Chicks Climbing and Skiing Raises $4,800 for SheJumps

Bidding at the annual Chicks Auction

Real Social: Good times at Chicks Auction

“Thank you, thank you, thank you. We are so honored.”
Claire Smallwood, Director of SheJumps

Chicks Climbing and Skiing is made strong through support, community and the core value of giving back.

On Jan 6, 2018, the 19th Annual Chicks Climbing and Skiing Fundraiser raised $4,800 for SheJumps, an organization with the mission to increase the participation of women and girls in outdoor activities.

As usual, the evening began with socializing. To keep us hydrated, Ouray Brewery served beer and KJ Wood Distillers made stiff drinks.

Next came our signature and raucous Chicks live auction of sponsor-donated gear, followed with films presented by NoMansLand film festival. Of course, Mixtress, produced by Chicks co-owner, Dawn Glanc, about the coming of age of women mixed climbers, was our favorite.

For almost 2 decades Chicks events have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for women’s shelters, the Ouray Ice Park, and, now, SheJumps.

We are very proud of and grateful for our community. Together with our sponsors, our Chicks family, and all of our climbing friends who’ve joined us over the years to mingle, be entertained and to throw down for great climbing gear, we have raised over $230,000!

Are You Avalanche Aware?

Avalanche ClassHappy 2018 everybody! I’m so excited. It’s snowing.

As I watch the flakes come down, I feel a wave of joy. I want to run and shout, build a snowman, throw a covert snowball, and GO SKIING!

When I was a kid I dreamed of being a downhill ski racer, flying down mountain slopes. I was fearless and strong. Gravity was my best friend.

I chased my ski-racing dreams from North Carolina to the University of Vermont, home of many ski Olympians. But after a few years of over-crowded ski areas, I escaped to the backcountry where I found ice and alpine climbing. That’s when I discovered the pure joys of winter, where I feel the most at home in this world. I finished university six months early (so I could get on to what was really important!), moved into “Camp Subaru” and headed West.

A few weeks later I found myself with my newfound mentor, Lyle Dean.

Lyle and I were on skis approaching Liberty Ridge on Mt. Rainer when a thick fog rolled in and Lyle said, “We need to stop.”

I said, “Why?” We weren’t near our intended camp.

“It’s dangerous to travel in a whiteout.”

Suddenly, there was a loud BOOM—and I was falling.

Everything went white and silent.

I remembered from the avalanche class I’d taken from Rob Newcomb, that I should

SWIM. And, once the snow started to settle I should
MAKE A SPACE FOR YOUR FACE, and
RAISE YOUR OTHER ARM so it might stick out of the snow.

I kicked my skis off, let go of my poles, and swam hard.

Finally, everything stopped. Both Lyle and I ended up OK and on top of the cement-hard snow.

It turns out that we’d been standing on a cornice. The cornice gave way under our weight, and the force of us hitting the slope below started an avalanche.

They say that failure offers an enormous opportunity for learning and that good judgment comes from surviving mistakes. While that may be true (as long as you get back in one piece!), I’ve learned many things from mentors, partners and the courses and classes I’ve taken over the years.

So, I want you to do two things:

1) Click the link (Know Before You Go), watch the video, and share with all your backcountry partners
2) Take an avalanche course

Take a Chicks Avalanche course!

Chicks and the Silverton Avalanche School have partnered to create all-women’s avalanche courses taught by the most bad-ass, knowledgeable and expert women in the industry.

In December, despite no snow, the partnership launched with three super successful one-day Avalanche Rescue Courses. Check out Angela’s trip report to find out how in the heck you practice Avalanche Rescue with NO SNOW?

Also, Chicks is offering Avalanche Rescue and Safety for Ice Climbers and an AIARE Recreational Level 1 course.  If you want to spend a day learning backcountry ski skills or making the transition from downhill to backcountry, join us on our Intro to Backcountry Skills course; If you want to combine turns with avalanche education while staying in a ski hut (so much fun!), we would love to have you on our Intro to Backcountry Skiing and Riding Hut Clinic; And, if you’ve got the experience and mojo for black runs in the backcountry, join us in La Grave, France for Intro to Ski Mountaineering with 7,000′ couloirs and epic fondue!

