Chicks sightings!

We have had a few big Chicks sightings in the past couple of days – check it out!

Photo courtesy of Caroline Doucet

This photo was sent in by Chicks alumna Caroline Doucet who wrote: “Familiar faces and new friends at the Keene Valley Mountain Fest, NY with alummnae Karen Choy, Dara L. Miles, Margaret Gorman and Caroline Doucet.”

I hope you ladies had a fantastic weekend! Great to see so many Chicks out getting after it on the east coast!

The second photo was shared with us by Girly Guide Margo Talbot who recently hit the nordic ski trails with Girly Guide Kim Csizmazia. If this isn’t a photo of two major badass Chicks, I don’t know what is!

Photo by Margo Talbot

Thank you ladies for sharing your photos of Chicks sightings! We not only love to see these, but share them as well 🙂

Get into the Chicks network!

As the marketing & social media Chick here, I have the pleasure of getting to know lots of alumnae through our social networks. I am also lucky because through these same social networks are hundreds of other climbing ladies who I get to “meet” as well. It’s fun simply because there are potential climbing partners I could meet up with, at some of the most famous climbing locations in the U.S. that are the ‘local’ crags to these women – alumnae and not.

It’s also advantageous when a question comes up in our “Chicks Chat” forum, as did this week from a gal who is looking for a climbing partner in the Gunks. Immediately I could think of two gals that climb there regularly (one an alumna, another not), and found another through our social networks. This is part of what I really love about Chicks – getting women out climbing with women! (On a side note, if YOU are looking to find a climbing partner, check out the forum to see if there’s anyone near you or post your own search!)

Tonya & I at the top of “Maginot Line” on Shortoff Mountain. How badass does Tonya look in this photo? She had a stellar day on the sharp end!

I myself have been out climbing recently with a fellow alumna – Tonya Williamson (formerly Graham – she’s a newlywed :-)) who has taken part in both the Chicks Rock! and Chicks with Picks programs. Tonya is a North Carolina climber, and she gets outside on a fairly regular basis, in addition to the several days a week she logs at the climbing gym in Charlotte. Tonya has been working on leading moderate trad climbs (of increasing difficulty!) over the past year. Since I’ve never been a real rock climber at heart, it’s great for me to get out and follow someone who not only really loves to climb, but is completely safe in all her systems, and a lot of fun to be around!

I actually have learned quite a bit from climbing with Tonya, especially about staying calm while on lead. Tonya really excels at doing this! One day we were out climbing “Rip Van Winkle” at Table Rock. It is not a line that gets climbed very often, and with trad routes half the difficulty can actually be in route finding sometimes! So I think by the first belay station we had veered off route. Where I would have gotten a bit shaken was in the ‘not knowing what grade I’m leading, nor where this is even going to go’ part of the climbing. But Tonya was totally calm. At the top of a pitch we would look at what options there were for the next one (go left, go right, straight up?), and Tonya would assess – as best she could from that vantage point – where her best gear placement options were. She did not show any signs of stress or anxiety, which was really key to us safely topping out at the end of the day (on what line, I still don’t know!).

Tonya leading pitch 3 of “Paradise Alley.” This was definitely the route 😉

This weekend again I’m heading out to climb with Tonya. Just what we will be climbing I don’t know, which is part of the fun for me, as I really work on my face climbing moves for my upcoming Bugaboos trip (although there are some stellar cracks to climb in North Carolina I NEED to work on my confidence with face climbing).

So the point of all this is that there is a great network of Chicks – and friends of Chicks (ladies who climb but haven’t actually come to a clinic) that is out there. We at Chicks want to provide you that platform to get to know other women climbers and share information, resources, tips, tricks, what have you! If you have any ideas for how we could make it better, please share them with us! After all, shouldn’t we all be having fun climbing with fellow Chicks?!?!

P.S. Those of you that are Chicks climbing with Chicks, please send in your “Chicks Sightings” so we can share them! I will definitely be expecting some this summer as I see many of you planning some fun trips together 🙂

Alaska Ice Climbing Festival mixed climbing comp.

