Spring is in the Air and I’m Dreaming of Winter

Dawn Glanc, co-owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing, ice-climbing, Second Gully, Silverton, Co

Dawn Glanc, co-owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing, on the prowl for spring-time ice with a wild-child smile, Second Gully, Silverton, Co. ©Pat Ormond

March is my favourite month.

It’s still winter. The skiing and ice climbing are at their best. My desire to get out and play is childlike and wild.

Yet, I feel winter slipping away. The stronger sun is trying to help spring arrive.

Ice climbing season is ending in front of my eyes.

As the ice melts, I continue to feel the need to climb it. The sun warms my face, and I also feel the need for spring.

It is a weird dichotomy. Some call it March Madness. I want my first love, which is ice. I also want the ease of sport climbing—to be comfortable in only one layer of long underwear. A tank top would be too much, too fast.

They say March “comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb.”

For me, this means it’s the month to hunt down and tackle the last of winter, then gambol about on some sunny, spring rock.

I urge you to take on the last of winter. Roar and rope up, or click in, before the magical winter wonderland melts away.

At the same time I urge you to get ready for rock climbing. Go to the gym during the week and follow the Chicks: 8-Week Rock Climbing Training Program outlined below.

Bluebird rock climbing days will be here soon enough and if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself dreaming of winter.

If you’re not like me, and, instead you think I’m mad for wanting winter to stick around, the good news is, it won’t. Spring is in the air!

I hope to see you all on the rock this season!

4-Minute Tape Glove – Step By Step Guide

Sometimes you need hardy a tape glove that last day after day jammed in cracks, but sometimes you arrive at the crag and a crack route just calls to you. No sweat, bust out that roll of tape that’s been bumping around in your pack for the last few months and create this quick and easy tape glove for sending success.

Think it’s impossible?  Think again!

1) Lay vertical tape strips across the back of your hand

2) Create a finger cuff for your pointer and your ring finger

3) Secure the finger cuffs with 2-3 wraps around the palm

4) Secure the bottom of the vertical tape strips with 3-4 wrist wraps

Watch Dawn do it in less than 4 minutes in our latest video.

climbing tape glove

Chicks On Steep Standstone – Red River Gorge Trip

Written by: Laura Sabourin

Chicks Rock Red River Gorge. Photo by: Brendan Leader.

Chicks Rock Red River Gorge. Photo by: Brendan Leader.

Fifteen ladies joined Chicks Guides Dawn Glanc, Elaina Arenz, Rachel Avallone, and Laura Sabourin for a beautiful Labor Day weekend in the Red River Gorge. The three day clinic was jam-packed with climbing, skill development, and laughter. The participants ranged widely in experience, from beginning climbers tying in and belaying for the first time to chicks alumni honing their trad skills and learning to give the perfect lead belay. It was so inspiring to see the women support each other over the three days to push their limits and achieve their goals.Our days were spent enjoying the steep sandstone of Muir Valley Nature Preserve, a privately owned climbing area in the southern region of The Gorge. Muir Valley is the perfect learning environment for climbers of all levels. The crags host a high concentration of moderate routes to work on new techniques, and the practice anchor stations at the base of each crag are perfect for practicing technical skills.

While the women came from diverse backgrounds, climbing together helped them bond and form life-long friendships. One woman came to the clinic on her own with no climbing experience. As a single mom of two teenage daughters-working full time and going to school- it was difficult to get time off for herself. She had been interested in attending a clinic for a long time, and finally made it work over the holiday. She had many personal breakthroughs over the weekend, from learning to belay to getting to the top of her first route. On the last day, two groups joined together to encourage her to climb a 5.8, her hardest route of the trip. This is the magic of Chicks events; the community comes together to support each other and discover abilities that they never knew existed within them.

Chicks Refueling. Photo by: Brendan Leader.

Chicks Refueling. Photo by: Brendan Leader.

