During the fine tuning clinic, we were joined by Arc’teryx ambassador Dr. Natalie Brown, who also gave a talk that evening on understanding and managing hormonal symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle and peri-menopause in relation to performance and health – something that still isn’t widely discussed, or indeed understood amongst climbers. Aside from up-skilling and refining our technique with our incredibly knowledgeable guide, the day was full of open, honest conversation about our lived experiences as climbers who menstruate – the women-only nature of the clinic facilitating a feeling of security and a safe space to share.
‘The fine tuning clinic, attended just by women, provided an environment where everyone shared openly about the challenges and also successes of managing their menstrual cycle or related symptoms, and hormonal contraceptives in climbing,’ Natalie says. ‘What was unique about this space was the ability for individuals to reflect or immediately put into practice things we’d discussed.
‘Sometimes it’s not just the physical aspect of managing bleeding (which definitely was discussed – and how to change a tampon whilst wearing a harness on a multi-pitch), but also the psychological aspect of fear or decision making.
‘The Arc’teryx Academy was a brilliant event to hold conversations about the menstrual cycle, and the evening talk certainly helped to increase understanding and empower individuals to support their partners. Hopefully this will be the beginning of an era where events like this support and offer information to help individuals who menstruate continue climbing and getting the most out of being active outdoors!’