Lastly, don’t miss the opportunity to sign up for the Subaru Chicks Jiffy Ice Climbing Scholarship, Feb 2-4, 2018.  Check the guidelines for deadline http://www.subaruadventureteam.com/home/womens-ice-climbing-clinic-contest

Hope to see you soon—and look out for snowballs!

Kitty Calhoun

Inspiring Women Meet the first person to ski the seven summits

Kit DeslauriersKit Deslauriers is the first person to ski the seven summits, a The North Face athlete, and amazing ski mountaineer. I caught up with her the other day and here is what she had to say.
1) Tell us a bit about yourself: Where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what life is like now, what’s important to you?
I’m a skier, and really a mountain lover of all sorts, with a deep love for backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. I’ve been a member of The North Face athlete team since 2005 (?!) and lived in Teton Village, WY since 2000.  In 2006 I skied off the top of Mt. Everest which was the last mountain in my project to be the first person to ski the Seven Summits but I’ve also skied from some much more obscure peaks, like Mt. Aspiring in New Zealand and Mt. Belukha in Siberia which was where I met my husband, Rob.  Now we [sic] are raising our two daughters to have a profound (we hope!) appreciation for the natural world while also letting them be their own unique selves.  It’s important to me that kids these days have a sense of feeling comfortable and welcome in the outdoor world, this should always feel like their home.
2) It’s November, and there is already a couple feet of snow on the ground in the Tetons.  After so many winters and summers of skiing, do you still get excited for skiing when the snow starts to fly?
I LOVE TO SKI!  Although I will say that my approach to early season skiing was tempered many years ago by snapping a ski pole on a buried tree in the steep woods above my former home in Ophir, CO which made me realize that it just as easily could have been my tib/fib at no fault of my own.  So in the early month or so of late autumn skiing, I tend to focus on ski fitness, elk hunting, and even a family trip to the beach where I keep up on my beginning intermediate surf skills. Then I hit the skiing with passion around the 1st of December and I’m reminded how much I love skiing more than anything else!  I keep this feeling straight through mid-June as I love climbing and skiing the high peaks in spring conditions as much as I love powder skiing.
3) How do you prepare for the ski season? Do you use a gear checklist for your first outings?
A physical checklist for my first ski outings of the season would be a good idea, but these days I just have it in my head. My habit of packing the night before does help though. I never go out without a first aid kit and part of my every other year preparation is to recertify my Wilderness First Responder in October or November so I did that about a month ago.  It’s my strong belief that we should all be able to step up in the case of an emergency.  I also practice with my beacon and even if I didn’t ski during the first storms of the season, I was diligently studying the snowpack and making observations that I’ll be able to recall throughout the year.
4) What are your strategies for skiing early season?
My strategies for early season skiing revolve around safety and conservative decision making. It honestly takes me a bit to get re-familiarized with my comfort level in the risk assessment process of backcountry skiing so I will head out for low hanging fruit first to get my systems back in place. Also, I don’t hold back on training just because it’s ski season.  Since I’m cautious early on, I’m usually not throwing myself into long days so I need to keep upping my fitness level until I get into that full on winter mode when it largely takes care of itself.  Core fitness is my personal love lately, as I’ve been learning to go uphill from my glutes and abs which takes fatigue off from quads and hip flexors.  Some of these tricks we have to figure out as we get older!
5) How do you stay sharp and make good decisions in avalanche terrain?
I literally make notes to myself in my calendar to study my snow science since otherwise I wouldn’t do it. One of the things I love most about making decisions in avalanche terrain is how it puts me in touch with honest, open communication and reminds me of my humility. I get scared of wind, for instance, as I’ve had a bad experience with how it can quickly form a slab avalanche so I pay careful attention to the recent direction of wind, amount of wind, and am comfortable backing away from that hazard when I see it. Last spring I was up and out the door at 3 am many mornings, but we didn’t have great freezing temps overnight in the Tetons so the snowpack didn’t have the stability I wanted and I often just went back to bed. It’s important to know your comfort level and then have metrics to gauge it against.  Of course, it’s also important not to give in to the ‘monkey mind’ if it’s not a realistic concern. That translates to going for big objectives whenever they line up!
 
6) What advise do you have for women skiers and riders new to the backcountry?
Get training and experience and then be compassionate with yourself as it’s a process.  If you really love it like I do, then the backcountry is a lifelong friend and you should treat it as such.  Sometimes you and that friend will go on a really long expedition together, but more often than not it’s a quick lunch date or coffee break and those moments nurture your relationship, too.  We all have the ability to become really good at the things we love.

