troublemakers

Go Outside, Get Naked, Feel Free: An Interview With The Mountain Babes.

mountainbabes

{Photo credit: Mountain Babes}

On a recent trip to Boulder, Colorado, for the Hanuman Festival, I flicked through a copy of Boulder magazine as I waited for my next class. A picture caught my eye: the naked back of a woman on top of a mountain, arms raised, looking out over the vast expanse of land.

Wow, I thought. That is freedom. That is power. That is guts.

That, it turns out, is the Mountain Babes.

Something about the picture and the accompanying piece made me decide to skip my next Yoga class and go hiking in the Flat Irons. I felt like I wanted to be one of these brave, fearless women, hiking to the tops of mountains.

Only when we reached the summit did my husband suggest actually Mountain Babe-ing. At first, I felt shy: what if someone saw me? Also, even if no one saw me, who did I think I was to get naked in nature in the first place? In those 30 seconds of decision-making, a lifetime of body-shame warred in my mind.

But I did it. I stripped off my top and bared my heart, soul, and a wee bit more, as I opened my arms over Boulder. I felt free. Connected. Wonderfully, deliciously, wholly alive. I closed my eyes and breathed, and the woods welcomed me. I embraced the old magic, that gorgeous electricity that you feel when you’re just you, open and present. Listening.

I wondered, what do you hear, what do you find, when you let yourself be truly free?

And where could I track down the fabulous woman that began the Mountain Babe movement and is inspiring women everywhere to bare all?

Her name is Maddie. And she’s every bit as rad as you’d think.

Why did you begin MtnBabes? 

The idea for MtnBabes was born while climbing a mountain! In August of 2011, my good friend Lindsey and I were en route to the summit of Longs Peak (a classic Colorado 14er-you should climb it, it’s in Rocky Mountain National Park, near you now!).

We were discussing the lack of female participation in outdoor recreation, and what could be done about it.

As a side note, this was the first major mountain I had climbed in almost a year. In 2010, I had witnessed a very serious accident while summiting the Maroon Bells and it had taken me a year to regain my strength to go back into the mountains.

When we summited, we wanted to do something monumental since this was my first big peak in a while. We had heard of taking nude photos on summits before. When we finally arrived at the summit of Longs Peak, there was no one in sight.

Lindsey and I stripped off our clothes, and I set up the self-timer for our premier Mountain Babe Exposed nakey summit shot. While we laughed our naked bums off, my camera died, and Lindsey and I were stranded in our birthday suits at 14,000 feet as I attempted to change the batteries.

When we finally snapped our first ever naked summit shot, we greeted the Front Range full frontal and gave a wolf-pack howl.

Our free spirits were raging and the Rocky Mountain air whipped through our hair, making it a truly memorable summit.

It turned out to be amazing and so liberating! It was decided everyone needed to experience this type of freedom (this was our first official mtnbabe pic; we of course understand that hundreds and probably thousands of people got mtnbabed before we did, but for all intents and purposes we will start the story with this first official pic).

On the way down, the idea of MtnBabes was born as an inspirational photo blog to promote women in the outdoors. I knew the idea would need time to take, so I contacted my closest mountain friends to help me get the movement going: the MtnBabe Wolfpack. These ladies helped spread the initial word not only by example but by word of mouth.

Over all, I started MtnBabes because I wanted more women to get outside and experience the freedom of a naked mountaintop. But the idea was stimulated by mountain air at 14,000 feet with a good adventure buddy!

What are Mountain Babe’s (MtnBabes) recent accomplishments?

23k followers on Instagram! Plus we are receiving about five submissions a day! The movement is growing. Our international submissions are increasing as well, which is amazing. Our not-so-secret goal is to have all the countries one day: world domination!

Personally, last summer I took three months to climb all 58 of Colorado’s 14-thousand-footers, and got MtnBabed on all of them (a little claim to fame).

How important do you think it is to be outside?

For me it’s the most important thing in my life. I’ve incorporated it into my work and all my free time. Being outside, especially in the mountains, is where I feel the most alive and happy.

What does being outside do for you, and what do you hope it does for others?

