Backcountry Bliss – Meet Graduate Clinic Alum, Terri

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Terri at the Chicks with Picks Graduate Clinic, and I knew right away you ALL had to meet her.  Terri truly encompasses the qualities of a Chick.  In fact, her Girly Guide Dawn Glanc, described her as one big smile coming up the ice.  While Terri is a Chicks alum, this was her first year in the Graduate Clinic.  Get to know Terri and hear what she had to say about this unique clinic below:

Name:  Terri Horvath

Years climbing:  4

If you aren’t climbing, you’re:  hiking peaks

If you could choose any climbing partner, it would be:  Mary Wenninger (another Chicks Graduate alum)

Favorite climbing snack:  always changing – currently:  honey stinger chews, halvah bars, crave jerky

The piece of gear I can’t live without is:  good gloves & mitts

Girly Guide at The Graduate:  Dawn Glanc

Best advice for Chicks Graduate Climbers:  come with a clear goal and your guide will help you reach it

Why you attended The Graduate:  to experience my first multi-pitch ice climbs with The Best

New technique learned at the Graduate:  “stacking” our rappels – getting everyone into their rappel configuration before the first person starts rappeling – great way to double-check everyone’s set up AND speed things up

Part of the clinic that surprised you:  simple elegance of a well thought out and executed multi-pitch system

Most helpful item in your Chicks goodie bag:  Marmot wool hat

Your next adventure is:  next weekend – peaks and/or ice climbing as the weather gods allow 🙂

How has Chicks With Picks changed me?

For me, Chicks has:

-Opened up possibilities that I hadn’t imagined a few short years ago
-Provided inspiration
-Been a catalyst for connection with other women climbers
-Helped me dig out my self confidence from an avalanche of negative self-talk
-Provided a safe environment where I can fail, learn, and succeed

Check out The Graduate photo album on Facebook.

Terri in Backcountry Bliss

Terri in Backcountry Bliss


Announcing Chicks with Picks Eddie Bauer 2014 Scholarship Winner

Congratulations to Chicks with Picks Eddie Bauer Scholarship winner, Kat Carney!  Kat will be joining us in Ouray for the Quickie Ice Climbing Clinic and will score some amazing gear from our friends at Eddie Bauer.  Thank you to all of the Chicks who applied – we received several exceptional applications making it difficult for our Girly Guides and friends at Eddie Bauer to decide.

While Kat’s had several great answers to the difficult application questions, one portion stood out to us Chicks and we wanted to share it with you.  When asked how Kat has reached out to others in a positive way, she mentioned her work as a volleyball coach.

“Someone told me that I could be a lot more than I thought I could a long time ago, and they were right. I just wanted to make every one of my players feel what I felt. I think that with each empowered woman the world becomes a better place. I also believe that women supporting one another is a core value. I tried to teach my girls that it is not about comparing, or being better than the other girls, it is about being the best version of you. Most people are flipping awesome, just in different ways.”

Chicks with Picks Eddie Bauer Scholarship Winne

Kat Carney excited to attend the Quickie

Kat already embodies what it means to be a Chick and we can’t wait to have her come and put that enthusiasm on ice.

Join Kat at The Quick Clinic – click here for more information.

Thank you Eddie Bauer for sponsoring the 2014 Chicks with Picks Scholarship.  The recipient of this scholarship will receive a “tuition waiver” for the cost of the clinic along with up to $1,000 in Eddie Bauer outfitting.

Winner Announced! Eddie Bauer Scholarship

Chicks and Eddie Bauer Scholarship WinnerChicks Climbing! and Eddie Bauer First Ascent are pleased to announce the Chicks Rock, Red Rocks scholarship recipient.  We’ll be getting to know Joselin better over the next few weeks but first, here is an excerpt from her application.  A big warm welcome to the newest Chick, Joselin!

Part-time outdoor sales associate and future wilderness therapy expert                            

Why are you drawn to Chicks Climbing?              

