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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Breast cancer, biosociality, and wilderness therapy: the practice of remaking selfhood in mountain climbing

  • Author(s): Collins, Lindsey
  • et al.

I became interested in mountaineering culture when I noticed that there seemed to be an infatuation with emaciated, damaged bodies, and that psychic rejuvenation came through physical destruction. This led me to think about a phenomenon I’m calling women’s recovery climbing. Why do women survivors of cancer or sexual violence, with “damaged,” “unhealthy” bodies seek out this punishing, life-threatening sport? And why is this happening mostly with women, as groups, when men continue to climb as individuals?

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