Beta (definition: information about how to ascend a climb)
Better (definition: more desirable)
Images by Oliver Kruger.
Sometimes, other people’s beta doesn’t work for you. The dude with the wingspan of an albatross can very effortlessly reach for a hold that the short girl will need to perform quite a leap of faith to even get close to it. The same as our bodies, our lived experiences are different. And there’s no place where this is more true than home.
Dream Higher is a social initiative bringing rock climbing to the vulnerable youth of Cape Town. Building confidence, bridging social divides, forming connections with the natural world and building a more inclusive climbing community.
Margaux and Michelle, together with Glenn, started Dream Higher 5 years ago, with just a few pairs of shoes and 6 brave kids who said yes to try climbing up a boulder. These are two absolutely inspirational, power women who truly practice what they preach and give their whole heart to this initiative. They’ve made it a priority to create a community where the participants can be climbers. Just climbers, like everyone else, doing their thing. When they show up to practice - they show up to be a better rock climber.
Shakira Climbing on the left, end of year celebrations group on the right. Images by Oliver Kruger.
Bouldering in the Cederberg on the left, Tatenda on the right. Images by Oliver Kruger.
Dream Higher works with local Cape Town safe-houses to find any keen participants. In the first session they try and get as many of the kids onto the gym’s wall as possible. For some, it really sticks and those are the kids who become a part of the organisation and commit to train on a weekly basis. At the moment there are 36 kids in Dream Higher, 6 coaches, 4 gender-mixed practice groups, 13 kids who have competed at a provincial or national level and 3 of the young adults who have become Dream Higher coaches or are training to be. It’s an organisation as inclusive as can be, no skills required, no maximum age, only respect and eagerness required to participate.
We know, beta is not created equally. Every climber will have advantages in one area, and disadvantages in another. On the wall, we learn how to apply our strengths and to be resourceful when coming face to face with our shortcomings, to move a bit slower and maximise our leverage within a move.
Climbing in Kleinmond. Images by Oliver Kruger.
Kleinmond climbing on the left, Rachel in Rocklands on the right. Images by Oliver Kruger.
With more diversity comes the necessity to both acknowledge and understand where different people are coming from - in this climbing context, to acknowledge and understand where people come from and with the acceptance that everyone is an equal on the wall. That every climber, no matter how they got there, is just trying to get to the top, through the crux of life, with the tools that they were provided.
This variable beta, reminds us not to compare ourselves with one another, but only to compare what we can do today that we couldn’t do yesterday.
We would like you to join us in supporting this amazing non-profit organisation so that they continue to inspire the next generation of South African climbers and wilderness guardians.
You can learn more about the Dream Higher organisation and donate via their website.
We also invite you to follow @dreamhigher on social media to stay up to date with their recent activities!