Sam Ortiz (she/her) is a plus size, Latinx, rock climber, mountaineer, and adventure photographer based in WA state. Sam is the founder of Climb Big, a group she started to make climbing more accessible to fat folx after struggling to find a place in the outdoors, herself.
Sam hosts meet-ups with other female and non-binary plus size folx to offer a safer space to share her outdoor skills and discuss tips on finding gear for plus size bodies.
Sam has done plus size modelling for outdoor brands like REI, Eddie Bauer, and Alder Apparel.
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out.
The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast.
Listen to Sam Now!
Click here if you can't see the link below.
Who is Sam and where she is based
Growing up in Kentucky
Growing up with 2 older sisters
Growing up near the Red River Gorge
Not feeling welcome in the outdoors
Finding her footing in the outdoor world
Not seeing people who looked like her
Her dreams as a little girl
Getting into photography through high school
Being drawn to the outdoors
Trying to figure out her place in the outdoor
Applying for AmeriCorps
Going to Juneau, Alaska
Being surrounded by nature
Giving herself permission to be person she thought she could be
Proving to herself that she could do hard things
Deciding to try and climb the mountain
Being ok with failing and knowing that she can come back and try again
How her journey in rock climbing started
The importance of having fun
Deciding to sign up to the AmeriCorps program
Graduating college and knowing what she didn’t want to do
Signing an 11 month contract
Climbing her first mountain and what it meant
The next step in her journey
Moving to Washington State
Choosing to do another year of AmeriCorps
Her love affair with the outdoors
Lessons learned from the outdoors that have been applied to everyday life
Learning and developing new skills for the outdoors
The power of having a mentor
Being an Ambassador for Pacific Northwest Outdoor Women
Starting to host meet ups for Climb Big
The issues with gear for plus size/fat climbers
Wanting to show other women that their body is capable
Breaking down the barriers for fat and plus-sized people in getting outside
Bennett Rahn - @bennettrahn
Dr Meghan Banker @pdxoutdoorchiro
Dreams and goals for Climb Big
Being inspired by Mirna Valerio - @themirnavator
Jenny Bruso - white queer fat femme writer & hiker taking body liberation outdoors. @jennybruso
Unlikely Hikers - A diverse outdoor community, hiking group & podcast for the underrepresented hiker @unlikelyhikers
Asking companies for gear that they are not making
Creating a Climb Big Community on Facebook
Final words of advice from Sam
“You are allowed to take up space, you are allowed to go at your own pace, you are allowed to do something and to really make it your own, even if you don’t see anyone else who looks like you doing it. That there is such beauty in deciding that you want to do something and going after it. And you are allowed to do that, you are allowed to try, and you are allowed to fail while you do it as well. You don’t always have to succeed and that’s ok. You’re allowed to fail and to try again, and try again. And it doesn't mean that you, aren’t good enough and you are not worthy, it just means you are a beginner and it’s ok to be a beginner, so you are allowed to fail.”
Find Sam on Instagram @SamOrtizPhoto
At Climb Big, we’re interested in making rock climbing and the outdoors more accessible to fat folx.
The barriers for plus size adventurers are huge, including a lack of representation and access, not to mention an incredibly limited selection of the gear and clothing that are necessary for safety in the outdoors.
Climb Big Website - www.climbbig.org
Find Climb Big on Instagram @Climb.Big
Join the Climb Big Community group on Facebook www.facebook.com/groups/climbbig
Feeling inspired week after week?
You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!
Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode
If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!
Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love.
Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!
Want to do more?
Please become a Patron and donate US$5 a month to help fund the runnings costs. Thank you.