Practice makes perfect…my pee funnel experience.

by Hillary Nitschke

It’s pre-dawn on Saturday, and I’m happily cruising down the interstate on my way to meet some friends for this season’s first winter mountaineering adventure. Despite the awfully early alarm clock, and the true shiver in this morning’s coming dawn, I’m happy. While I haven’t had to pack this much gear for a few months, I’m going over the day’s potential in my head, and I’m appreciating my place in the world.

Some of us switch purses to suit our needs, and others among us switch back packs. Suddenly I recall… the pee funnel! I will spend enough of the day in a harness, and it’s going to be chilly, too. I’d rather not shimmie out of my harness and bare my butt to the wind when nature calls today. I’d rather not be in a spot where harness removal is not an option. My bladder was still recovering from several pitches earlier in the week!

Alas, no pee funnel. What’s a girl to do but cope? I have a great fondness for my funnel. I knew the day would be just a little different without it. I must say, I liked it especially on a rope team where I was the only woman. I will admit, however, to one occasion of equipment failure. That is to say…yes, I’ve peed down my leg instead of in to the funnel, but only once! A couple of times I simply couldn’t make myself let go standing up. It takes a little practice. When all your life you’ve done it another way, and then you pee down your leg… Well, it gets even harder after that. I’ll now admit when I peed down my leg, all sorts of more accomplished climbers and guides were right nearby. I felt really silly (I wasn’t new at this great and complex skill after all, and to top it all off, I’d practiced at home before taking her out on the trail), but until now, no one ever knew.

To learn more about pee funnels, and have a good chuckle click here:

How’s it Hanging?

Look here for the latest ice conditions in the Ouray/San Juan region this winter! We’ll let you know what the Chicks think.

Where Have you Been?!

If there is anyone out there who is getting after it, having fun and kicking axe….it’s our Chicks Alumni! We love to get news of the latest “Chick Sightings” and now we want to hear what you are up to and where you have been on our Blog. Email us your stories and rad photos to

Who wants to Know?

This is for all of you information nuts (should I say nerds) who love to collect the facts. Chick Trivia will be an on-going “project” and everyone knows that climbers love a good project.  Look to this category for fun facts, history and trivia on women’s climbing… past and present. Please email with your historical beta.

When you’re hot, you’re HOT!

Join us here to discuss Hot Topics that are important to women and women’s climbers. We will have one sizzling topic per month to discuss, share ideas, expertise and the latest oppinions. Imagine that, a woman with an oppinion. Please let us know what Hot Topics you could warm up to….we are gathering ideas before we launch this Category. What would You like to read about?

What Do Chicks Like Anyway?

Stay tuned for gear reviews from our infamous Girly Guides, the Head Chick and our up-in-coming fledglings.  Hear what the girliest girls think about the latest, greatest gear in the outdoor industry. What do Chicks like anyway?  Hmm.

Caroline George: AMGA Exam

This winter has been busy with  travels, trainings and exam. Upon returning from the Khumbu Climbing School, I headed to beautiful and  remote Silverton, CO to take my level III AIARE course/exam, which is  a necessary step to take the AMGA aspirant ski exam. After much  talking and learning about snow, I passed the AIARE III and headed to  Vegas to teach clinics at the Red Rocks Rendez Vous. A day later, I  flew to Switzerland to visit my family and friends, to ski and climb  (see my blog for pictures of that trip:  and eventually, by mid april,  flew to AK to train for my ski aspirant  exam with Chicks with Picks guide, Angela Hawse.

We drove from Anchorage to the ski mountaineering and heliskiing mecca, aka Valdez, and immediately got down to business, checking out  the terrain we later be tested on and perfecting our drills: sled lowers, building shelters, beacon search, snow profile and skiing
technique. Each day, we would head up another mountain and ski. Each  night, we were greated with Anna’s – our hostess – amazing home cooked  meals and pies and share beta with the other course and exam  participants. After ten days there, we were ready for the course to  start.