Chicks Climbing is an opportunity to continue developing my knowledge and skills as a climber and just as significantly, be inspired and inspire other female climbers. As a female climber in the Eastern Sierra, surrounded by strong male climbers with contrasting physical strengths, abilities, and ambitions, climbing and sharing experiences with other females is an exceptional opportunity. I wish to have enriching, encouraging experiences of growth and support that only come from coming together with other female climbers. Women climbers are part of a community that have the ability to inspire each other in a special way, and for me, this type of support is a source of motivation to accomplish my goals as a climber and person.                               

Describe why you are the woman who should receive this support.      

I should receive this support because I have not only the desire to develop as an individual, but also enrich others with my experience. My wish is to spend the next years supporting youth wilderness programs, ideally developing a program within the area of wilderness therapy. This opportunity will facilitate my goal and contribute significantly to the knowledge and experience that I will need to accomplish this dream. I will take a big step forward with this scholarship, alleviating the financial load, especially as a recent graduate, and facilitating both experiential and educational growth.                              

What do you hope to take away from your Chicks experience?

I hope to develop inspirational relationships with other female climbers and sharpen my knowledge and skills so that I may one day become a capable mentor. 

Blast from the Past: Alum Interview with Juli Febbraro


Juli enjoying fall in the Dacks.

Juli enjoying fall in the Dacks.

We recently caught up with Juli Febbraro who attended Keene Valley Girly Gathering sponsored by Sterling Ropes.  She’s a mom and enjoys hitting Seneca Rocks – we love how amazing our alum are!

Name: Juli Febbraro

Years climbing: 7

If you aren’t climbing, you’re: being a mom

If you could choose any climbing partner, it would be: steph davis

Favorite climbing snack: trail mix with chocolate

The piece of gear I can’t live without is: nut tool & sunglasses

Favorite climb/adventure since you attended Keene Valley Girly Gathering: Seneca rocks

Girly Guide at Keene Valley: Emilie Drinkwater and Janet Wilkinson

Best advice for Keene Valley: layers layers layers!!

Why you attended the Girly Gathering: I really enjoy climbing with other women, I laugh and learn so much more.

New technique learned at Keene Valley: layback on an exposed crack.

Part of the clinic that surprised you: how good the food was at dinner!! Seriously, it was that good!

Most helpful item in your Chicks goodie bag: I just love the travel mug. 

Climb with Chicks in Dacks!  Learn more about our October Girly Gathering in Keene Valley here.

Devils Lake Trip Report

By Girly Guide Dawn Glanc

In 2009, Chicks With Picks decided to expand their horizons and offer rock climbing. A number of guides and a few Chicks alumni put their heads together to come up with Chicks Rock!.  The rock climbing programs were an instant success. Thanks to the help of Chicks Alumni Anne Hughes, the Devils Lake clinic became a reality and, this year, completed its 5th year of awesome clinics.

ShannonEnteringChimney2013 Devil's Lake Clinic

Nothing but smiles at Devils Lake. Photo by Dawn Glanc

The Devils Lake clinic was one of the first Chicks Rock! programs to run in 2009. This Midwest climbing destination has been a popular favorite since the beginning (see Anne’s post Why Climbers Cut their Teeth at Devils Lake). The Wisconsin location is perfect, allowing women from all over the Midwest to drive a few hours to the clinic. The location draws mostly Midwesterners, however we have had some foreign visitors attend the clinic because it was a reason to come and check out the middle of the country. No matter what a person’s background is, the Devils Lake climbing area seems to be accessible, inviting and non-threatening.

The 2013 Devils Lake clinic was unusual due to the weather. The cool 60-degree days made for great climbing temperatures. The sticky rubber seemed to work on just about anything. The friction was extra high on the hard quartzite. The lack of heat and humidity allowed us to focus on skills, movement and the perfect nature of the climbing.

The Chicks Rock! clinics are perfect for women of all ability levels. The guides help foster an environment that allows the women to feel supported and safe. This atmosphere allows women to push themselves and really explore their boundaries. This energy is what allowed five of the women to try rock climbing for the first time ever at Devils Lake. The shared cheers of encouragement and unlimited patience pushed the women to try hard and have fun.  In the end, fun is what we are truly striving for.

