Sunday, February 17, 2019

Looking Up: Natasha Ramon

Through the ages, it has been commonly known that being outdoors is good for our health and well-being, and the perspective from the summit of a mountain goes beyond the visual. This is a piece of Natasha's story, a heartwarming journey moving upward and forward. We love her advice for anyone with the inclination to step outdoors looking for adventure. Mountains level the playing field. We all begin at the bottom.

Meet Natasha

Go-to outdoor activity:
Scrambling (basically it’s between hiking and vertical rock climbing where you need to use your hands and feet to ascend a mountain but the terrain isn’t quite demanding enough to rope up).

Rainy day back-up plan:
I hate the rain and all I want to do is curl up with tea and Netflix in bed.

Favorite snack:
Favorite outdoor snack? Clif bars. Favorite snack snack? Perogies (do those even count as a snack food?)

Favorite piece of gear:
This may sound weird, but my Petzl Djinn Quickdraws - man do those babies clip smooth.

Worst adventure advice you’ve heard:
“I don’t know if we can get down, but we should keep going anyways.”

Something you won’t do or are afraid of:

What you never travel without:
My water bottle and a phone- I have zero navigational skills.

Always on your road trip playlist:
Wasting Gas - Dallas Smith

The Interview

Many people enjoy more than just one activity outdoors. What are you into?
The mountains have my heart. I love staring at them and taking in their beauty. I find that this is best done from the tops of them and am pretty open to trying out any sport that’ll get me to the top of those peaks. My favorite activities out there are definitely scrambling and climbing. Both give you a huge dose of adrenaline- and working my way along those ridgelines makes me feel more alive than ever.

What inspires you?
Seeing people overcome their fears and mental limits. There’s nothing more heartwarming than seeing someone make it through something that they never thought they could. I believe we all have the power to do whatever we want to - it’s just a matter of overcoming that mental barrier and pushing past your comfort zones to chase after what you want.

When that inspiration hits you, what do you do about it?
I push my own limits. Whether that means pushing my comfort zone out on a scramble or climb, climbing harder grades in the gym, or even just running faster to beat my PR’s. I find that when I feel inspired, pushing those limits feels almost effortless and for a little, I feel invincible.

Tell us about a time when realized that you could have an adventurous lifestyle:
When I first started scrambling. I had never been big into “adventure” before then. I’d get out for the casual hike from time to time but nothing that was ever truly challenging. After making up those first couple peaks I was hooked. I love everything about the climb. From huffing and puffing up the scree slopes, to the minute when you can start getting your hands dirty on the rock, to snacks and smiles on the summit, and even the terrible knee-killing descent back to the car. I had never realized something could make me feel so alive, and now I can’t seem to get enough.

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome and how did you get through it?
I was struggling pretty hard with depression when I first started adventuring in the mountains. I had hit the point where nothing felt safe outside the four corners of my bed. When I hit that first summit I had felt a sliver of pure happiness for a couple moments, something I hadn’t felt for a long time. It started to feel like a challenge. It felt as if I was letting go of a small piece of hurt at the top of every mountain, letting it be carried away like a flag with the summit winds. My heart felt lighter with every mountain I climbed, and the idea of adventure gave me something to get out of bed for in the morning. I like to think that I find and rediscover a new piece of myself every time I get out there.

What’s next for you? Are you looking forward to something or working on a project?
I’m currently in school working on my undergrad degree in Chemical Engineering. I’m looking forward to the summer. I’ll be heading back to Alberta to continue adventuring in the mountains. I’m excited about doing more backpacking trips and spending more time climbing this season.

What would you tell someone who wants to get out there and try adventure sports?
It’s going to sound cliche and cheesy but- Just do it. I know so many people who don’t start activities because they’re too worried about being judged by “experienced” people. No one is born “experienced” in anything; everyone starts from the bottom. Most of the time, people are more wrapped up in what they’re doing to pay attention to anyone else- and if they’re just there to criticize does their judgement even hold any value?

For beginners looking to try extreme sports, push your limits but ALWAYS know what they are. Start with easier objectives and work your way towards the more committing ones. If you’re lucky enough to know people that are experienced, reach out to them for advice and knowledge. The consequences are big in the world of extreme sports and it’d be a shame not to make it back to your car at the end of the day because you got caught in a situation you didn’t have the training or skills for.

How can people get in touch with you or follow your adventures? (Social media, contact, blog, website)
I’m pretty active on Instagram @natasha.ramon where I like to share my adventures and thoughts.

Photo credits: 

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