It’s where I’m my best self because I can leave behind all the social stigmas of society and let my soul run wild.

I hope that others can feel that freedom too. I hope they can take a moment to look at the world around us and connect to nature (it sounds corny). In some ways we have become so disconnected from the natural world, and it’s so good for us to get outside and step out of our comfort zones (or into our comfort zones, depending on who you are) and just breathe and hike and live.

The purpose of MtnBabes is to inspire rad ladies to get outside and explore. Standing on top of a mountain naked is rare form of freedom that we don’t experience as much as we should. We want girls to feel confident and beautiful in their own skin, but essentially we really just love mountains and want women to get out there.

If taking a mountain babe photo means a group of girls got off the couch, went outside and felt truly alive, then we’ve succeeded. It’s not as much about the MtnBabe photo as it is about the journey/adventure that happened along the way.

What has your inspiration been to keep MtnBabes going? 

At this point it’s the MtnBabes themselves. So many people comment on Instagram or write to us personally to tell us that we’ve inspired them. I love hearing MtnBabe stories and I’m going to try and incorporate that into the social media scene more.

When have you felt the most free?

Every time I’m in the mountains I feel free. But one of the most freeing experiences I’ve ever had is standing on a mountain naked: all your inhibitions are released. It actually can take your breath away. It revives you. Makes you feel alive. If that ain’t freedom, I don’t know what is!

Do you have a favorite MtnBabe pic?

My favorite one will always be the first one I took (main image). It’s on Long’s Peak with my friend Lindsey. It was the day we discovered MtnBabing and the idea just started rolling from there.

Where do you see MtnBabes going?

Oh my gosh! I have had so many big dreams for MtnBabes!

I want to improve the website and would love for it to move beyond the blog aspect. I have a vision of it being an online resource tool for women to use before they go hiking and into the mountains.

I want to have an interactive map where you can click on a country and all these pins will show up referencing where MtnBabes have taken pictures, and then you can click on a pin and it will take you to that picture. From there you could go to a link that gives you a summit post or description of how you can do the hike.

I would love to feature MtnBabes on the site and have them do write ups about advice for other women hikers.

I want to make like a little documentary about women in the mountains.

I would also like to develop some merchandise and sell it through the site.

I’d love to expand our Mountain Alliances and take some corporate outdoor retailers if possible and team up with them. So many options!

Overall, I really just want the movement to continue to progress and keep inspiring more women to get outside!

Has there been any pushback from the internet, etc, because of the nudity? 

Yeah, initially our Instagram and Facebook posts were getting deleted for nudity content. We’ve had to modify what we post now (no full nudies) on social media. I think our Instagram has been deleted seven times. We’ve made it past the one-year mark though, and have our most followers ever, so I’m crossing my fingers.

How can we as a community support you?

Go out and get MtnBabed! Support the movement and spread the mission!

 

Find out how you can be a part of the Mountain Babes here. What are you waiting for? Go outside. Get naked. Feel free.

 

*****

maddiehsBorn and bred in the Colorado Rockies, Maddie Crowell was lucky to grow up in the small mountain town of Telluride. Her parents raised her to love the outdoors, and when they strapped a pair of skis on her feet at the young age of 2, there was no turning back. After high school she moved up to the Great White North and, when not attending classes at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, she explored the Coast Mountains. For Maddie, the mountain lifestyle has not only defined who she has become, but it’s become a part of who she is.

 

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Kristin Diversi
Kristin Diversi is a star-child. She is convinced that she has control over the space time continuum, but she has a hard time remembering to eat breakfast. A unicorn/monkey hybrid, she spends her days hopscotching dreams and moonbeams. After graduating magna cum laude with a BA in History and an MS in Nutrition, she delighted her parents and the student loan companies by deciding to follow her heart and do absolutely nothing related to any of her degrees. Currently pursuing a 500-hour certification, she was a yogini before Yoga was cool. She invented the low back tattoo, as well as second lunch. She is deeply flawed and terribly whimsical. During her downtime, she enjoys slow and juicy yoga, discovering new worlds in the words, traveling to wild places on whims, and stirring the world awake. Dream big. Be bigger. Find her on Facebook.
Kristin Diversi