• Hayden Seder

Wild Woman: For the Love of Climbing Creator Kathy Karlo


Photo by Kat Carney

While the headline for this Q&A lists Kathy’s title as the creator of For the Love of Climbing podcast, she does so much more than that. In 2016, Kathy originally made a film titled For the Love of Climbing which won an award at the No Man’s Land Film Festival of which she is now the Executive Director. In addition to hosting her climbing podcast, Kathy lives on the road, climbing and freelance writing for publications such as Alpinist, Climbing, and Outside.


Where did you grow up and what was your relationship to the outdoors like growing up?

Kathy: I grew up on the east coast and wasn't really introduced to outdoor recreation until my early twenties--after moving to Brooklyn, NY.

Photo by Emily Trombly

Where do you live now and what’s that relationship like now?

Kathy: I live on the road full-time and have been working remotely since 2018. I produce a podcast about choosing vulnerability and travel to interview climbers, but my schedule is largely dictated by climbing. Ultimately, all I have ever wanted to do with my life was something meaningful that impacts people in a powerful way. I'm proud of my work.


How did you get involved with No Man’s Land Film Festival? Why do you think having a female-only adventure film festival is important?

Kathy: In 2016, I directed and helped produce a film about following your passion, rather than chasing joy. Chasing joy implies that happiness is not already there.


For the Love of Climbing was accepted into No Man's Land Film Festival in 2016, and one year later, I became the film festival's first hire.


As women continue to step into the outdoor industry with a sense of passion, drive, and self, NMLFF aims to champion these women with the respect and support they deserve. The film fest has since expanded its platform to be inclusive of transgender and non-gender conforming communities, as well, with the hope that our films and festival can continue to act as a platform for progressive thought and movement.


Photo by Caleb Timmerman

Tell me about starting For the Love of Climbing?

Kathy: Someone once told me: "Climbing doesn't change you. It isn't supposed to be nice or safe or accepting of who you are and your feelings." I disagreed. So, I made a podcast about it. Acknowledging someone else's reality allows people to show up as they really are, which I think is really important in a world where we often pretend that everything is ok when it's not. When we’re transparent about our journey, it empowers others with the courage to speak their truth, too.

What kind of topics do you like to write about for Outside and Climbing? What’s something you’d like to write about but haven’t gotten to yet?

Kathy: I enjoy writing about my own personal experiences as well as topics that promote a vision of diversity and gender equality in the outdoor industry.

When did you start rock climbing?

Kathy: I've been rock climbing since 2011.

Where are your favorite climbing spots/crags?

Kathy: Currently: New River Gorge, Tennessee Wall, Gunks

Photo by Chris Vultaggio

As a fellow small ape indexer, do you have any tips/advice for shorty ladies out there looking to send hard?

Kathy: Being short with a smaller ape index is only a hindrance if you allow it to be. The truth is: while other climbers can simply reach for a hold, you might have to do several more to get to it. I like to think of that as bonus climbing--and it will only make you stronger for it in the end.


What’s your favorite crag snack?

Kathy: Pizza and doughnuts--savory and then sweet. On occasion, I've been known to bring a milkshake to the crag.


#wildwoman #nomanslandfilmfestival #NMLFF #fortheloveofclimbing #outside #climbing #alpinist



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