Opening Up

Funny how the Thanksgiving season is followed by Christmas. During Thanksgiving we are to take notice of all that we are to be thankful for and one of the greatest gifts we have is each other.  So on Christmas, we demonstrate that appreciation and love with gifts.  This is a reaffirming occasion since much of the time we can become focused on protecting ourselves.  In our busy lives we tend to concentrate on what we need to do to make sure we get done what we need to do by a certain time.  Others either help us or they hinder us. The ego gets fed and the journey is forgotten.  At least that’s what happens to me, as I wrote in my blog for Subaru, “Dropping the Ego

Arno Ilgner, in his book, The Warriors Way, discusses how ego gets in the way of the climbing experience.  “For most of us, when it comes to meeting challenges, our own worst enemy is ourselves.  Our self-image and our self-worth are far too wrapped up in achievements.  Ego controls much of our behavior.  We constantly act out of fear and avoidance, rather than out of the love of challenge or of climbing itself.  Our mental habits raise unnecessary barriers and often, unconsciously, drain the vitality from our performances.”

At Chicks, we recognize the importance of awareness in climbing and skiing and believe that our women’s environment is a place that is supportive, yet asks each participant to push their comfort zones rather than protect the ego.  I think one of the greatest gifts that climbing continuously gives me is the humbling experience that it often is – and at the same time I gain confidence.  Sharing this with my belayer or teammate, where I have to open up and let down my guard, or ego, is an experience that I rarely get in my every day life.

The Journey to IFMGA Certification

Do you sometimes wonder which fork in the road led you down this wild and precious path you’re on?

Karen Bockel IFMGA

When I was a kid, I wanted to become either a Nobel-Prize winning Physicist working at CERN in Geneva or a Certifed Mountain Guide. The latter seemed so far-fetched and impossible – my only connection to the mountains was the countless hours I spent in my hometown library pouring over coffee table books of Reinhold Messner climbing the 8,000m peaks, that I stuck with Physics.

I studied atomic and laser physics and spent most of my graduate school days and nights inside a lab.  The black blinds shut out any stray light, and any sign of life or weather outside.  I spent the daytime hours tuning the lasers and solving page-long differential equations, and the nighttime hours, when everyone else and their perturbations had left the building, running experiments.  Laser cooling of atoms, Rubidium atoms to be precise, was my project, and it required a lot of planning, calculating and designing to eventually create a vacuum system containing a cloud of atoms in the crosshairs of 3 perpendicular laser beams. When everything lined up one fine day, a few weeks after having passed my Master’s thesis, the diode laser measuring the atom cloud’s temperature finally produced the expected signal, and the pale image of my Rubidium atom cloud hovered there, suspended in space, at a temperature of a few microKelvin.

Not long afterwards, I realized that, while I loved the research and academia, I missed the outside more, and something had to change.

After sneaking away for several trips into the mountains, I finally told my advisers that I was headed for the hills for good. I moved to a little mountain town in Southwest Colorado, learned to ski on leather boots and tele gear, worked as a carpenter, and spent most of the next few years either above treeline or on some rock wall, exploring all the beautiful San Juans had to offer.

I started ski patrolling and traveling to ski in far away places. I planned and took part in an expedition to ski Denali with three other women, and through two of my teammates got introduced to expedition guiding. I was intrigued. My neighbors owned Mountain Trip, a company guiding the 7 summits, and I timidly asked if I could hire on as an apprentice.  They took me on, and the next summer I found myself back in Alaska. Under the tutelage of Dave Staeheli, who when I asked him to teach me, basically provided me and the other co-guides (and even all our clients) with an entire alpine course while slowly climbing our way up the West Buttress. We got caught in a major storm at High Camp, leaving us stranded at 17,000’ for 8 days, before we fought our way back down to more livable places. It took perseverance, teamwork, and skill to get the teams down safely. The hard work of expedition guiding felt good.  I was hooked.  I was finally on my path toward this old, nearly forgotten childhood dream of becoming a mountain guide.

Karen Bockel IFMGA

The following fall, Mountain Trip offered a contract AMGA Rock Instructor course to their lead guides taught by Angela Hawse and Vince Anderson, and I, the rookie, somehow got in. I frantically tried to find some climbing partners to get ready for the course, but most my friends were runners and bikers. Nonetheless, I showed up on the first day, eyes wide open. It was great.