Thanks to all the ladies and my fellow guides for an amazing clinic. As always, I am inspired by the women I met and the stories we shared. I look forward to another great Devils Lake clinic next year. Climb on and have fun!

Want more?

Check out Dawn’s photos of the Devils Lake Clinic:

Check out upcoming Chicks Rock! clinics:

September 20-22, New River Gorge, WV
October 4-7, Keene Valley, NY
October 24-27, Red Rocks, NV

Blast from the Past: Alum Interview with Tracey Wierman

Tracey Weirman sends the purple cliffs of Devil's Lake

We recently caught up with Devil’s Lake alum Tracey Wierman, who was kind enough to grant Chicks a quick interview.

Years climbing: 3 ½

If you aren’t climbing, you’re: Running and hiking

If you could choose any climbing partner, it would be: #1-Kitty Calhoun, #2-my sis, Terri Barry,  #3-my best bud, Lisa Cruz

Favorite climbing snack: Cliff Bars and cookies

The piece of gear I can’t live without is: My helmet. I feel naked without it.

Girly Guide at Devil’s Lake: Kitty Calhoun and Dawn Glanc

Best advice for Devil’s Lake (DL) climbers: Be prepared for slippery rock. It may be Wisconsin but don’t let that fool you. This place will challenge you. I LOVE DL!

Why you attended DL clinic: To learn from some amazing women with so much experience and talent. And meet other women that love climbing. The clinic was truly a great experience. So good I attended twice!

New technique learned at DL: To not have “mental problems” as Kitty explained them in her southern drawl. I learned that my anxiety doesn’t have to rule me or my climbing. To focus my breathing and slow down, rest, and “just break it down”. (again said in a southern accent)

Part of the clinic that surprised you: That it went so much deeper than learning new climbing techniques. I learned so much about myself and it was great to hang with some really cool powerful women.

Most helpful item in your Chicks goodie bag: The really cool PINK Black Diamond headlamp.

Today, I am invincible

The following post was written by Connie Sciolino, the 2013 Karen McNeill scholarship award recipient.

Today, I am invincible.

And excited, and empowered, and I stand a little taller.

I spend a lot of my time coaching and encouraging and pushing athletes at my gym, the Alpine Training Center. This past weekend I had the opportunity to be coached and encouraged and pushed in a new sport for me, ice climbing. I had two reasons for wanting to learn. First, I have several ice climbers that train at my gym and I thought maybe I could do a better job of training and coaching them if I knew more about the sport and the skills and strengths it requires. Secondly, as an athlete it is always good to try new things. Be it a new sport or activity or whatever, just something different where you are pushed or tested in some way. This was the perfect opportunity. I have been rock climbing for many years but was not an ice climber. I have many friends that ice climb and rave about what fun it is and how much I would enjoy it. I decided it was time to try.

Connie at “The Quickie”

The choice of where and with whom I would learn was obvious, Chicks with Picks. At least half of the female ice climbers in my gym have been to at least one of their clinics and some have done several. However, with a new business, finances were just too tight for me to steal away for the weekend, take time from work and pay for someone to replace me. I had all but given up hope when as a follower of the Chicks Facebook page I saw they were offering a scholarship for a woman to come to the clinic. This was my chance. All I had to do was convince the Chicks that I should be there. Not sure what put them over the edge but I won the Karen McNeill scholarship which is awarded to one woman each year to attend “The Quickie” Clinic. Karen McNeill’s reputation as a climber, a mentor and a woman who gave more of herself than takes seemed daunting to live up to but hopefully in the days and years to come I can use her as an example and give more to the women in my life.

The clinic starts with an evening of introductions and schedules and plans. It’s almost a little overwhelming. Then you realize who your guides will be. The Girlie Guides are not only the best female guides in the world, but the best climbers. I was surrounded by greatest, which is inspiring and a little scary.

