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Climber Interview: Kelly Fields

Written by Leslie Kim

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Posted on May 24 2020

Kelly Fields is one of those people you can meet just once but never forget. She's a climbing guide who takes womxn-identifying groups outdoors on climbing adventures. If that's something you were looking for, check out Kelly's guiding business, Chicks with Nuts. We met at the very first Women's Climbing Festival way back when, and we can't get enough of this woman's energy and generosity. We are excited to work with Kelly to get her event participants some awesome Dynamite Starfish swag, and we are stoked to follow along on her adventures. Here's the interview!

 

Photo Credit: Roddy McCalley @roddymccalley

To start, what are a few ways you identify yourself? (some examples: name, age, pronouns, type of work you do.) But really, anything you believe is important.

Wow, this question seems a lot harder to answer than it should haha
Kelly Fields, 28, she/her, rock climbing instructor and guide. The most important things to me are friends, family, and my health (physical and emotional). I try to fuel all three through shared experiences, which has mostly been through travel, climbing, and playing outdoors. It's important to give back more than we take, both to this earth and to the people we love. It's important to learn something new every day, because just because we can't possibly know all there is to know, we can try! I think every human should respect themselves, but I think this is especially true for women. Saying no is okay...I try to rephrase it by telling myself that I am saying yes to myself rather than no to someone else.

 

How did you start climbing?

With my family. I didn't have much say in the matter. They were lovers of the outdoors and this included rock climbing. They had me top roping outside at two, and I did my first multi-pitch climb to the summit of Seneca Rocks, WV when I was five.... it was all downhill from there... 😉

 

Photo Credit: R. Douglas Fields, Kelly's dad

What impact has climbing had on your life?

Climbing has connected me with my friends, family, and myself. The lessons I learn from climbing eek over into my daily life. I started working in a climbing gym when I was thirteen, something they would probably never allow now. Climbing gave me a peer group that was significantly older than me which helped me mature...I think...although looking back they were all totally kids too...

Climbing continuously helps me find and hold onto a certain degree of confidence. It has taught me that I am capable of things I never imagined, and more so, that I am capable of and entitled to speaking up for myself (as you are sometimes forced to climbing outdoors when your life is in danger due to another person's actions). Climbing has pushed me more, physically, and mentally than anything ever has in my life. I joke that I climb because it makes life on the ground seem super chill and simple.

It has connected me with nature in the most intimate of ways, for which I am extremely grateful. Climbing helps me be present. It helps me stay grounded. It serves me humble pie when I need it, and makes me feel like a queen when I need that too.

It hasn't been all fun and games though. Climbing has been an addictive passion that changed my life -- no telling if it's for the better yet. I dropped out of college to climb my first big wall, and to start a small business. Two things that aren't especially lucrative endeavors. It has surrounded me with amazing people but has also brought no so healthy people into my life. It is a lifestyle that can promote toxic living -- drinking and smoking -- and in that it has taught me the value of living a more balanced life. It has kept me out of communication with friends and family for long periods of time, as galavanting in the mountains often means I don't have service/wifi. And in that it has taught me how to prioritize the things that matter most, but not without doing some damage first. And least I forget, that every time I go climbing, I am putting myself in a dangerous situation that could leave me dead or permanently injured -- a risk that I am obviously able to justify, but that exists regardless. And while I can justify it, it may be harder for my loved ones too, and so every time I put my life in unnecessary danger, I absolutely feel guilty about the potential impact it could have on others.

Sorry to ramble...climbing has impacted me a lot...

 

Photo Credit: Roddy McCalley @roddymccalley

What are some other things you do that you find most fulfilling?

I could stand to branch out, that's for sure, as doing more things is good for the brain and body. I love music, I play guitar and cello. I think dancing is one of the most fun things in the world, although people around me might prefer than I not dance due to a lack of talent in that department... I have more recently been learning how to ski and mountain bike, two things I never did as a kid, and that I find terrifying as an adult. I enjoy writing, although I don't do it as much as I should. Perhaps one of the most fulfilling things I try to do though is travel, nationally and internationally. Seeing new places, speaking different languages (don't get any ideas, I can't speak any other languages, I basically butcher languages anywhere I go, but I have fun doing it), eating new foods, being immersed in other cultures, and seeing the world through a different lens is absolutely one of my biggest passions.

 

If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?

If I could tell the earth one thing it would be that I am sorry for our actions.

If I could tell the world one thing.....wow that's hard.... you can see writing concisely is not a strong-suit of mine..... I guess it would be to be kind to yourself and to others because we all have our bad days and you never know what's truly going on with someone.

 

Photo Credit: Roddy McCalley @roddymccalley

Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?

Leslie....no wait, she's not a thing! I'd say there are two things I love most about Dynamite Starfish: 1) all their work clearly comes from a place of passion and good intention 2) the fact that Dynamite puts their money where their mouth is by donating to the causes that matter most -- supporting the Access Fund, heck yeah!

 

You can follow along with Kelly's adventures on Instagram at @chickswithnuts. You can join in on one of her guided womxn's climbing trips and find out more about Chicks with Nuts on her website.

Want to get to know more of the climbers in the amazing Dynamite Starfish community? Check out our archive of Climber Interviews here.

 We hope you have enjoyed these sneak peeks into climbers' lives. We're on a mission to share diverse stories about rock climbing. Let's push the boundaries of who we know as climbers. Let's use our energy and passion for the outdoors to love our environment and inspire one another.

Have someone you think we should feature? Send us a message and let us know!

Until next week!

 

 

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