Here’s a very cool video of a mixed climbing competition that was part of the three-day Alaska Ice Climbing Festival that is organized by Chicks with Picks alumna Jayme (Dixon) Mack. This was the first year the festival had a mixed climbing element, which was designed by Will Gadd (who was apparently also the official heckler during the comp). Check it out – there is some very creative material use in here.

But really, it’s just AWESOME that a Chicks alumna is doing such great things for the climbing community up in Alaska – we couldn’t be more proud of you, Jayme!

Ladders and Logs from Carl Battreall on Vimeo.

Here’s some additional media coverage of the event:

Caroline George on pregnancy, ski touring – perspective

Photo courtesy of Caroline George

Pregnancy has been one of the best journeys of my life. It’s not over, but I am already starting to feel nostalgic about not seeing my belly grow everyday, accompany me on adventures or where ever I go. But I am also excited to meet the person who lives inside of me. I mean, how weird is that? I think I can grasp that there is someone growing in my belly because of the kicks, the undulating waves under my skin, my bulging profile, but maybe you just can’t come to the full realization of what is really happening until the wee one is in your arms. I don’t know that yet. And that’s the magic of it all: not knowing, being accepting to what ever is coming your way and making the best of the adventure you started on.

And what an adventure it’s been! My baby isn’t born yet, but it’s been to the top of many climbs and mountains with me, while I was guiding this summer and later climbing for myself. When climbing stopped feeling good, I switched to biking, hiking and swimming. I wanted this time of my life to be about exposing myself to new things – since my life has been all consumed by climbing and the mountains for most of my life – because it’s what I would like my child’s life to like. So, I traded my climbing shoes for pedal and bike cleats to ride in California and Utah and later, for paddles while Adam and I discovered sea kayaking together in the Bahamas, and eventually for cross country skis with my mom in Finland. But I missed the mountains and when winter hit our home in Chamonix over Christmas, I was all excited to get back on my skis. Hiking downhill was a little painful because my baby pushed down heavily on my pelvis because of the impact of each step I took, so skiing came as a relief!

Photo courtesy of Caroline George

Ski touring is a lot like hiking, only you’re on snow, pushing skis uphill but you get to enjoy the rewards of your hard earned climb, cruising down beautiful untracked powder. Of course, being pregnant, you need to pick what you ski and how you ski it:

– avalanche terrain is not appropriate unless you know that conditions are really stable; this has been a great opportunity for me to explore more mellow tours that I could later come back to and do with clients;

– you need to reel it in, skiing at a slower pace, keeping your eyes doubly peeled for what is coming: rocks, branches, trees, holes, etc. Skiing in a whiteout can also be a concern but I usually send my partner ahead so they can show me the way and give the terrain perspective with their track;

– listen to your body: it’s never easy to turn around, but what matters is to listen to your body and feel good about what you are doing. I know that I can tour a few thousand feet uphill before the baby seems to be stretching in all direction making it uncomfortable to keep going. It feels like the baby is putting its hands out and saying: “ok, that was good, let’s go down now, am over it”.

– find partners to join you on your adventure: when I’m not guiding, I often go ski touring on my own and I love it: you can go at your own pace, listen to an audiobook, go up, go down and be home whenever you want. But really, sharing outdoor adventures with friends is one of the most precious things in life and this has taken a whole new meaning for me during pregnancy. I went out with lots of different friends and they always watched out for me, making sure I was ok, worrying about me and it felt good to be on other side of the fence. Although guiding is my life and I love every minute of it, it also felt really good to be indulging in my passion with friends whom I didn’t have to watch out for and just be enjoying ski touring for what it is, without worrying about pleasing other people or about being out there training for guide courses. It’s been an amazing way to reconnect to what I love to do and why I love being in the mountains so much.