I was lucky enough to be paired with Kitty Calhoun. At first I wasn’t all too confident that we were a good match. Kitty is no nonsense. She is straight up tough, holds everyone to a high standard and pushes every step of the way. I was hoping for a little hand-holding on this little expedition of mine. But as the hours and climbs rolled on, I realized who she reminded me of – myself. I hold my athletes to a high standard, expect hard work every day and push, push, push. They don’t always like it in the moment, but some day they will thank me because I have given them the tools and skills and confidence they need to do whatever they want. And as much as I thought I wanted the hand-holding, I didn’t. I wanted to be pushed and challenged and be held to a higher standard. And in that respect, Kitty was perfect. From beginning to end, Kitty ensured that I had the skills to succeed and with a not-so-gentle nudge sent me on my way. I started a beginner and ended an ice climber.

Chicks with Picks drills

When I think of my experience with Chicks, I think of the tools and skills they sent me home with and it’s not how to swing a tool or kick crampons into the ice, it’s that given the opportunity I can do whatever I set my mind to. I can hold myself to a higher standard and be better in my life and my job. It’s not always easy and there are and will always be struggles along the way. There might be some fighting and kicking and work to get through those struggles but the success on the other end is so worth it.

So thank you Chicks, for today I am invincible and I hope that you continue to encourage, excite and empower many more women.

Connie, one of our newest Chicks alumna, is all smiles!

Thank you so much Connie for this wonderful testimonial! We are thrilled to hear that it was a great experience for you, and I’m sure all of your ice climbers at the ATC will be psyched to try any different or new training exercises you come up with!

You can read more about Karen McNeill and the scholarship in her name here.

If you are interested in sponsoring a Chicks with Picks or Chicks Rock! scholarship, please contact us at info(at) and check out this page for all the details! 

Almine’s Ouray Trip Report

It was a year of “digging deep.” Everything just felt more harsh…more cold…more sharp. This year on the ice brought with it a host of emotions. I was just starting to peer my head out over the horizon of a heart-wrenching 2012. A year of letting go, understanding different elements of pain, and what it takes to move through those layers.

Annual crampon pic

There is nothing that will make you, simultaneously, feel more “raw” & more vulnerable that the cold thickness of waterfall ice. Its exquisite beauty and volatility hang like a delicate thread in the forefront of your mind at all times. The fine line between pleasure and pain, the warmth of the sweat on your body with the coldness of the environment. Ice climbing does all these things…and more. You don’t just see the vapor of your breath…you watch it freeze before your eyes.

Hooray for Ouray!

One of the Ouray, CO. locals said it was the coldest “Ice Fest” he’s attended since the late 80’s. Several of the days, post festival, were in the negatives. It almost felt too cold to get out of bed. Strong willpower, a motivated climbing partner and several strong shots of espresso seemed to be the ticket.

Almine & Chicks alumnae Amy, Cheryl and Kate at the Ouray Ice Fest Women’s Speed Competition

This was my 3rd year in a row, heading to Ouray, during peak ice climbing season. January is when the “Ouray Ice Festival” is held, and the vertical “greats” all convene upon the small town that is also known as “Little Switzerland.”

Ouray has been made, essentially, into a “ski town,” with no skiing. The main attraction? The “Ouray Ice Park.” A large, man-made, “playground” for the climber “junkie” with a hankering to get their feet off the ground, even before the ground thaws.

This year, I had the privilege of connecting with some women that have greatly influenced my life, and have driven my desire to experience the vertical world. Margo Talbot, Kitty Calhoun, Angela Hawse, Dawn Glanc, Kim Reynolds…these women have all contributed to the fabric of women in climbing (whether it be alpine, rock, ice or mixed). Really, what we’re talking about here are legends. Women who have pioneered the sport, and have paved the way for other women, such as myself to enjoy them.

Climbing in the Ampitheater

Margo Talbot is someone I hold very close to my heart. Ice climber, alpinist, mountain guide, writer. There is little she doesn’t do with flair, style, whole-heartedly, and with an infectious laugh. When I met her 3 yrs. ago at the “Ouray Brewery” I felt an instant kinship of spirit with her. She has been someone who continues to influence me daily, through her profound connection to nature, and her journey.

