If you haven’t seen The North Face’s new campaign, click on the link above.
“SOME PEOPLE BUILD WALLS.
OTHER PEOPLE CLIMB THEM.
WE’RE DOING BOTH.
We’ve spent 50 years searching for walls to climb because, to us, they offer both challenge and opportunity and they fan the flames of our curiosity. Climbing has taught us to trust, to work together, to create safety in partnership and meaning out of hardship. We see walls as a place to unite our community, so we’re building walls that reflect the world we want to see.”
When I saw this campaign on social media this morning, it impacted me hard enough to write a blog post for two reasons.
As I scrolled through the page dedicated to this new campaign, it struck me that no matter who we are, we have walls in our lives. Sometimes they’re little garden walls, other times they’re maximum security prison type walls, but walls of all kinds exist in our lives. These walls are built by society, by our haters and sometimes even those that love us. These walls are more often than not, built by us (or if not built entirely, then heightened, razor-wire-added as our self-doubts pile on.)
I’m sure if you thought about it, there’s several walls present in your life right now. Maybe its the color of your skin or your gender making you feel like you can’t chase a job opportunity. Maybe its the number in your bank account or the people who depend on you making you feel like you can’t chase a dream. Hell, maybe its even the people in Washington D.C. making you feel like there’s something you can’t do.
As a climber, I look at a rock, a mountain or a fence keeping me out of a superb photo shoot location and think, “I should climb that.” If you’re not a climber, you might not get these crazy urges, but crazy as they may be, the views from the top, the feeling of accomplishment, the other side is always worth it.
If I’m willing to climb the physical walls that try to keep me on the ground, then what’s stopping me from climbing those metaphorical walls?
Walls, my friends, are meant to be climbed. It will be hard. You might bleed, or fall. There might be moves that have you screaming in frustration. But the top? The top is so worth it.
Once I pulled myself back on track and started scrolling farther down the page, I got this warm feeling in the pit of my stomach. I am so freakin’ proud of the outdoor community. Brands like The North Face could opt out of politics, of current events, and just sell outdoor gear and nobody would care. They have chosen instead to take a risk and stand for what they believe in. They are standing for inclusiveness, for protecting the environment and have spoken out against the current administration when its actions have challenged their beliefs. Working in Marketing, I see these stances and campaigns and I see the dollars that I am sure they have lost because of it.
I have so much admiration for The North Face for this campaign and sponsoring Protect Our Public Lands – An Open Letter. REI works hard to include women in the outdoor community and support public lands. Outdoor Research, Prana, Patagonia, Arc’teryx, Backcountry, Columbia, Dakine and so many more have actively taken a stand to protect public lands and promote inclusiveness in the outdoor world. In 2017, that has meant taking a stand against our government.
These brands have won my heart and my business. The North Face Walls campaign is donating a million dollars to the Trust for Public Lands, sponsoring a free global day of climbing on August 19 and donating $50K to Paradox Sports to make climbing accessible to those with disabilities.
The great outdoors is a place where walls should be climbed, whether they are literal or figurative.
I want to hear what your walls are! Comment below and pledge to climb them with me and stop building new ones.
Thank you North Face, for inspiring people everywhere.