– the best thing has been to take my little bump along on the journey. who’s to say if she enjoyed it like I did, but I get a feeling that she did. Of course, it’s my interpretation of it but have you ever been out with someone when everything is flowing, and seeing how good they feel and how much they love being out is contagious? that’s how I feel when I go out with my bump. So, who’s to say…

Phpto courtesy of Caroline George

The hardest part about my “adventurous ” pregnancy has been people’s judgments on how I chose to live my pregnancy. I’ve had an amazing pregnancy, suffering very little from the symptoms that women usually suffer from. Maybe the main reason for that was that I felt I was doing a good deed by taking my baby out for rides, ski tours, and many other adventures, breathing in fresh air, sharing my love for the outdoors with her. “Happy Mom, Happy Baby” is the saying, right? These have been times of deep connection with my baby-to-be. It was hard at first, because I was guiding a lot and sometimes taking risks that I felt were inappropriate for my baby and knowing that didn’t feel good. Once the guiding season was over, I was able to listen to my body and to what felt ok for both me and the baby. Although I appreciated people’s concerns for both of our health, I also felt that it was really intrusive that people had an opinion on what I should or shouldn’t do. I live in ski resort and the mecca of alpinism, Chamonix, France – and my doctor here deals with more athletic people than probably most ObGyn will ever see. When I asked him if what I was doing was OK, his eyes popped wide open, a smile came to his face and he said: “I only wish I could come along on the tours as well! What you’re doing is great for you and the for the baby. Just don’t go skiing at resorts where there is a risk of people skiing into you. But there is no counter indication to ski touring!”. So, I have seized this opportunity and ran with it. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Photo courtesy of Caroline George

I know that this is only the start of people judging what they perceive parenthood should be like. What has held me back for so long from having children is people always saying how much your life is going to change, how your life is going to end. But I strongly believe that you chose your life – parenthood, pregnancy, work, etc. – and you make it what you want it to be. My mom was cross country skiing the day she went into labor. My parents kept traveling and climbing despite having children and all our shared adventures is what made me who I am today: they opened my eyes to new cultures, to adventures and traveling, to living a life outside the norm and it’s made my life that much richer. I am sure people judged them for their choices, but they stuck to what they thought was best for them and for us and that has inspired me more than anything in life. Taking the path less traveled is not always the easiest solution, but it might just be the richest. I hope I can offer at least as much to my child.

Keep up with IFMGA/UIAGM Guide Caroline George’s alpine adventures on her website Into The Mountains and on the First Ascent blogInto The Mountains is Caroline’s guiding site where she and her husband, Adam George, share their passion for climbing with others by offering guided trips and instruction on rock, ice, and alpine climbing in the European Alps and North America. Check it out!

The Regulators 7 – Icepalooza – Part One

Check out this video that features Girly Guides Kitty Calhoun and Dawn Glanc as part of a team that headed into the wilderness of Cody, Wyoming to seek out some virgin ice climbs. This is part 1 in a series, so we will make sure to post the new ones as they come in!

The Regulators 7 – Icepalooza – Part One

The Regulators 7- Icepalooza -Part One from Aaron Mulkey on Vimeo.

Chicks racing, biking, hiking and climbing!

We love hearing from our fellow Chicks alumnae, especially when we get photos and reports of “Chicks Sightings.”

We’ve got a new one to share with you today from alumna Anne Hughes who has had a good helping of Chicks time these past few weeks!

Last weekend Anne met up with fellow Chick Sue Lottridge in Breckenridge. Sue was there to do the Breck Crest Mountain Half Marathon. Anne said the half-marathon included awe-inspiring scenery and grueling ascents and decent through high mountain passes, starting at 9,600 ft. in town and going up from there.  All in all Sue ran more that 3,000 feet of ascent and went through a 12,000 foot high pass! Below is a picture of Sue kicking butt during the race, which she finished in less than 3 hours – beating her goal time. Congratulations!

The Chicks and their husbands also did some hiking and biking – here they are below.

After returning from Colorado Anne met up with Chick Liz Botrell, who was in town for a visit, to climb at Devil’s Lake. Fellow Chick Stacey Newman was also scheduled to climb, but baby Zoe was sick so she had to stay home. All in all, Anne and Liz had a great climbing day – especially considering Anne is just recovering from her broken collarbone!

Thank you Anne, for sending in the info. on this Chicks sighting, you know we just LOVE these 🙂

And, with so many new Chicks from our summer Chicks Rock! programs, we hope to hear lots more. If you have a Chicks sighting to report please send it in to chicksclimbing[at]

Chicks sighting in Chamonix!

We’ve got a Chicks sighting to report from Europe!

