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Sara Phillips and Pam Hurley participate in a Women's Wilderness Institute course at Rocky Mountain National Park.
Sara Phillips and Pam Hurley participate in a Women’s Wilderness Institute course at Rocky Mountain National Park.
If you go

What: Gear and Cheer, benefiting the Women’s Wilderness Institute

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Spot, 3240 Prairie Ave., Boulder

More info:

If part of your spring cleaning process involves getting rid of old gear, restocking at Gear and Cheer might bring you some, well, cheer.

The eighth annual Gear and Cheer, a fundraiser for the Boulder-based Women’s Wilderness Institute, will be held Saturday evening at The Spot climbing gym. Though there’s food, drink and entertainment at the event, the silent auction for outdoor gear of all types — from bicycles to clothing to backpacks — is the meat of the evening festivities for the nonprofit.

Tali Koziol, a Women’s Wilderness Institute board member and organizer of Gear and Cheer, said this event is probably the group’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Much of what they raise goes toward scholarships for their programs for girls and women, which are designed to “focus a lot on leadership and adventure, and developing skills and strength to find their own individual strength through the wilderness,” she said.

“We’re really fortunate that we’ve never had to turn anyone away from our programs,” Koziol said.

She added that scholarships are often important for low-income participants, and cancer survivors and domestic violence victims who attend the institute’s recovery retreats.

Gear, or lack thereof, should never stop a woman from attending one of her trips, which range from wilderness yoga, backpacking, climbing and mountain biking, she said.

“All of our trips are inclusive of all of the gear, the meals,” Koziol said. “We provide everything, from sleeping bags to proper clothing and footwear.”

This year’s event is at The Spot bouldering gym, which has conveniently high ceilings for the evening entertainment — an aerial dance performance by Boulder’s Frequent Flyers Productions.

Koziol said having a Women’s Wilderness Institute event at a climbing gym is appropriate.

“We really wanted something that reflected who our core audience is and who supports us,” she said. “This event has never been a fancy event, people feel comfortable coming dressed up, but they feel comfortable in jeans, too.”

There are 150 items in the auction, Koziol said, from Prana to Patagonia, but it’s not all gear.

“The gear names are what we publicize, because it is ‘Gear and Cheer,’ but the majority of our auction items are from local stores, local artists,” she said.

Marily MacDonald, marketing coordinator for Outdoor Divas, said the Colorado retailer has been involved with the institute for years. For this year’s Gear and Cheer, Outdoor Divas donated a snowboarding jacket and pants for the auction.

“We refer a lot of people to them,” MacDonald said. “A lot of people will get their first pair of hiking boots from us, and they’re like, ‘OK what do I do with this?'”

MacDonald said the institute and Outdoor Divas have a similar mission.

“We’re both promoting fun and great things for women, the camaraderie, the whole lifestyle. We’re on the same page — the biggest smile wins kind of mentality.”