I’ll never forget that moment of Angela telling me when I was short pitching, braced behind a small boulder “that rock is not strong enough to hold us if we fall – look for a better solution, keep it real.”  I got that one, not just for right there, but for life!

I also remember that she taught us a ‘munter pop’ maneuver to get two clients safely established on a single rope lower – she might as well have spoken Chinese.  Mostly, though, the guiding instruction and climbing were really informative, fun, and inspiring, and I felt at home on the rock and on the rope. In the evaluations, Vince told me I had mountain sense, the ultimate compliment. I’ve had a chip on my shoulder about that ever since.  Needless to say – I’d found my path with the encouragement from these two extraordinary mountain guides.

Fast forward seven years, many vertical feet, footsteps, rope lengths and a couple knee surgeries later, and I found myself tied to my examiner and a co-candidate, breaking trail up the Quien Sabe Glacier of the Boston Basin in the heart of the North Cascades. We are on our last two days of the alpine exam, my final AMGA program on the path to IFMGA certification. It is only fitting that I finish the alpine track last, the queen discipline that combines the worlds of skiing and climbing, the one with the most tradition, the one I dreamt of as a kid. The moments of sunshine from earlier have given way to dense clouds, crevasses and handrails have disappeared into the mist, and I can see nothing, and yet somehow I see everything.  Years of training, experience and guiding days come together. I find the top of the glacier, lead the rope across the moat and climb onto the ridge above. We keep going into the clouds, in the cold wind, a fresh foot of snow covering the rocks. As we move together, chilled to the core, precariously but perfectly counterbalanced on the ridge, the sentiment I felt on Denali years prior returns: we are at home in the mountains.  For me, the exam finished on a high note in a wild and amazing place. I couldn’t have been more stoked.

It’s been an amazing path, and I have been lucky to share the rope with great friends, co-guides, mentors, and clients.  I have also been lucky to work for a number of great guide services.  I am thankful for every moment (except maybe the many hours on the trail down from the Grand Teton). In particular, I want to thank my Chicks Co-Owners for our partnership and friendship.

  • Angela Hawse for encouraging me at the start and always having my back
  • Bill and Todd at Mountain Trip for opening the door to the guiding world
  • Kitty Calhoun for climbing El Cap and becoming friends along the way
  • Dan Starr for letting me tell him all my guiding reflections and for practicing rope tricks in the garage
  • The Telluride Ski Patrol for the best early morning ski runs and letting me stick my head into the snow
  • Eric Larson for being there for me in spite of telling me not to become a guide
  • Emilie Drinkwater for an amazing climbing trip to the Alps
  • Larry Goldie for turning me loose in the Cascades
  • Thomas Olson at Howard Head Sports Medicine for getting me back onto two legs
  • And for my family who allowed me to take the fork less travelled.

Iceland Sailboat Skiing

iceland sailboat skiingI’ll never forget the moment I first laid eyes on the Aurora Arktika, Captain’s Siggi’s beautiful, modern but historic merchant Dutch style sailboat, anchored in the harbor of Isafjordur.  It’s two masts swayed gently above the wooden deck and the red and black painted hull.  Two small hatch doors were open to the area under deck and up came Captain Siggi to greet us and load our skis and gear onboard. 

We started by sailing across the waters to the Hornstandir Natural Reserve, a beautiful, remote mountain area where snow covered slopes lead directly to the fjords below.   Yearning to explore, we set anchor in a small fjord, caught a ride in the zodiac to shore and began to skin up perfect spring snow into the mountains.  We headed for a high pass that would connect to the basin on the far side, planning to meet the ship after Siggi would sail around the rugged coast to meet us.  Clouds had formed at that moment, and Siggi called us on the radio to make sure we were up for the adventure.  Of course we were, unable to resist the curiosity of wanting to see the other side of the mountains.  We gained the pass after a couple hours of skinning uphill, climbing over a few rocks near the top, and were greeted with stunning scenery and a long, winding ski run down a large alpine basin, carving turns past waterfalls and cliff bands.  Far below in the fjord, we could see the Aurora anchored.  Siggi picked us up from shore and once back on the sailboat we dug into a big dinner of fresh fish and stew.  Content and happy, we relaxed in the cozy dining area below deck.  The Aurora felt so welcoming and comfortable, that it did not take long to call the boat our home. 