Girly Guide Caroline George sent in this picture of Chicks alumna Caroline Doucet on the midi plan traverse in Chamonix, proudly showing off her “Kiss My Axe” sticker:

Thank you Caroline for sending it in!

Now that we have a bunch of brand new Chicks alumnae after Devil’s Lake, we’ll be looking forward to seeing even more Chicks sightings 🙂

Update: Caroline has sent in more pics from her climbing with Caroline Doucet this week in Chamonix:
Cosmiques Ridge (and proudly sporting the Chicks with Picks sticker on her helmet!)

Cosmiques Ridge

Midi-Plan Traverse

Vallee Blanche Traverse

Vallee Blanche Traverse


Chicks sighting at Devil’s Lake!

We have a Chicks sighting to report from Wisconsin, the site of our next Chicks Rock! clinic at Devil’s Lake!

Anne Hughes writes in and reports: Vera Naputi and I spent Mother’s Day bouldering at Devil’s Lake.

Her older daughter Emma and my two adult kids, Sam and Kelsey couldn’t be there but her little ones Misa and John-Pio made it so fun I couldn’t decide whether to climb or just play in the dirt with them.  I always have that dilemma when I’m at the lake with Misa and John-Pio.

Climbing nanny is one of my many hats!  Attached are pics of us and the kids and Vera’s husband Brad Werntz (Pemba Serves).  The pads in the picture are two little kid-sized boulder pads that fold like big ones and can be carried on the little backs of these wee climbers.  SOOOooo cute!

It looks like a fantastic day of climbing was had by all!

Thanks for sending in the Chicks sighting, Anne! If you have a Chicks sighting to report please let us know at chicksclimbing(at)gmail(dot)com!

Also, for those of you thinking about coming out to join us at Devil’s Lake, our special “Buddy Deal” pricing to help save you $100 from the cost of the clinic ends May 31. However, we will still offer a $50 off “Buddy Deal” through June 30 so don’t delay! Check out all the details on the Devil’s Lake Buddy Deal here! 🙂

BIG Chicks sighting at Indian Creek!

We have a super fun Chicks sighting to share!

Girly Guide Angela Hawse reported (and got photos) of what looks like an epic trip to Indian Creek where she found fellow Girly Guides Dawn Glanc, Kitty Calhoun, and Jen Olson, as well as Chicks alumna Renee Henry all getting their crack climbing on!

– Girly Guides, Kitty Calhoun, Dawn Glanc, Jen Olson and Angela Hawse. And… alum Renee Henry!! Chicks getting their crack on!! Photo by Angela Hawse.

– Birthday Girl Dawn Glanc! Photo by Angela Hawse.

– Jen Olson on Variety Pack at the 4×4 Wall. Kitty Calhoun on the belay. Photo by Angela Hawse.

– A tired Chelsea next to a nice rack of gear! Photo by Angela Hawse.

Thanks for sharing, Angela! It looks like these gals had an amazing time climbing cracks 🙂 If you have a Chicks sighting while out climbing, or just while out-and-about please let us know! We love seeing Chicks out together 🙂

ANOTHER Chicks sighting in Canada!

We’ve got another Chicks sighting to report – this one comes again from Canada where more of our Chicks with Picks alumnae are putting their ice climbing skills to good use as they are out there logging time and mileage on some truly epic Canadian ice climbs!

This sighting involves two alumnae and one Girly Guide! Can you name them?

If you guessed alumna Dara Miles, Girly Guide Sarah Hueniken, and alumna Amy Jurries you’d be correct! We’re happy to hear they’ve all been having a blast and enjoying some great climbing weather all weekend. Here are a few more pics from Amy!

Big smiles on a windy day climbing Lake Louise Falls!

I don’t think Amy is ever NOT smiling in an ice climbing picture – love it! 🙂

Dara having tons of fun on some backcountry multi-pitch ice climbs!

Sarah enjoying some mild weather – that is to say mild compared to what she was climbing in last month!

Thanks for sharing the photos Amy! We just LOVE seeing alumnae take trips together!

If you have a Chicks sighting to report, please let us know! Red Rock Rendezvous is just around the corner (this weekend!), and I have no doubt there will be a few Chicks there – we’d love to see what you are up to! 🙂