I Went Climbing Without Pants for Do It in a Dress


Time to climb.
© J Afshin 2013


I'll be honest.  Wearing a dress out in public is getting to be a pretty natural thing for me nowadays.

To be fair, I'm usually heading out to do something awesome in it.  


In August 2012, my father, brother and I hiked for 5 days and over 70km along the Berg Lake Trail in the Canadian Rockies, and we did it while wearing school girl dresses.  Why?  We did it as part of Do It in a Dress, an initiative by the Australian-based organization One Girl, who's programs help support scholarships for young girls and women entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone.  In every way possible, it was a huge success.

After 2012's amazing campaign that we dubbed the "Hikers Without Pants" setting the "awesome bar" oh-so-high, I knew it was going to be tough to reach those lofty glacier-capped heights again.  I'd need more help.  So this year, I decided to do something a little different: get a bunch more people involved.  

Looking out over the massive Robson Glacier, with Mr Robson (the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies) in the back.
© Dustin Main 2012


Jeff, Dale, and Dustin; 5 days, 70km and 0 showers later.  
© Dustin Main 2012


And so we did.  

Before the big event, there were many warmups and trail runs.  Coaching hockey in a school girl dress, going to the pub, or shooting some hoops.  Nathan even dressed as a zombie and shuffled down the streets amongst a zombie hoard in his school girl dress.


Jeff coaches hockey, in a dress.  
© Dustin Main 2013

Nathan does the Zombie Walk... in a dress.  
© Dustin Main 2013


Then came the big event.  Thirty amazing men, women, boys and girls stepped up to first don a dress and then strap on a climbing harness to climb at Saskatoon's Grip It climbing center.  

We became the "Climbers Without Pants."

TV, radio, newspaper.  They all wanted to know.  My favorite email came from a producer at CBC Radio.


"I assume your plans to climb things without pants is still going through this week? When's the best time to get you on the radio? 



Click here to listen to my interview with CBC Radio, See more of our media coverage on my  media page....


Turns out that that people really want to know what's up.  So we invited them along.  In fact, there were so many of us, that we had to close Grip It to the general public.  Sorry, no room, unless you're dressed... properly.


Just finished my pep talk for the team and ready to climb.
© J Afshin 2013


And then we climbed!

So I'm going to tell you, climbing in a dress is no easy task.  Well, climbing itself is tough enough, and doing it in a dress is even more of a challenge.  First off, you have to be careful of the upskirt!  Secondly, there really isn't all that much give in the arms.  A couple of our participants (particularly the ones with thicker frames) even tore their dresses a bit reaching up for holds.


On the wall.
© J Afshin 2013

A little bit of scale.
© J Afshin 2013

Searching for my next move with the help of the giggles.
© Matt Braden Photography 2013

Hanging from a rope after tiring out my arms.
© Matt Braden Photography 2013


When all is said and done, our 30 climbers raised over $9000 from hundreds of individual donations.  That's enough to pay for 30 girls to attend school in Sierra Leone.  Thirty lives directly impacted.

Click to see our "Climbers Without Pants" page on the Do It in a Dress site.

Click to see our "Climbers Without Pants" page on the Do It in a Dress site.


Mission accomplished.


Check out this feature on our "Climbers Without Pants" event on Shaw TV.  Check out more press coverage on my media page.


As for next year?  We'll have to see what comes up.  I'm all about going bigger, so we'll have to step it up again.

The only question... are you in?


Climbers Without Pants team.
© J Afshin 2013


A few shoutouts:

I'd like to thank Jeff Main and Dean Lester for really helping pull the events together.  I'd also like to thank the team at Grip It Rock Climbing for hosting us, and Jay Afshin & Matt Braden for volunteering their photography skills for the event.  Finally, all of our participants and their donors who together are helping make a difference in lives on the other side of the globe.