Margo’s book which talks about her journey into the world of ice climbing

The first half of my climbing trip, I had the opportunity to climb with a dear friend, Keith Young. I met Keith in Ouray 2 years ago. His kind smile, enthusiasm for the ice, and down-to-earth nature alerted me that we would be instant friends. We spent the first part of the week working with negative temperatures, “getting our feet wet” with the intricate techniques of ice climbing again (since it had been a year for me). When we could, we would hastily retreat to one of 9 local hot springs to fend off the wind and cold-to-the-bone temperatures.

Almine & Keith keep their energy up and bodies warm by filling up with “PocketFuel Naturals” between climbs

For the climber the temperature is fine, for the most part. For the belayer? Brutal. Standing there, doing your best to contain body heat, while paying the utmost attention to your partner, is a mental chore. In addition, the cold “zaps” energy from your core. You are burning more calories than you know, and are burning them in excess, just trying to stay warm, let alone climbing. We were very grateful that “PocketFuel Naturals” sent us over there with healthy-for-you-fat-filled-staying-power, because we burned right through them.

Hiking out of the Ouray Ice Park

Exit Awesome guy climbing buddy…Enter pro. climber, “Kitty Calhoun.” Kitty has guided all over the world. Her resume is so stout and so long, that women like me had posters of her hanging in our dorm rooms in college. Undergrad. book reports have been done about her legendary alpine, rock and ice feats. When she’s in Ouray, she guides for a women’s climbing company called, “Chicks With Picks.” This company is a wonderful venue for women to try their hand at ice climbing, and to experience the majestic beauty of climbing ice.

Almine & Kitty both love fun sunglasses.

Kitty gave me all kinds of great “pointers,” and even a pg. of handwritten “homework” notes for me to work on over the next year. I was brutally honest with her that ice is a once-a-year medium for me, so she said “You like rock? Good. Then, we’ll mix it up for you.” It was the first time I had ever tried “dry tooling” or “mixed” routes (rock & ice). I found the lack of tactile contact with the rock (instead having crampons on & using ice axes vs. my hands) to be foreign in the way I was used to relating to that medium. It was tricky to pull off rock moves that I normally felt comfortable with, “dangling off of 2 toothpicks.” It was a completely new way of me relating to the rock. A more “primal” way, where my senses were stripped from feeling its texture, & I had to go by the sense of how I was hanging off of a small, sharp point. It disarmed me a bit. The fluidity needed, to move between rock and ice, was a phenomenal experience. One that was both challenging and exhilarating.

Almine on some steep WI5 ice!

To work with Kitty was a great honor for me. I’ve deeply admired what she, and the other previously mentioned women, have done for women in the climbing community.: putting up first ascents, paving the way for women at comps., getting women into the alpine backcountry, getting women sponsored, etc.

Mixed route: rock and ice

I look forward to seeing how the spring climbing season shapes up, and what lessons I can bring, down from the mountains of Ouray, to the world of splitter cracks, basalt lines & the volcanic tuft of my “backyard,” “Smith Rock State Park.”

At the Stump Wall


Almine Barton is a licensed acupuncturist and certified personal trainer and “CrossFit” coach. She runs two sports medicine clinics in Bend, OR., and Portland, OR. She works closely with climbers, Olympians, and competing “CrossFit” athletes in her practice, and enjoys seeing her patients achieve their fitness and wellness goals. Almine lives near “Smith Rock,” thoroughly enjoying the immense climbing opportunities that Central OR. has to offer. She is an avid sport and trad climber, “CrossFitter,” mountain biker, trail-runner and Adventure Racer. She is sponsored by Flux, GoGoGear, PocketFuel Naturals and Team Tough Chik. Almine has two Malamutes named Tallon and Anok, who keep her running trails all winter long. Learn more about Almine at her new website

On Leading the first pitch of Whorehouse Hoses

This winter, long-time Chicks with Picks participant Annie Hughes came out to climb with us at “The Graduate”. On the last day of the clinic Annie led the first pitch of Whorehouse Hoses, a beautiful WI4-5 climb in Eureka. She sent us this note about her experience on this, her hardest lead to date – on ice OR rock!

I’ve got to tell you, that lead was a peak experience for me so I’m grateful you ran the clinic.

I’ve been thinking about your question of what, in non climbing terms, I will take from that empowering lead on Whorehouse.

