Episode 111: When Your Path Finds You – Sam Ortiz

Episode 111: When Your Path Finds You

Interview with Sam Ortiz

Sponsored by Merrell

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Sam Ortiz has gone from a beginner to a hiker to a climber to a mountaineer to a plus-size outdoor model in under five years. Her progression has happened in part due to curiosity, timely mentors, and the best kind of fear: the kind you move up and over, only to end up a little bit changed on the other side.

In this episode, we talk about how despite a fear of heights, Sam learned more methods of climbing in order to get better and better access to beautiful places. Now, she’s using her voice to make the outdoors more accessible for others, too, by advocating for more plus-size apparel and climbing harnesses, organizing climbing meetups and being the outdoor role model she always needed to see. She told us that her path found her, it wasn’t until she started looking back that she began to put together her story.

Banner image courtesty of Sam Ortiz

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Featured in this episode: Sam Ortiz

Hosted by Gale Straub

Music is by Liam McNally

Music is also by Lee Rosevere using CC by A license. 

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • How Sam didn’t necessarily feel like the outdoors and climbing were for her growing up, but how she found herself drawn to them anyway
  • How an outdoor mentor helped Sam navigate new activities when she worked for Americorps in Alaska
  • Why climbing Mount Juneau in Alaska taught her she could “do hard things” and opened the door to learning new outdoor activities like climbing and mountaineering
  • How fear has been a positive (for the most part) driver in Sam’s life
  • That Sam lacked role models growing up as a plus-size, Latinx woman and why she’s determined to change that for others
  • How finding her voice as a climber and mountaineer has created many unexpected opportunities, including being an outdoor model for brands like REI and Eddie Bauer
  • Why being closer to outdoor brands has made her want to speak out for more and better plus size apparel and equipment
  • What it’s like being an INFJ when you’re connecting with so many people
  • Why Sam loves seeing other plus size women on the trail
  • Who have been Sam’s role models in her advocacy work

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor Websites & Promotions


Sam in her Element

Ready to go

Jumping over a crevasse

Sam’s plus-size climbing meetup!

A special kind of focus

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  1. […] to a hiker to a climber to a mountaineer to a plus-size outdoor model in under five years. The SheExplores podcast, REI’s blog, and Outside online featured Sam. She’s also written numermous articles for […]

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