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.
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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