Adventures with the Dirt Barbies


Gaby James and Kristen Mulder were climbing a local crag in their native Texas when a great idea landed in their laps. “One of the guys who had been out with us started laughing to himself and called us a couple of Barbies covered in dirt,” James remembers. “After that moment, the wheels started turning, and we gave each other ‘the look.’ We knew we were Dirt Barbies.”

Fast forward to the present and find James and Mulder at the helm of a movement to motivate other women to get outdoors and get climbing—just do a hashtag search for #dirtbarbies on Instagram to see what we mean. In fact, it was through Instagram that James and photographer Jason Gebauer of Main Wall Collective first connected. After bouncing ideas off of each other for the better part of a year, they decided to meet up and create something together. The result is a mini reel the trio filmed together in Colorado that introduces the Dirt Barbies to the world, and all we can say is: World, you’re about to get a little dirtier. Here’s an excerpt from Teva‘s interview with the Barbies:

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Photo courtesy
The Dirt Barbies: Gaby James (left) and Kristen Mulder. Photo courtesy

TEVA: Jason, what did you set out to create with this video?

JASON: For me, I feel that women have always been left out or deemed as not being able to compete on the same level as men. [I wanted to] show that women should not be challenged to a point where they avoid certain activities and to give them motivation that pushes them to climb, hike and summit a mountain.

TEVA: Gaby and Kristen, you both live in Texas. Do you get up to Colorado often? It seems like quite a trek from down south.

GABY: If you give Kristen and me three days off in a row, we will be in a different state. It’s one of our favorite challenges to see how far can we go in 72 hours and still be back for work on time. We visit Colorado frequently; living in San Antonio we’re always looking for the fastest way to the mountains, and we have managed to make it to the Colorado border in only an eight-hour drive.

TEVA: How many hours of filming did you do to get the reel?

JASON: Three full days, usually sunrise to sunset.

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

TEVA: What do you love most about climbing?

GABY: How physical and mental it is. The whole experience is truly humbling; you learn so much about your body and mind and really your whole perspective on life shifts. It just makes you appreciate so much and it can take you to so many beautiful places in the world and [help you] overcome a lot of mental barriers in life.

JASON: The skill, the peace and the challenge of something new on every route.

TEVA: What irks you about it?

GABY: When we can’t get a route that we’re working on—routes get called projects for a reason.

JASON: Finger locks.

TEVA: What do you keep in your climbing bags?

GABY: We always have the Teva Terra Fi Lites, our favorite adventure sandal. GoPros are a must along with the right accessories for the adventure. Goal Zero’s Nomad 7 solar panel, Black Diamond Storm headlamps in case it gets dark, climbing tape, rain gear, a SteriPEN Swiss Army knife, balm, Company Stout strawberry lip balm, a few Cliff bars along with water and snacks, and don’t forget the climbing shoes!

JASON: The classic Teva sandal is always on me in summer, and a lot of camera gear (Nikon and GoPro), as well as climbing gear.