We met our instructors – Howie Schwartz, Bela Vadasz and Martin Volken  – on the first day and headed out to get tested on the above
mentionned drills. We spent three days doing drills, which felt like an eternity. All we really wanted to do was ski. Eventually, the
skiing component started. We learnt new tricks of the trade, practiced  some crevasse rescue and skied amazing corn snow. On day 6 (out of  10), we flew into the range in a helicopter and got dropped off on a  little pass on a ridge. We spent the following three days traversing  back to Thompson Pass (where most of the easily accessible skiing is  located), carrying huge packs with our skiing gear (shovel, probe,  beacon, skins, etc.), our camping gear (stove, fuel canisters, tent,  sleeping bag, mat, jackets, headlamps, food, etc.), navigation gear  (maps, compass, GPS, notebooks, etc.) and glacier travel gear  (harness, ice axe, crampons, prussiks, cordelettes, carabiners, ice screw, first aid kit, tarps, etc.). Heavy! Yet, this was an amazing  trip across gigantic glaciers and we benefited from amazing weather  too. Angela and I shared the tent and the stove! We spent the last  three days getting examined.

The exam component is a new one in the advanced course, and one that  enables American guides to become IFMGA aspirant guides, once they  have passed the three disciplines offered by the AMGA: rock, alpine  and skiing. This was my last advanced course/exam. I completed the  Alpine in August 08, the Rock in September 08 and the ski just this  past April 09. With this, my lifelong dream of being an offical IFMGA  aspirant guide came true and my need to belong fulfilled. This status  will also enable me to be a better guide for Chicks with Picks… and  hopefully, I’ll be an even better guide once I have completed the full  IFMGA certification. To get there, I still need to take the exams in  each discipline: alpine, rock and ski!

To see pictures of this story, view my blog:

Caroline George: Khumbu Climbing School

Each year, I look forward to my time guiding at Chicks with Picks:
sharing my passion for ice climbing, meeting new ladies, spending time  in Ouray, eating great food, and above all, having a blast. This year  though, I chose to deprive myself of such a joy but donating my time  and knowledge to the Khumbu Climbing School in Nepal. The 2009 edition of the Khumbu Climbing School was run by Chicks with Picks guide Amy Bullard. So, in a way, it felt like we were having our own little CWP time over there.

The Khumbu Climbing School enables Nepali people to learn how to be  safer in the mountains. We teach them how to build anchors, walk and  climb on ice, belay, rappel, tie knots, climb up fixed ropes, etc. At  the end of the ten day course, the students take an test, which
provides them with a certificate, which, in turn, enables them to get
work more easily on Everest or other big mountains around. Working at  KCS proved to be really gratifying in that we were teaching for a
cause. Although it was a different venue than Chicks, it offered much
of the same satisfaction: at Chicks, we raise money for women
shelters, in Nepal, we provided our students with a paper that would
open doors.

Check out my blog for pictures of KCS:

You Tube – NBC Today Show

Chicks on the Today Show

Chicks on the Today Show

Watch Chicks with Picks on YouTube. The NBC Today Show and Nightly News: featuring an interveiw with Chicks alumni Amy Boebel.  Learn what ice climbing has done to help this cancer survivor overcome her fears and embrace life with new a passion.

Mt. Everest Mind Camp Interview

Kim Reynolds

Kim Reynolds

I want to share a recent interview posted on The Mt. Everest Mind Camp website, which was founded with a simple yet powerful mission: to inspire people to take conscious & empowered action to achieve their personal & professional goals. I am honored to be chosen as their featured guest for June and have the opportunity to share my passions.
Life is full!  Happy Summer, Kim

The Mt. Everest Mind Camp:
Our Number One Goal is to inspire YOU to take conscious and empowered action to achieve your personal and professional goals.

To get started, we suggest you ask yourself the following questions.
Commitment: Is your goal tangible and specific?
Development: Will the journey to achieving your goal require you to grow as a person?
Integration: How will achieving your own goals help your friends, family, or community?

To learn how the worlds most accomplished mountaineers, philanthropists and self development leaders found their own answers to these same questions, visit our monthly Featured Guest page.