Advocate Spotlight: Mollie Stolbov

We are thrilled to recognize Mollie Stolbov, a passionate Midwest climber, advocate, and community activist. She is the former leader of Madison Women Climbers and co-founder of Beta Bust, a new regional climbing and camping event for transgender, cis, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming folks who feel comfortable in women-centered spaces. With roots in bouldering, she enjoys all kinds of climbing, including multipitch when she gets the chance. Mollie wears many hats and also serves on the board of the Wisconsin Climbers Association, an Access Fund affiliate and powerhouse organization focused on community and stewardship of iconic Midwestern crags like Devil’s Lake and Governor Dodge boulders.

5 Questions for Mollie:

What's your favorite cause in climbing advocacy right now?
Inclusivity in climbing. This is a sport that every person can do and no one should feel like they don’t belong. The more who climb, the better this community will be.

What does it mean to you to be a climbing advocate?
To me, being a climbing advocate means that I can impact the community in a positive way. If I can help make climbing more inclusive, it means more impact on all aspects of climbing. The more people who care about climbing, the better our sport, climbing lands, and history will become.

What's your advice to new advocates?
Not to give up and always work to improve. Even if your first try is successful, what tweaks can you make to improve on your initiative? Also, surround yourself with people who care about the success of your advocacy and will challenge your ideas to help hone them. This will make you a better advocate and likely improve the work you are doing.

What excited or surprised you the most about getting into the advocacy world?
I was excited at how much support we got from the community to expand inclusive climbing in Wisconsin. We created a grant program and were able to fund anchors courses, competitions, and a group outing in the first year! I think it will only grow in the future, so there are lessons to be learned about finding a way to make it sustainable year over year. Much like climbing, there’s always another level to get to.

Who is another climbing advocate whose work is really inspiring you right now?
I have been so inspired by Kai Lightner and his work with his nonprofit organization Climbing4Change. He is laser-focused on climbing for all and making it accessible. I really admire his honesty and willingness to share his experiences with eating disorders and how it affects the climbing community. I can only imagine what he’ll be doing in the next 10 to 20 years for climbing advocacy.

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