For the next six days, we skied.  We explored anything from big open slopes to enticing couloirs, climbed up to high peaks and passes, and anchored in a different fjord each night.  Even during a couple days of mediocre weather, we were able to get out and enjoy good snow.  We took sea kayaks and paddle boards out on the water to watch seals play, we hunted for mussels, and we sat on deck with a glass of wine enjoying the purple midnight sky of the long Nordic spring days.  We felt like pioneers.  Sailboat skiing in Iceland was an unforgettable experience.

Why Choose Chicks?

On the fence about attending a clinic this winter? We sat down with Chicks Co-Owner and Guide to get her insight on what makes Chicks unique.

The Ouray Ice Park. Photo by: Bill Grasse.

The Ouray Ice Park. Photo by: Bill Grasse.

Chicks started in 1999 with a vision to help women experience ice climbing, and like a fine wine we have aged and matured over time. Our vision is unchanged: We want to empower women through mountain sports. On rock, ice and snow, we are committed to teaching women to take the lead in the outdoors and in life.

Chicks offers a very unique experience that is often imitated but never duplicated. We provide a supportive atmosphere which creates a positive learning environment. We feel strongly that through education and skill development, we can create a community of confident women who are independent leaders in climbing and skiing.

Why choose Chicks?

  1. All Levels are welcome. We operate in the Ouray Ice Park, home to 200 ice climbing routes of varying grades. It’s the perfect venue to learn how to ice climb for the first time or advance your skills. We offer 4 levels of instruction offer a progression of skills, so you will be paired up with others of your same experience and goals. Choose from The Jiffy (2 day), The Sampler (3 day) or The Complete (4 day) day programs.
  2. We will dress you warmly from head to toe. Patagonia and Outdoor Research provide clothing for you to demo at no extra cost. You can show up in your street clothes, and we can outfit you for climbing.
  3. We provide all of the technical ice gear. Petzl, Black Diamond and Camp all supply tools, crampons, helmets and harnesses for you to use at no extra cost. La Sportiva, Asolo and Scarpa provide boots for you to demo too. This is your opportunity to try the sport and all the newest gear on the market and you don’t have to buy a ton of new gear to sign up.
  4. Ouray, Colorado is a picture perfect town located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains.

    Ouray, Colorado is a picture perfect town located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains.

    Delicious meals and cozy lodging. Our evening meals are catered at the Secret Garden B&B. You will be taken on a world culinary tour each evening, starting out with soup to warm your bones, a main course and dessert. At night, you’ll rest your head at the Victorian Inn, located walking distance to the Ouray Ice Park.

  5. Experienced Guides. The Chicks guides are the best women ice climbing guides in the field. Each guide is educated, experienced and reputable. You’ll enjoy getting to know each of them and they are sure to inspire you.
  6. Community of women. The all female environment is supportive and encouraging. Allowing each woman to excel and break through barriers. You’ll be sure to make new friends and connect with other Chicks Alumni. Many women walk away with new climbing partners for future adventures.


Our Goal at Chicks Climbing and Skiing is to help you become confident, competent and independent on the ice (rock and snow). So what are you waiting for? No more excuses. Sign up for a Chicks program today and join us in Ouray.

Avoiding a Ground Fall & DIY Stick Clip

Written by: Dawn Glanc

Bolts. They are the protection that make face climbing possible. However, the first bolt is often placed higher than you may feel comfortable climbing to unprotected. A high first bolt can result in a ground fall if you fail to clip it.  The consequences can be so high, that a climber may decide to retreat from the route. There is no need to be reckless at the crag – use a stick clip to help you mitigate the risk of a ground fall!  Here is a quick stick clip recipe to help you send those beautiful routes that have high first bolt placement.

How to make a stick clip:

 

StickClip1

Ingredients:
1 extendable painter’s pole
1 spring clamp
2 hose clamps
Various stickers are optional

Tools needed:
Flat head screwdriver

Step 1:

Slide hose clamps onto the painter’s pole (do not tighten yet).

StickClipStep1

Step 2:

Slide spring clamp onto pole, trapping an “arm” of the spring clamp into the hose clamps.

StickClipStep2

Step 3:

Tighten hose clamps with the screwdriver to secure the spring clamp. Alternate tightening each hose clamp to be sure you make the hose clamps as tight as possible. Decorate handle of pole with stickers if you so choose.

