Industry News 5/14/2015

B$Z: New Owners Take the Helm at Chicks Climbing

Chicks Climbing, the premier provider of women’s rock and ice climbing instruction, today announces the official transfer of ownership from founder Kim Reynolds to a new ownership team. A seasoned group of five professional guides and climbers who have been leading Chicks Climbing for many years are now on the sharp end, leading the organization into its next era.

The new ownership team includes: Kitty Calhoun, Dawn Glanc, Angela Hawse, Elaina Arenz, and Karen Bockel.

Chicks Climbing was founded 16 years ago when Reynolds identified a huge gap in the experience climbing could offer for women.

“As I watched the sport of climbing grow, I saw few women taking the lead in this seemingly intimidating activity,” Reynolds said. “I saw an opportunity for women to learn from other women and gain the confidence needed to become proficient, self-reliant climbers and climbing partners.”

The many, many participants who have experienced a Chicks Climbing clinic over the past 16 years are proof of concept on Reynolds’ vision.

The most important facet of that vision is the level of professionalism that Reynolds prioritized to create a true Chicks Climbing experience. The years of time on the rock and ice, as well as the certifications, are evident in the women who guide for Chicks Climbing. The organization touts the most highly qualified female climbing guides in North America. The ratio of participants to guides never exceeds 4:1.

“Perhaps the best part of this change of leadership of Chicks Climbing is the fact that my most experienced and trusted guides are now the owners of the organization,” Reynolds said. “Chicks Climbing clients climb with the most experienced and seasoned female guides in the best rock and ice climbing areas in the country.”

The guide/participant interaction takes place at the crags during the day and continues during dinners and evenings together, and even well beyond the clinics.

“Chicks Climbing is a tight-knit community that’s growing,” said Kitty Calhoun. “The women who climb with Chicks have an incredible, memorable experience – for many it’s life-changing. As the new ownership team, we’re 100% committed and looking forward to furthering and growing the excellent reputation of Chicks Climbing.”

As a side benefit, Chicks Climbing alumni get a membership to a cutting-edge community of women dedicated to self-discovery through climbing. The Chicks website and newsletter have also grown into the hub women looking for information not only on upcoming events, but also on gear, training, nutrition, and gossip.

The Chicks community is rooted in the spirit of giving back, which Reynolds established in the organization from day 1. Chicks has raised money for women’s charities and the Ouray Ice Park though slideshows and auctions, which have been an integral focus of the Chicks Climbing winter clinics. Over the years, Chicks Climbing has raised over $200,000 as part of its giveback program. Additionally, Chicks is sponsored by several amazing partner companies in the outdoor industry, all of which share in the giveback commitment of Chicks Climbing.

Through the past 16 years, Chicks Climbing has evolved and grown. In 2009, Chicks Rock was created and rock climbing clinics in New River Gorge, Keene Valley, Devils Lake, Red Rocks, and later Indian Creek, were added.

Later this year, a new chapter begins for Chicks Climbing that includes on-snow adventures. Ski mountaineering and alpine climbing will be added to the line-up as well as new event locations. Details of a new ice climbing event in Iceland, a new rock climbing event in Red River Gorge, and a new ski event in Southwest Colorado will be announced on the Chicks Climbing and Skiing website soon.