The 2019 Women Outside Adventure Forum will feature plenty of women who are not afraid to push the boundaries.
The fourth annual forum hosted by Backcountry Experience will be held March 19-21 in Durango at the Powerhouse Science Center. All forum events are free and open to the public. This year’s theme being exploration. The event has grown in size each year. Backcountry Experience Marketing Coordinator Margaret Hedderman believes this year’s event will continue to be a big hit.
“I think this year is going to be one of the best,” Hedderman said in an email to The Durango Herald. “Our theme is explorations, and our speakers will discuss how they explore the wilderness outside and within.”
The forum will feature six speakers, all of whom have extensive outdoor resumes, including Hilaree Nelson, the first woman to ski down Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world.
Nelson was named one of the most adventurous women in sports by Outside Magazine, and she and her ski partner, Jim Morrison, became the first people to ever ski Lhotse in the Himalayas. She also became the first woman to climb two 8,000-meter mountains in 24 hours when she conquered both Mount Everest and Lhotse.
The forum will also feature Tenny Ostrem and Claire Wernstedt-Lynch, who recently thru-hiked the U.S.-Mexico border, big wall climber Madaleine Sorkin, ultra runner Kelly Halpin and Adventure Pro contributor and outdoor journalist Morgan Tilton. Sorkin is a big wall climber who has climbed some of the world’s most difficult big walls, from the Middle East to Yosemite. Her work was recently featured in the film “Valley of the Moon.”
Halpin recently devised and ran a 24-mile adventure run in Greenland. Her trek across some of the island’s most difficult terrain, and was documented by La Sportiva and Osprey, while Tilton will discuss her own ultrarunning experiences
“This year, we have a really eclectic lineup of speakers who will be discussing how their pursuits of outdoor exploration have led them to internal explorations, as well,” Hedderman said. “We have some amazing women coming to Durango who aren’t just achieving ‘firsts’ for women – they’re achieving all around firsts.”
Halpin and Tilton will lead off the event Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.
Nelson and Sorkin will speak from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday.
The event will close with a special screening of “Hike the Line”, a film about Ostrem and Wenstedt-Lynch’s six-month journey from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, which challenged the duo about the border and the stereotypes that surround it, as well as their own internal challenges.
The screening will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Henry Strater Theatre and is $30. All of the proceeds will benefit the San Juan Citizens Alliance.
“I think we’ll have some really thought-provoking and inspiring conversations at this year’s event,” Hedderman said.