, they each taught me many lessons, and brought me closer to friends and mentors, as well as helping me to connect with the natural world in Minnesota and beyond.
How are you hoping to grow as a climber or what skills are you hoping to develop:
Hoping to keep my strength up and when I am able to be back near a climbing gym / local crag that the transition back wont be too painful! I’m already cringing thinking about my future self’s sore muscles and finger pads.
Advice for the North Shore Climbing Community?
I would say that I would keep investing in the climbing community, find ways to give back, help those who may be held back from climbing for various reasons find a way to climb and be a part of the community!
Just a quick note to say the frequency of WCW posts will be decreasing to every other week, not from lack of amazing womxn to interview, but due to time constraints. That said, if you’ve got suggestions for who should be featured leave a comment, send a message, or tell us in person! We love hearing about womxn who inspire you!