Filling the void

Squamish adventurer included in an all-female anthology

For Squamish residents, hard-core adventurous women are the norm, but that hasn't been the case in adventure books.

While 2018 saw a plethora of books written by women and for women, the one area where female voices have been underrepresented is in the outdoor adventure genre.

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A new book hopes to tilt the scales more in women's favour.

Waymaking, an anthology of adventure writing, poetry, and art by 50 outstanding females  — including a Squamish woman —  will be released this fall.

"While we actively seek out female authors and never aim to publish a guidebook without photos of both male and female athletes, the majority of our books are written by men," said Jon Barton, managing director of the new anthology’s publisher Vertebrate, in a news release. "At the moment, we're missing 50 per cent of the voices of adventurers and nature lovers. We hope to redress this balance with Waymaking.

The book features three photos by Squamish documentary filmmaker Jen Randall.

Randall is known for her adventure documentaries —such as Psycho Vertical about rock climber Andy Kirkpatrick's obsession with the sport — so contributing photos to an anthology about adventuring wasn't too much of a stretch for her.

She began her career creating with both film and photography, she told The Chief, but got more work with film and video.

"I am just always taking pictures on the side," Jen Randall said.

The photos she contributed to the anthology represent important moments in her life that helped shape her career.

One was taken in Diabaig, a remote Scottish village.

"It was such a simple lifestyle we had there and I think it really showed me, that maybe I don't want to live that remotely… but that I want to live somewhere smaller," she said, adding she had previously lived in Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland.

The second photo is of rocking climbing in Australia.

Randall had been pushing herself physically and mentally up to that point and became very sick just after the photo was taken several years ago. 

"I spent a lot of my trip in the hospital and a lot of years recovering," she recalled. "It taught me a lot about pacing myself and stopping to take care of myself and not being afraid to say no."

The final photo is of jumping into the water in Squamish.

"It felt like this huge leap we had been waiting to take for ages," she said. "Although we knew the area, we were jumping into the unknown a bit."

Randall was born in Vancouver, raised mostly in Scotland and made Squamish home about a year ago.

"I loved the climbing so much," she explained of her move to the district.

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Something she has noticed in Squamish, more than other places she has lived or visited, is the groups of women going out on adventures together.

"Way more women getting out there and doing things together."

She said it is more interesting and important to have female voices in the various platforms and genres of expression.

"[Women] live in the world with a slightly different experience — with your body, with how you deal with people, with how people deal with you and everything, so I think that just creates… difference," she said.

Others in the book include award-winning writer Bernadette McDonald, renowned rock climber Hazel Findlay, and adventurers Anna McNuff and Sarah Outen.

The book is already available for pre-order. Go to www.v-publishing.co.uk to order. It will be officially released on Oct. 4.

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