After a full day of climbing, the Chicks returned to their luxury accommodations at the Cliffview Resort. The spacious kitchen offered Dawn space to prepare delicious meals for the crew, including her famous, made-from-scratch salsa and guacamole. After dinner, we bonded over games of pool, relaxed our muscles in the hot tubs on the back porch, and shared stories and pictures in the common area. This beautiful, comfortable staging area was the perfect setting for our clinic. We cannot thank Cliffview Resort enough for sponsoring this program!

Our participants left the weekend with smiles on their faces and a new community of friends and climbing partners. It is always hard to leave after so much fun, but the women have plenty of skills to practice before their next clinic. We are so proud of all of the ladies’ achievements this weekend. Another great clinic at the Red River Gorge is in the books.

Save the date for 2017 when we return on Sept 1-4, 2017.

Chicks Tech Tip – Retrieving a Quickdraw Using a Stick Clip

Ever had to leave a quickdraw behind? Never again – this month’s Chicks Tech Tip with Dawn Glanc shows you how to use your stick clip to quickly retrieve your draw!


Chicks Tech Tip: Climbing with Kids

Everyone one of us was born a natural climber. This is obvious when we observe young children. Each child has the natural curiosity to climb. Many of us grew up without the opportunity to rock climb. Instead we climbed on furniture, jungle gyms and trees. At some point parents stop this natural exploratory process by scolding the child and saying “get down, you are going to get hurt.” Kids will be kids, and they will continue to climb. When the child falls, the parent quickly scolds the child again and says “see, this is what happens when you climb on things”. Now many years later, most of us can reflect back and relate to being scolded by a parent for climbing. How many of us wish we could of started climbing at a younger age? With young kids, we should facilitate the learning process, instead of stifling the kids climbing tendency.I have worked with many kids of different ages and maturity levels over the years. Boys and girls both love to climb. However, anytime you work with kids climbing you can hit major roadblocks. Here are a few tips to help you have fun at the crag with kids.

Rope Swings

A child can start climbing as soon as they can wear a harness. Most major brands make a full body harness for very small kids. If the kids are completely new to the rope system, just have them move high enough off of the ground to swing and bounce on the ropes. Repeat the mantra “no matter how high you go, the rope and harness will always catch you the same”. The goal is to instill confidence with the rope systems and have fun swinging.
climbing kids

Indigo doing her “gnar wall unicorn dance”

It’s not about the top

Many kids are intimidated by the overall size of an objective. Break down the climb into more tangible steps. Encourage kids to set a smaller goal before leaving the ground. For example, If the goal is to get to “the Third bolt” just focus on getting to the high point with as many hangs and in as much time as it takes. Let the child hang and bounce on the rope whenever needed. The idea is to get comfortable with being off the ground and focusing on a task. If they don’t make it to the goal, that’s okay too. Make it a project and try again next time.

Chalk bag treats

A great way to help kids climbing on the wall is to fill a chalk bag with treats. Skittles,jellybeans and popcorn work well because they will not melt in the bag. As the child climbs, they can have a chalkbag treat when they get scared or if they just need to hang on the rope. This will encourage the kids to stop, relax and re-evaluate the situation when feeling distressed. It’s like a time out, but with reward.
Orion stopping for a chalkbag treat.

Orion stopping for a chalk bag treat.


Climbing is not rocket science. Many of the skills we do, are not mentally challenging. However, the skills and techniques we use have real consequences. Kids often want to take on some of the responsibilities when climbing. It’s okay to let kids belay if the are being closely supervised. This helps the kids engage with climbing on a different level and allows them to have more ownership in the experience. Sometimes after they get comfortable with the techniques and the process, kids like belaying  more than the climbing.
Kids at the voyager youth camp call the ATC the old fashion belay device.

Kids at the voyager youth camp call the ATC the old fashion belay device.

You are never too old or too young to start climbing. No matter your age, the goal is to have fun and enjoy the outing. Perhaps some of the tips can work on adults as well.


Dawn Glanc is a guide and Co-owner of Chicks. She works with kids and loves every minute of it.

