Chicks Climbing & Skiing, a guide company with a passion for community engagement, was established in 1999 with the goal of empowering women to get after ice climbing. Co-owners and guides Kitty Calhoun, Dawn Glanc, Angela Hawse, Elaina Arenz, and Karen Bockel annually run Chicks with Picks, Chicks Rock, and Chicks with Stix, clinics that teach ice climbing, rock climbing, and backcountry skiing. “The mission at Chicks is to empower women through mountain sports, provide a community, and be advocates for the environment,” explains Elaina Arenz.

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Chicks Climbing & Skiing run clinics to bring women together to learn the fundamentals of rock climbing, ice climbing, and backcountry alpine skiing. Ouray, Colorado.

The OutThere Colorado crew met Arenz and Dawn Glanc on a beautiful, chilly January morning in Ouray, Colorado. We climbed to a ledge above the city to film the first segment of mixed climbing with Glanc and Arenz.

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In spite of the exposure on the climb, Dawn Glanc is stoked to be out climbing with the OutThere Colorado crew. Ouray, Colorado.
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Elaina Arenz, co-owner of Chicks Climbing & Skiing, opens her pack to pull out her climbing gear. Ouray, Colorado.

It was obvious to us as Glanc clipped in and began to ascend the wall that the two women had a connection that comes from complete trust in a climbing partner and a true friend.

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Dawn Glanc ascends a rock climb using ice climbing techniques and tools in a style known as mixed climbing. Ouray, Colorado.
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Dawn Glanc reaches for her next hold. Ouray, Colorado.

The Ouray Ice Park and annual Ice Festival are the perfect place to start if you’re interested in ice climbing. Four-story ice walls provide stunning terrain for intermediate and expert climbers and a beginner’s wall above the canyon is the best spot for the beginner clinics run by expert guides.

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Elaina Arenz, guide and co-owner of Chicks Climbing & Skiing, readies her gear for an ice climb at the Ouray Ice Park. Ouray, Colorado.
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Elaina Arenz ascends a route at the Ouray Ice Park. Ouray, Colorado.
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Dawn Glanc scouts her next holds on a wall at the Ouray Ice Park. Ouray, Colorado.

When you love something, the best way to enjoy that activity is to share it with others. Chicks Climbing and Skiing runs over 20 programs between all the ice and rock and alpine ski programs. It gives women an opportunity to get out and learn skills that they wouldn’t necessarily learn with their regular climbing partners.

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Dawn Glanc explains the ice climbing gear to her Intro to Ice Climbing clinic at the Ouray Ice Festival. Ouray, Colorado.
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A group of climbers, including Elaina Arenz of Chicks Climbing & Skiing, pose at the base of a climb at the Ouray Ice Park. Ouray, Colorado.
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OutThere Colorado social media coordinator Spencer McKee smiles big as he reaches the top of his first ice climb at the Ouray Ice Park. Ouray, Colorado.
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The OutThere Colorado team gears up to try ice climbing for the first time at the Ouray Ice Park while filming. Ouray, Colorado.

The Chicks clinics are skill-focused to give women the knowledge they need to get out and be independent and confident climbers. The participants come away with a greater understanding and confidence carries over to other areas in their lives.

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What We Believe

We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More