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.
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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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.
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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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.
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.