PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Theresa Silveyra began mountain climbing in 2016 and set a goal to climb Mount Hood 30 times before she turned 30. She reached that summit in June, two months ahead of her big day.
But her mission for the 30 climbs to was raise awareness and money for groups that support climbers of color and women — things she doesn’t see a lot.
“I didn’t see a single woman at the base camps, either, so it was so disheartening. It was one of those things where I felt like I had to work extra hard so nobody in my group saw me as a weak link,” she told KOIN 6 News. “And two, I questioned if this was something I should even be pursuing if I wasn’t seeing anybody that looked like me.”
Silveyra grew up in Chehalis, Washington with a clear view of Mount St. Helens. But she said her family wasn’t very outdoorsy.
“I always grew up looking at that mountain and not even knowing that mountain climbing existed,” she said.
Her first climb was Mount St Helens, but she’s a frequent flier at Mount Hood. When she reached her 30-before-30 goal, it was just before the snow melts and climbing becomes more hazardous.
“Even now if you go up there you can hear the rock fall. You can usually stay out of the way of it, but it’s definitely evident that a lot of rock is starting to fall.”
She often hears the defense that the outdoors is for everyone but she said there are obstacles.
“It is and it should be (for everyone), but that kind of takes away from the fact that there’s a lot of barriers to doing these activities. And as a woman of color I have the privilege to even do what I do.”