Runout #15: Alpinist Kitty Calhoun of Chicks Climbing and Skiing

Its January 2019, and we are shivering our way through Ice Festival Season with perhaps the most renown of them all, the Ouray Icefest in Ouray, Colorado, just around the bend. Ouray, known by most Outta-Staters as OOOray, is also home to Chicks Climbing and Skiing.  From management through to clients, Chicks Climbing and Skiing is likely the only all women mountaineering school in the world.

They will be celebrating 20 years of teaching and inspiring women at this year’s Ouray Icefest with a panel and film about the mindset of women facing challenge in the mountains.

On today’s Runout, we are joined by Chicks partner and pioneer in women’s alpinism, Kitty Calhoun. When Kitty first started scratching up ice in the 70s, she was practically the only American women aspiring to the big peaks. Her career took her to the mountains of Peru, Bolivia, Alaska, and the Himalaya. There, she became the first American women to climb Dhualigiri, and the first woman to climb Makalu – leading an expedition that tackled the extremely technical West Pillar.

Kitty continued a legacy of guiding and leading small, technically oriented alpine style expeditions to big mountains worldwide. She got involved with Chicks Climbing and Skiing from its inception 20 years ago and finally was inspired to become an owner/partner in the school.

This is Chris Kalous, and I had the pleasure of hanging with Kitty some years back at the Cody Icefest, and let me tell you, she’s a women of power and grace, and just a lot of fun to be around. Joining me as usual, is Andrew Bisharat, and you are listening to the Runout.  

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