Upon my return from Ouray and the Betty Ice Ball, my husband and I stopped in our local liquor store to grab some brews to go with dinner. As I shoved a 12-pack sampler of New Belgium (they were Ice Ball sponsors, but apparently I didn’t get enough over the weekend) onto the counter, the man behind the register smiled at me and said:“I am really impressed with you.” The hub and I looked at each other.“My wife would never carry the beer to the counter,” liquor store guy said. “Or pump her own gas.” I resisted the urge to inform him that I’d spent my weekend on ice and rock with some of the finest climbers on the planet doing scary things that would make him cry like a little girl — and that those climbers were all Chicks.Forty-four women gathered in Ouray on January 30, 2009, for the first Betty Ice Ball, a weekend take on the usual week of instruction Chicks With Picks offers every winter in the ice park.The Ice Ball commemorated the tenth anniversary of Chicks With Picks (CWP), the women’s ice climbing program that ice hardwoman Kim Reynolds started in 1999. Women of every skill level — some lead hard ice and mixed routes, others are learning to tie a figure 8 for the first time — can sign on for clinics with guides who grace the pages of Climbing with FAs and competition wins, like Dawn Glanc, this year’s Ouray ice comp winner.Since the Ball marked 10 years of Chicks With Picks, Reynolds took the event as an opportunity to honor Kitty Calhoun, who has served as a guide for every Chicks since the program’s inception.At the end of the Friday night auction, Reynolds presented Calhoun with a hand-made bench — “In case Kitty ever decides she wants to sit down.”Chicks gives back to the local community, too. The proceeds from evening gear auctions — Friday night’s totaled $6,500 — went to the not-for-profit Ouray Ice Park during the ice ball, but other Chicks auctions have benefited women’s shelters. To date, CWP is the biggest donor to the Tri-County Resource Center of Montrose, Colo.
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