StickClipStep3

How to Use the Stick Clip:

Step 1:

Insert top carabiner of the quickdraw into the spring clamp. Use spring clamp to hold the top carabiner of the quickdraw open. Clip the rope with a big loop of slack into the bottom carabiner on the quickdraw.

StickClipUse1

Step 2:

Extend the pole. With patience and grace, hook the bolt with the carabiner.

StickClipUse2b

When the quickdraw is secure to the bolt, pull down on the stick clip with force to free the spring clamp of the quickdraw.

Once the carabiner is hooked, pull down on the stick clip to pull the quickdraw from the spring clamp. The first bolt is now clipped and you are ready to climb!

StickClipUse3

Dawn Glanc is a co-owner and a guide for Chicks Climbing and Skiing. Dawn has been climbing rock and ice for nearly 20 years. When she is not working you can find Dawn out climbing with friends. She loves sport climbing and considers herself a cragger at heart. “I have been using a stick clip for years,” says Dawn. “Sport climbing is meant to be fun, there is no need to risk a ground fall.  You can use this ‘stick clip’ trick to help keep yourself safe whether you are rock climbing or mixed climbing.”

Dawn and the other guides will be hosting a variety of rock clinics this fall in some of the premier climbing areas in the U.S. Look for Chicks in the Red River Gorge, Keene Valley, Red Rocks and Rifle. Beginner to advanced climbers are welcome. Don’t miss your chance to learn new skills and techniques from some of the best female guides in the industry.

The Evolution of Dreams

As many of you know, when Head Chick Kim Reynolds takes off her helmet, harness and crampons, she is a Certified Life Coach.  She recently wrote the below article which started my wheels turning, so I thought you all would enjoy as well.

prayer flagsThe information highway is ever-expanding and there seems to be no limit to the material available on the internet.  My friends and family often send me links to articles they think will pique my interest, and I even still get an occasional newspaper article in the mail from my dad. Recently, I received a blog post called “10 Habits of People Who Follow Their Dreams,” and since I want to be intentional about this next phase of my life, I decided to review the column in hopes of insight and inspiration.

I read the 10 statements and it was easy to agree with all of them. However, I noticed the scale was tipped toward the twenty- to thirty-year-old perspective. It is clear that as I evolve, so do my dreams and my approach to them. This particular article is anchored in personal achievements and getting somewhere, that lively conquer-the-world kind of spirit. I appreciate this type of tenacity, yet I am simply observing that I just don’t have that same edge anymore. Over time my edge has softened and my approach to the world has naturally morphed into something new. I don’t want to conquer anything or anyone, anymore.

I’d like to play with a few examples from the list to illustrate how my viewpoints and approach to following my dreams has matured:

Article: They (who follow their dreams) create their own rules instead of fitting into society’s norms. They make decisions from a place of what they want to have instead of what they think they can have.

Kim: I think there is a natural period of disobedience when following rules, and norms just aren’t very appealing. This comes earlier in life when we are seeking individuality and putting our unique stamp on the world. Some of us hold onto this longer than others. It’s out of respect and going with the flow of life that we learn to do the right thing by operating within the guidelines of the structure that has been created for us. If we didn’t have regulations, we’d have chaos. Simply put, most humans just aren’t disciplined enough to stay in alignment with what is right and what is wrong.

I also see a form of entitlement with this generation around the things they want – setting themselves up for instant success instead of having to work towards a goal. There is a deeper sense of appreciation when we put in the mileage to slowly progress up the ladder of life. I think the digital world has offered an illusion that everything is at our fingertips and we can access it quickly, right now.

Article: They (who follow their dreams) see life as a game. Having this vision of life opens up space for playfulness and creativity instead of limitation. This also cultivates qualities of resilience, problem solving and confidence that helps them take risks to get to the next big place.

Kim: Life can hold a wonderful sense of fun and innocence that naturally begins to dim as we age and occasionally get ‘run over’ by life experiences. It is a sacred space to be in and appreciate; we are meant to be filled with joy and a sense of unlimited possibility. This is always available to us and yet we have to learn to navigate the unexpected bumps in the road with this being the true place of creativity, resilience and problem solving.

We gain confidence through our successes and learn profound lessons from our mistakes. There also comes a time when life circumstances become more immediate and we are faced with our changing bodies, aging parents, a shift in energy, interests and even finances. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t feel like a “game” anymore. It feels like I have really had to step up and be the best I have ever been as I get older and honestly, this is not easy and I want to approach this with as much humility and grace I can muster.

