94. How Mountaineering & the Outdoors Became a Source of Healing

I met Natalie back in 2018 at a gym in Truckee, CA where we were both working. This girl was the epitome of what my idea of a personal trainer was. I was awestruck. Then I met her, and was even more in love with this human! Her energy is contagious and she is the kindest most compassionate human. It didn’t take long before I learned about the loss of her brother on his first tour in the Army and uncovered layers of Natalie and how this was the catalyst for the way she lives her life today and the pursuits she takes on, like climbing Denali at the end of May.

Natalie found mountaineering in 2020 and found it to be incredibly healing for her. After a bit of a hiatus, she got back to it and set her sights on climbing Denali. The fact that it requires you to be entirely self-sufficient and in addition to carrying a heavy pack, you are also responsible for hauling a sled up the mountain, was appealing to her.

“This climb represents so much more than a summiting a mountain. It exemplifies the hardships faced when losing a loved one, the hurdles one must overcome in order to enter a space of healing and the community it requires in order to tackle such a feat.” – Natalie

Natalie is doing this climb to create awareness around Gold Star Families and Gold Star Sisters especially. She aims to raise 10k to sponsor a weekend retreat in the beautiful Bavarian village of Leavenworth, WA. The event will be an all-expense paid weekend for 6 sisters: 3 Gold Star sisters, 2 active duty sisters & one veteran sister. Please donate here to help Natalie reach her goal! She only has 2k to go!

Follow Natalie on IG: @diaryofanoverweightsuitcase and stay tuned for a live tracking link once she takes off on the climb in late May! Stay updated on her climb here: https://www.alpineascents.com/climbs/denali/cybercasts/

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