Three Inspiring Woman Adventurers

Contributed by Katie Levy, Adventure-Inspired

Through the efforts made by pioneering women in the outdoor world, we’re all able to imagine greater possibilities than ever before. In last month’s On Top of the World: Top 5 Most Inspiring Mountain Climbers post, we learned that Anna Elizabeth Dickinson and Junko Tabei made history by pushing societal limits and their own. In the present day, three women in particular are doing a lot these days, both within and outside their outdoor communities to make a difference.

Sarah Hueniken

photo by Ryan Creary, courtesy of Sarah

photo by Ryan Creary, courtesy of Sarah

When it comes to breaking barriers in the vertical world, alpinist Sarah Hueniken is as good as it gets. Sarah’s been in the outdoor industry nearly her whole life, beginning with an Outward Bound course she took when she was 15. She worked as a mountain instructor for NOLS, created a climbing program at St. Lawrence University, and now lives, plays, and works in the climbing mecca that is Canmore, Alberta.

Sarah has several first ascents to her name, including two ice routes in Iceland and one unclimbed peak in Western China (Schacun, 5.10+, M5, 19,570’). She’s also the first North American woman to climb M12, an incredibly challenging mixed (hybrid of rock and ice climbing) route. In an interview on Adventure-Inspired, Sarah explained it’s a great feeling being the first to climb a route, but she’s more driven by the idea of pushing her own limits and achieving her own goals.  Some of her other accolades include CAA Avalanche Operations, Level 2, Wilderness First Responder,  and Leave No Trace Master. She’s also only one of ten women to currently hold ACMG Alpine Guide and Rock Guide certifications in Canada.

When she’s not out setting the standard for women’s mixed climbing, Sarah works as a private alpine guide and as an instructor for Chicks Climbing. Stay up to date on Sarah’s projects at

Majka Burhardt

photo by Travis Horn, courtesy of Majka

photo by Travis Horn, courtesy of Majka

Writer, filmmaker, climber, and guide Majka Burhardt is an inspiration to women and men alike. Some of us dream of traveling the world, exploring unclimbed cliffs, and immersing ourselves in foreign cultures with the goal of making a difference. Majka has accomplished all of that and then some, capturing the hearts and minds of readers worldwide with her eye-opening writings and films. She’s the author of two visually stunning and informative books, Coffee Story: Ethiopia and Vertical Ethiopia, and the Executive Producer of Waypoint Namibia. Her next project, Lost Mountain, will take viewers on an adventure up unknown cliffs and through rainforest habitats in Mozambique.

As if bringing stories of our deep connections to coffee to life, being a globetrotter and conservation champion, and working to bring awareness to famine in Africa wasn’t enough, Majka’s also an accomplished climber and guide. She works with premier guide services like the Colorado Mountain School and Exum Mountain Guides across ice and rock climbing disciplines. Try to keep up with her at

Melissa Arnot – Alpine Climbing and Mountaineering

photo by Katie Levy

photo by Katie Levy

Imagine you’ve climbed Mount Everest five times, been up Mount Rainier 93 times, led two celebrity climbs on Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for clean water access, and co-founded a non-profit to provide life insurance for mountain workers and cover rescue expenses. It’s an incredible list of accomplishments for any person to hope for in a lifetime. Melissa Arnot’s done it all, and all before her 30th birthday.

As the only woman to summit Everest five times, Melissa’s passion for climbing mountains is eclipsed only by her desire to share her experiences on mountains with others. She’s a remote site EMT and wilderness medicine instructor for Remote Medical International, in addition to guiding for Washington-based RMI Expeditions. Learn more about Melissa at

What other amazing ladies are out there making a splash in the outdoor world? Who do you admire? Tell us in the comments!

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