Leading such a long, vertical pitch of ice is my most significant climbing experience to date, rock or ice. I saw traits in myself that I seldom see — absolute certainty, solid emotional composure in the face of calculated risk, mental and technique focus for a sustained period of time, a cool confidence in my climbing skills all along the way, and a certainty that I’d made the right decision to accept the challenge.

I’ve not done a climb this solidly before which is why it feels unreal. But, no doubt, it is real and I did it!

I think I carry with me a sense of empowerment — I can consider a difficult challenge, assess the risk, make up my mind to do it, focus on the task without second guessing myself along the way, executing it confidently to the finish.

Annie’s line up Whorehouse Hoses. She’s building the anchor as Kitty supervises. What a fantastic learning experience for all! [Photo by Trinity Ludwig]

Congratulations Annie, that lead was such a fantastic achievement! We couldn’t be more proud of your accomplishment!!! 🙂

Meet our Eddie Bauer First Ascent scholarship recipients!

Happy Friday before Christmas! We wanted to introduce our Eddie Bauer First Ascent scholarship recipients to everyone in this brief post. We are really looking forward to having them out at Chicks this winter and getting to know more about these two very inspiring ladies!

Jennifer Shultz
Jennifer is a 35-year-old mother of two and aspiring alpinist who has been pouring her heart into climbing as she returns to life as a recovering drug addict and ex-felon. A few years ago while in grad school working towards being a physician, a series of surgeries left Jennifer with an opiate addiction which led to eight months in prison and the loss of everything, including her children.

After getting out of prison, Jennifer committed to immediately getting clean and entered a rehab program, which she credits with saving her life. As a way to give back to others, she has volunteered at IMPACT Drug Rehabilitation Center (in the women’s section only) taking women to recovery meetings, talking with them, listening to them cry and vent, and even taking them out to coffee and dinner even though she is still struggling financially.

Her goal is simply “to keep climbing. I love to climb. I want to become a fully trained technical alpinist and perhaps work for RMI. It is my life, my love, my passion. I need it like a person needs to breathe. I’ve mentioned that my son already loves climbing and I hope to introduce my daughter to it soon. As an ex-felon and recovering drug addict, I have ideas of creating a program for women who suffer from addiction to get out into the wilderness as a part of their recovery.

I have spent time in what is figuratively the lowest place on earth. Now I would like a chance to climb to some of the highest, if only to show other women that anything is possible. That not only recovery is possible, but living out your wildest dreams is too, as long as one is willing to work their ass off. Climbing has saved my life, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If any female out there can learn and grow from my experiences, then all the pain and hardship will have been worth it. Climbing is no different.”

Victoria Faubion
Victoria is a 26-year-old PhD candidate and Research Assistant in environmental science and education from the University of North Texas, who volunteers with Outdoor Nation. The focus of this organization is to get the “millennial” generation interested in, and invested in getting outside. Victoria is definitely an advocate for getting youth outside as you will see below, but in addition to that she really works hard to inspire women to pursue the sciences and outdoor activities, and is a big believer in being a contributing member of a supportive community.

Victoria’s current volunteer project is called North Texas Kids Outside, a group she founded that is focused on introducing families to camping, and showing them how they can enjoy the outdoors, together. She and her project partner take urban, under-served families from North Texas camping in a state park for their very first time. They work with the Texas Parks and Wildlife program, Texas Outdoor Family (TOF) to teach the families basic camping skills. Families in the program engage in activities like kayaking, geocaching, fishing, Dutch oven cooking and even rock climbing! You can learn more about Victoria’s project and check out reports from the very successful trips she’s taken this fall here:

Victoria believes the Chicks with Picks experience “Will help me become more confident in being an outdoors woman so that I can come back to Texas and gather a group of girls to start taking adventures.” We love this and can’t wait to have her tying in with an amazing group of ladies that will be joining her in the ice park in just a few weeks!

Chicks with Picks 2013

It is not too late to sign up for a Chicks with Picks ice climbing clinic! We still have space available in:
The Graduate, Jan. 5-8
The Sampler, Jan. 16-19
The Complete, Jan. 26-30
The Quickie, Feb. 1-3