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April 2023: Ascend News

Master Trainers Arriving in Pakistan

This week, Ascend Master Trainers Taryn McGovern and Camille Fiducia will arrive in Pakistan to launch the training for Ascend’s first Instructor Trainees in Pakistan.

Camille has a long history with Ascend, originally volunteering during several trips to Afghanistan and then becoming the Program Coordinator during evacuation and resettlement. She brings nearly a decade of management experience between the wellness industry and the non-profit sector to the program. She has worked for years to empower and promote the emotional wellbeing of young women through athletics-based leadership. Taryn McGovern is a field instructor and program supervisor at the National Outdoor Leadership School and previously served as the Program Supervisor at Montana Wilderness School. As an outdoor generalist, Taryn is most excited about rock climbing, mountaineering, and sailing. Most recently, she has led expeditions for the National Outdoor Leadership School in the US and Mexico since 2019.

These two Master Trainers will provide on the ground training and oversight of trainees for the spring and summer. At the end of the three-month course, trainees will have basic knowledge of rock climbing, hiking, fitness, Leave No Trace, first aid and wilderness rescue. Those who successfully complete the training will be invited to become apprentices, where they will gain proficiency in climbing and mountaineering related skills while teaching course basics to the first cohort of 30 program participants. The program will contain the five pillars of Ascend’s training methodology, leadership, fitness, well-being, service, and climbing and mountaineering.

Stay tuned for stories and photos from the field!

Hike for Her Event

Join us for the Hike for Her event happening June 3 & 4th at Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, VA (about one hour west of D.C.). The hike begins Sunday, June 4 at 9 am starting and ending at Turner Pond in the park (just off Route 17). You can choose to hike a 5k route; 10k route; a mini-hike (less than 3 miles) or all 23 miles the park has to offer. Decide on the day how far you want to hike, all registration fees are the same and come with a t-shirt! Hike at your own pace, with the other participants or with your team.

Participants are welcome to join us Saturday night June 3 for dinner, drinks, music and camaraderie. Dinner location is a private home near Sky Meadows State Park; the address will be emailed to those who register. Click here to register for the hike and/or dinner. Ascend is honored to have several Ascend Alumnae attending the event as well so don’t miss the chance to hear their stories first hand.

We’re still looking for sponsors for the Hike! If you own a business, or know of a business that would like to connect with a dedicated and amazing group of people, we’d love to highlight those generous partners. Details on sponsorships can be found here.

All proceeds support the programs of Ascend: Leadership Through Athletics in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In The News: Patagonia Film & Article

"I wanted to start climbing to prove to myself that I am powerful mentally and physically." - Mina B., Ascend Alum

Patagonia and writer Lauren Delaunay Miller did an amazing job capturing the spirit of Ascend and its alumnae during a trip to Yosemite last summer. Two women from Yosemite Search & Rescue (YOSAR) Yosemite National Park saw part of their climbing community in need and reached out to provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to alumnae of Ascend: Leadership Through Athletics living in the US.

The beautifully written article and the 20 minute film about this trip gets to the heart of how climbing can change lives and how women supporting women is an unstoppable force.

We are so grateful for the many people who made this trip (and the video and story) a reality.

If you are interested in hosting a screening of the film on behalf of Ascend, please email to learn more.

Alumnae Updates

Rabia H. went on her first backpacking trip. The trip, organized by a club at her university, took students on a six day trip into the Smoky Mountains where they hiked and camped. “I can’t say no to a hiking trip!” she said.

Check out the creative and adorable cake made by Ascend Alumna, Hakima.

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