International Badass Mountain Women’s Day


“You’re lucky your husband lets you climb mountains.”

“Don’t you want to have children?”

“You must be a hard person to be married to.”

Lucky? When Andy and I met in 2010, he thought I was dating a few guys because as a gag I’d put on my Facebook page I was in a relationship with Blake, Colvin and Colden (In reference to the Adirondack High Peaks). As our relationship progressed, I openly debated the idea of marriage with Andy before we shared our vows on a floating dock. We did it our way. I didn’t change my last name and I married someone who didn’t care. Oh yeah, and I was the one to propose.

Children? Yes. No. Maybe. Someday. But not today or tomorrow or a year from now and really, why look much further than that? I’ve never had a super strong maternal instinct or put too much thought into baby names. And I certainly don’t want to have a baby shower. But sometimes I dream that I’m holding a baby in my arms. It’s always a girl with brown eyes and I’m smiling.

Hard? Sure. Guess what? Marriage is hard and we all have our moments. But, I’ll tell you one thing: I’d be a lot harder to be married to if I didn’t expend some of my access energy and celebrate being alive in the mountains. Andy calls me his Husky and I couldn’t agree more.

Andy and Bethany

I’m blessed to have been raised in a family of strong women by the strongest woman of them all, my mother Amy Garretson. A four-sport athlete in the 1970s, she personally experienced the introduction of Title IX and went on to coach hundreds if not thousands of female athletes. I’m also blessed to have grown up in the United States as a millennial woman. Recently, on the Aconcagua expedition, I had a conversation with a Scottish engineer named Chrissy about the difficulties women in science, engineering and mountaineering have faced in the past (and that many continue to face). Lots of the discrimination was based on claims that the female brain was inferior to the male brain in the classroom and at high altitude. It was fitting that my last flight from Atlanta to Albany was piloted by two females. A comment was made by a male passenger in front of me.

“Well, you know they’re the best in their class because of all the bullshit they had to go through.”

Badass Mountain Women is a category dedicated to rad women who are doing amazing things in the mountains. Today, more and more barriers are being broken by women and I personally feel it’s a really exciting time to be a female mountain athlete. I graciously thank and give a huge shout out to all the strong and beautiful women who have paved and continue to pave the way. Climb on!

Categories: Badass Mountain WomenTags: , , , , , , ,

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