Group provides outdoor sports mentorship to women of color

Trail Mixed Collective founders want to see a more diverse group of women in outdoor sports

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A group that started out in the Pacific Northwest is hoping to make outdoor sports more accessible to women of color across the country.

Whether it’s rock climbing, surfing, skiing or mountaineering, the chances are Mixed collective trail is in it.

Group co-founders Liselle Pires and Quena Batres met while hiking around Mount St. Helens (or Loowit, the name the natives use for the volcano).

The two bonded over how often they were the only women of color in any outdoor groups they were involved in. Together, they wanted to change that.

“We both play a ton of different outdoor sports and we’re so used to internalizing that and thinking that was normal and realizing that it wasn’t, and that there was so much of it. other women like us who wanted this community, ”Pires said.

The two women decided they wanted to offer a mentorship to help more women of color develop the skills to participate in outdoor sports. This is how the Trail Mixed Collective was born in 2020.

A group from the Trail Mixed Collective takes a break from climbing Mount Baker on July 10, 2021. Photo courtesy of Cherlyn @alpine_explorer

Pires said that over the past year the group has gained followers across the United States. They’ve also reached out to outdoor brands like Black Diamond and Hoka to help them sponsor the trips and classes they run.

Recently, a group of women took a four-day mountaineering course on Mount Baker (Koma Kulshan).

“I think it was a really special experience for everyone to feel empowered to do this thing that they may never have had financial or emotional access to in the past, and to see everyone have that experience. unique growth, ”Pires said. .

She said that an hour after starting the hike up the mountain, the group of women, most of whom were strangers, were already bonding, joking and getting along.

“It was a really magical weekend I think for everyone,” said Pires.

She said it was not uncommon for people of color to experience racism from other hikers on the trails and most of the group would be able to hook up.

Whether it’s blatantly rude or not, people go, you know, ask where we came from, what time we got up, they’ll be a little surprised we’re at the top of a hike, regardless of whether we got there before them, ”Pires said.

A group from the Trail Mixed Collective is climbing Mount Baker on July 11, 2021. Photo courtesy of Cherlyn @alpine_explorer

She said it’s comments like this that really underscore how important it is to create a safety net for people of color who participate in outdoor sports.

Over the next six months, the Trail Mixed Collective hopes to establish centers in cities across the United States, including one in Portland. They want to have local leaders in various places and have a community across the country.

This summer, the group is teaming up with Hoka on a series of hikes and Pires said the best way to keep up to date with upcoming activities is to follow Trail Mixed Collective on Instagram. She said that while the trips do not take place in the Portland area, people from Oregon and southwest Washington are still welcome to apply and attend.

Anyone interested in donating to Trail Mixed Collective to help cover the cost of lessons or materials can do so at

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