The Alpinist: Melissa Arnot Reid
In 2005, at the end of Melissa Arnot Reid’s first month working as a guide for Rainier Mountaineering, the 21-year-old walked into her boss’s office to quit.
That month offered both an introduction to guiding—she was leading clients to Mount Rainier’s 14,410-foot summit—and to the misogyny that’s present for many women working in male-dominated fields.
There was the client who wouldn’t call her by name, instead referring to her as “Hotcakes,” and the climbers who refused to be on her rope team because she was a woman. “I felt phenomenally disrespected,” she says. “I went to my boss”—RMI operations manager Jeff Martin— “and told him, ‘I don’t know if this is for me.’ He encouraged me to stick it out, that it would get better. He was right.”