Sexual harassment in the outdoor industry? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-26-2017   #1
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: May 2017
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Sexual harassment in the outdoor industry?

Hey -- this is a topic I'm hesitant to bring up, but I'm a journalist with Outside Magazine working on an assignment about sexual harassment and assault in the outdoor industry, and I'd love to hear of any personal experiences or observations you're willing to share, particularly if they're from the last few years. Feel free to comment below or email me at [email protected]. I can guarantee your privacy, and won't publish anything without your explicit permission.

About me: I'm a whitewater kayaker who's also guided sea kayak trips in New Zealand, wilderness canoe expeditions in Alaska and rowed gear boats in Utah. Now I work full time in journalism. You can see my work at

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Old 06-01-2017   #2
Durango, Colorado
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Old 06-01-2017   #3
ColoradoDave's Avatar
Western Slope, CO, Colorado
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Realistically, Krista, I don't think you will find much here. I've lived in Colorado my whole life and in the context of the outdoors, I haven't ever seen any evidence of anything I would call sexual harassment. Everybody gets an equal ribbing for what they have done. Whether Rafting, Climbing, or any other high risk, often guided activity. Both sexes seem to stand up equally from what I have observed.
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Old 06-01-2017   #4
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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I've seen some pretty nasty misogyny and harassment on this site. Shit that doesn't fly anymore, thank God.
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 06-01-2017   #5
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Western Slope, CO, Colorado
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Something more than the occasional one off comments in threads ?
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Old 06-01-2017   #6
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Lakewood, Colorado
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I'm not gonna get into it with as much detail as I could, but I've definitely talked to women who have been sexually harassed by the men they do outdoor activities with.

Most outdoor activities are done primarily by heterosexual men and can involve a lot of "boys club" like antics. At a base level, the shit talking that goes on among those types can be very off putting for a women to deal with and that is only the most harmless level. They feel like they have to keep up and shit talk right back to fit, but its usually just an act and at the very least gets old and exhausting and at the worst can cause some pretty big emotional and psychological harm.

I've talked to women who said they were hounded by a guy for an entire trip, being propositioned repeatedly, having inappropriate comments made, and when they were turned down that made the women a "prude bitch".

We were telling war stories around the camp and someone who was a long time guide in the Grand Canyon told a story where a guy was caught repeatedly doing Peeping Tom type stuff and when confronted denied it yet continued to do it enough where the head guide of the trip kicked him off at Phantom Ranch even with the risk of a lawsuit.

Maybe I just make for a nice sounding pole and get to hear about stuff more often then most, but if you truly haven't heard of even base levels of sexual harassment happening on outdoor trips it might be time to politely ask your female comrades about it and really see how they feel. It might change how you interact with them for the postive.

I'm not gonna refer anyone since its not my place, but I'll certainly send this link to some of the people I have heard these stories from to see if they are interested in talking about it.
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Old 06-02-2017   #7
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
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A female friend was going on a high water Payette run on the Staircase recently. Some jackhole shows up and finds out she's only been rafting for five years and starts to tell her what to do, how to do it, trying to give beta on the run. This lady kicks ass in almost anything she does. Former marine, several MF runs, all over the Payettes and the Salmon the last few years. Has good gear and knows how to use it.

She ignores dude for the most part and does her thing. He flips. She cleaned the run. There is a God.
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Old 06-02-2017   #8
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Let's see - I've been boating about 50 days a year, for 20 years. In that time I've been insulted/sexually harassed on this site several times, and ONCE on a raft trip by some guys in another group who decided they either hated me or liked me too much. Who knows they were too drunk and immature for me to distinguish. It was uncomfortable and I did not feel safe. There was another time when car camping by the river when some men tried to break into my car to get to me - but they were NOT boaters, just evil people, and fortunately my car was locked and had a panic alarm.

99.9% of the time I feel the men in this sport are very supportive and trustworthy and I feel safer meeting guys on the river than I would doing other things like biking/hiking/camping or anything else for that matter.
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Old 06-02-2017   #9
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2013
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Working in Utah as the gear boat on a multiday commercial trip the TL hit on me relentlessly and tried to initiate something more. It was uncomfortable in front of the guests and considering that he could influence my job.

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Old 06-03-2017   #10
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Sandy, Utah
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Female boater, boating for 20 years. The guys I boat with have been gentlemen and I've never felt uncomfortable with them. I boat in mixed female/male groups, family groups, and on some trips (MF Salmon) I'm often the only female in the group. For the most part, I raft with a core group of people who are like my second family. If a dude harassed me, the guys in my "family" would set him straight in a hurry.
"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love....and then we return home."
Australian Aboriginal Proverb
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