Kasia: A Journey of Self-Love and Giving Back — The AWE Summit Scholarship Foundation

Tell us about your biggest mountaineering ambition or dream! My biggest mountaineering ambition or dream centers around conquering the iconic Half Dome. Yet, as much as I’m drawn to its majestic summit, my journey to reach it is fraught with a deeply ingrained fear of heights.

Every time I set out on a climb or hike, I find myself locked in a silent battle against my own anxieties. The fear of falling, of losing my footing on steep terrain, claws at the edges of my mind, threatening to overwhelm me. Despite my best efforts to push through, there are moments when the weight of my anxiety becomes too much to bear, and I find myself frozen in place, paralyzed by fear.

It’s in these moments of vulnerability that I’m reminded of the enormity of my mountaineering ambition. The thought of scaling Half Dome, with its heights and vertigo-inducing drops, fills me with a potent mixture of excitement and dread. Yet, even as my fears threaten to hold me back, the allure of the summit beckons me forward, urging me to confront my limitations and push beyond my comfort zone.

So, I continue to push myself, one step at a time, knowing that each ascent brings me closer to realizing my mountaineering dream. While the path ahead may be riddled with obstacles and uncertainties, I’m determined to press on, fueled by the hope of standing triumphantly atop Half Dome and proving to myself that even in the face of fear, anything is possible.

What do you hope to learn during your experience as a Summit Scholarship recipient? 

As a Summit Scholarship recipient, there are several things I hope to learn and experience during my journey. Firstly, I aim to find a sense of community, inclusivity, and connection with other nonbinary queer individuals who share my love for the outdoors. Building relationships and fostering a supportive network within this community would be incredibly meaningful to me.

Secondly, I’m eager to expand my skills and knowledge. Whether it’s mastering navigation techniques or honing my wilderness survival skills, I’m excited to soak up as much information as possible and become a more proficient backpacker.

Above all, my priority is to have fun and make lasting memories. The opportunity to explore breathtaking mountains and connect with like-minded individuals is something I cherish deeply. I want to embrace every moment with a spirit of joy and enthusiasm.

Kasia – you’re the first recipient to acknowledge that every single day, you’re inspired by the barriers and obstacles that YOU are overcoming. We love this. Recognizing your own strength and abilities and feeling proud of yourself is one of the most important things in the mountaineering world, but more importantly, life. To follow along with Kasia’a journey, visit our expedition partner, The Venture Out Project, on Instagram or Facebook.  

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