Article: They (who follow their dreams) have teachers, mentors and role models. Having teachers increases their awareness. Having role models and mentors helps them quickly identify where they’re stuck so that they can immediately change their results.

Kim: It can be a pivotal experience in life to have someone we respect and admire point us in the direction we want to travel. A role model can inspire and give us new tools, they inherently hold us accountable for what we want. The shift for me is wanting to mentor and encourage people to shine and be their best. To live my life with the integrity and inspiration that will pave the way for others to go beyond. That, to me, is true evolution.

In closing, it feels important to me to honor change and look at it directly instead of trying to skirt around it. Avoiding the inevitable usually backfires, hardens us and causes resentment. Acceptance and creating new dreams is a place of peace, self-actualization and learning – it is the act of following the water that is flowing downstream.

Kim Reynolds is a Certified Life Coach living in Ridgway Colorado. To learn more about coaching, call 970-623-2442. Read more on her website.

Author of Women Who Dare to Present Jan 27

WomenWhoDareWe recently caught up with Chris Noble, author of Women Who Dare: North America’s Most Inspiring Women Climbers.  Of course, you can see just from the title why Chicks loves this book, but it also happens to feature some of our Girly Guides.  In addition, Chris will be presenting in Ouray during our Sampler clinic.  The presentation is Monday, Jan 27 at the Ouray Community Center and is open to the public so please join us!

Why did you write Women Who Dare?

The short answer is because I love women and I love climbing.  Together, the two make an irresistible combination.

The broader answer is that I’ve been working with women athletes for years and I feel that too often women do not receive the same level of media attention their male counterparts do.  Case in point, no one had produced a book that examines the climbing lifestyle from a woman’s perspective.

Why climbing?  What’s the appeal?

My work is all about re-connecting people with nature. I believe the earth is literally dying due to our lack of connection.

I also believe that a fully realized human life (whether one is male or female), requires not only a strong, regular dose of nature—but liberal injections of adventure, challenge, courage, commitment, and community as well— and climbing is one of the few activities remaining that offer us all those benefits combined.

I love the realm of adventure and the people who make their homes there.  I want to help those individuals share their stories, their struggles, their passions, and what they’ve learned.

And I want to inspire readers to find their own personal connection with the wild, to follow their own hearts, and become the hero of their own stories.  In fact, I would say modern Americans are starved for heroism and meaning in their lives, a need pop culture does little to satisfy.  Instead, our culture tells us the opposite, that rather than heroes, we are at most needy little consumers, and that if we feel something lacking, the best we can do— is to go shopping.

What did you learn from writing Women Who Dare?

The biggest thing I learned was to fully embrace my own inner climber.  By spending time with the women profiled in the book I realized I was still partially operating under an outdated point of view inherited from my parents— that climbing and similar activities are something we eventually grow out of.

But the women profiled in Women Who Dare clearly demonstrate the power of embracing one’s passions, and what can be accomplished when we do.  In fact, as Britanny Griffith points out in her chapter, if one orients all the different aspects of life around a central axis such as climbing, then all the other spokes of the wheel— relationship, career, community— are much more likely to properly align.  Most of us do the opposite. We push our passions off to the side, then wonder why nothing else is working.

The second big lesson I learned was how open and unguarded women are when it comes to climbing.  Unlike men, they are not continually trying to shield their egos.

Why don’t men ask questions?  Because they don’t want anyone to know that they don’t know… everything!

But again and again, the women I interviewed talked about how they are continually asking questions, how they are endlessly striving to learn more, about climbing, and about life.  These are some of the most accomplished climbers in the world, but they are not resting on their laurels, not hiding behind their reputations or accomplishments.  They are not afraid to admit their fears and weaknesses.  In fact, these women demonstrate that the best way to overcome a weakness is to first acknowledge what it is, and second to address it directly.  In that way, women are far more courageous than men.

What was the biggest challenge in producing the book?

By far the biggest challenge was scheduling.  Herding cats is a cinch compared to trying to get full time climbers (who will jet off on a new adventure at a moment’s notice), to commit to a date then stick with it.  The flipside however, was that once they did commit, everyone profiled in the book was a consummate professional, and gave 100% if their time, attention, and talent to making the project a success.