Chicks Owners & Guides
Kim Reynolds founded Chicks Climbing and Skiing in 1999 with the mission to empower women through ice climbing. Kim’s original vision, Chicks with Picks in Ouray, Colorado became the first-ever, all-women’s ice climbing program. Then, in 2015, Kim passed the torch to four, long-time Chicks Guides: Elaina Arenz, Karen Bockel, Kitty Calhoun and Angela Hawse.
Chicks believe in the power of an educational progression of climbing and backcountry skiing skills. Our proudest moments are when Chicks Alumnae fly from the nest and emerge not only as climbing and skiing leaders, but also as leaders in their communities.
We are very proud of our guides! Chicks guides are the most highly trained and experienced female guides in the country. Many of them are influential mountaineering and climbing luminaries. Most Chicks guides have decades of personal and professional climbing experience to share with you.
We only hire AMGA certified guides.
The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) oversees guiding certification in the United States, splitting it up into three disciplines: rock, alpine and ski.
To become an AMGA certified rock, alpine or ski guide, one must perform rigorous coursework and pass a rigorous exam. This coursework and exam process promotes a professional standard recognized and accepted by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA).
Before a guide can be certified, they must work first as an apprentice and then as an assistant. Apprentice guides have successfully completed the first-level course in a discipline. Assistant guides have successfully passed the advanced-level course in a discipline, but not yet passed the final exam.
Individuals can hold a certification in one discipline or in all three. And, once an individual holds a certification in all three disciplines they become an IFMGA Mountain Guide––which is a fancy way of saying they have a PHD in Guiding!
The reality is it’s possible for anyone to call themselves a guide. But not anyone can call themselves a certified guide.
AMGA certification ensures a high level of expertise in guiding.
This is important because no matter if it’s a surgeon to fix your busted limb, a carpenter to build your house or an aesthetician to cut and dye your hair, trained and certified professionals guarantee the best results.
Mountain guiding is no different than any other profession. Certified guides give you the best bang for your buck because they’re trained to teach you best climbing and skiing practices using best guiding and instructional practices.
We value education and training above all else, and our guides have dedicated themselves to teach others climbing and skiing with patience and understanding.
Personally accomplished, inspiring, encouraging and supportive women, Chicks guides will stretch you mentally and physically, in a very good way. They will be mentors who become friends. We’ve seen first hand, and many testimonials confirm, that a strong, female role model is a huge confidence boost.