Spring Gear Cleaning

If you are like me, you threw your rock gear into the garage or gear closet at the end of the rock season in anticipation of the forming ice. The rock gear was stored away without much inspection. Now the seasons are changing, and the ice is melting away. It is time to dust off your rock gear and get ready for another great season. As you sort through your gear you should include an inspection of each item to be sure you start the season off with a clean kit. Here are a few high use items to give some extra attention to during your preseason checkup.

Belay Devices:

belay gear

Belay devices do not last forever. It is important to look at the climber side/back side of the device. The rope friction can cause sharp edges to form. This photo shows a device that has developed grooves that are quite sharp. If your device is developing this type of groove, consider replacing it.


GriGris can get very dirty. This dirt transfers to your rope and drives particles into the nylon strands. Take an old toothbrush and quickly scrub away the black gunk that accumulated last season. No water or special cleaners are needed.

GriGri Gear



The carabiners on the market today are very lightweight, unfortunately this often means the durability is low. Take a look at your belay carabiners and the carabiners on your quickdraws. If you can see a groove, feel for the depth and for any sharp edges. If you have any doubt, replace this carabiner. The questionable carabiner can be rotated into your quiver to become a utility carabiner. I typically retire the carabiner to a job that does not involve movement of the rope.



The rope is our life line. We must be sure this piece of equipment is ready to for a long season. If rope has fuzzy spots, be sure to examine this spot thoroughly. Check for soft spots and white core strands coming through. You can cut out the bad spots, but be sure to remember that the rope will be shorter and middle markers will be offset.

If your rope is black with dirt, consider washing the rope. To wash the rope, lay it in a bathtub. Fill the tub with warm water, swish and agitate the rope in the water. Drain the tub. REPEAT until the water runs clear. To dry, hang the rope over the shower curtain rod. Be sure to lay a towel down to collect the dripping water. If you choose to use a rope wash, follow the manufacturer’s directions.



The lightweight helmets available are not very burly. They typically cannot take multiple seasons. Take a look at your helmet and look for cracks and dents. If your helmet is looking beat up, consider replacing it.

It is up to you to be sure your gear is clean and ready to go. Don’t hose your partner by showing up with neglected dirty gear. Set yourself up for success with a little attention ahead of time. Happy climbing everyone!

Written by Chicks Co-owner Dawn Glanc. Don’t miss your chance to climb with her and the other great Chicks guides this rock season.


Smiling Ear to Ear at Red River Gorge

Written by: Dawn Glanc

Ladies from all over the eastern United States came together on Labor Day weekend in 2016 to climb on some of the best sandstone in the country in Red River Gorge, KY. The sold out event was full of women who wanted to become stronger more efficient climbers.

The guide team of Dawn Glanc, Elaina Arenz, Rachel Avallone and Laura Sabourin helped each woman meet their goals. Each guide was able to work with the ladies individually to be sure their personal climbing goals for the clinic were met. Some women touched the rock for the first time ever and others learned to lead climb and place trad gear.

It was awesome to watch the progress of each participant throughout the weekend. After two hot and humid days of climbing, everybody was exhausted but smiling ear to ear.

We’re headed to the Red River Gorge again on September 28-30, 2018–join us!  Photos by Dawn Glanc.

Elaina getting warmed up at Red River Gorge

Elaina getting warmed up at Red River Gorge

Thanks to Petzl For the Demo Gear. The ladies loved the helmets!

Thanks to Petzl For the Demo Gear. The ladies loved the helmets!

Thanks to Krieg Chalk bags and Friction Labs for making climbing possible in the humidity

Thanks to Krieg Chalk bags and Friction Labs for making climbing possible in the humidity

Judy was smiling after 4 days in the Red River Gorge

Judy was smiling after 4 days in the Red River Gorge

Red River Gorge 2015

Red River Gorge 2015

RRG Guides Dawn Glanc, Elaina Arenz, Rachel Avallone & Laura Sabourin

RRG Guides Dawn Glanc, Elaina Arenz, Rachel Avallone & Laura Sabourin

Chicks guides & owners, Elaina & Dawn, thank everyone for joining us in RRG!

Chicks guides & owners, Elaina & Dawn, thank everyone for joining us in RRG!