Kitty Calhoun

Perhaps most of all, I appreciate all the ways I have grown emotionally and spiritually through climbing.

I am a "jack of all trades" climber, based with husband Jay Smith in Castle Valley, Utah ( desert crack climbing) in spring and fall and in Ouray, Colorado (ice, mixed and sport) in winter and summer. I also enjoy climbing big walls in Yosemite. However, I am best known for my alpine routes in Alaska (FA Ride the Lighting on Middle Triple Peak), Peru (second ascent Bouchard Route, S.Face Chacraraju), and Nepal (NE Ridge Dhaulagiri, first American woman and W.Pillar Makalu, first woman). I could also list numerous other routes that, while trying valiantly, I failed on.

My inspirations for climbing are many. There is of course the beauty, the partnerships, the exposure to other cultures. Learning to be a better climber in all aspects and pushing myself physically as hard as I can are important. Perhaps most of all, I appreciate all the ways I have grown emotionally and spiritually through climbing.

Climbing is also my profession. I guided for years internationally as an alpine guide. For the past 15 years, I have been coaching exclusively for Chicks Climbing in the US - rock and ice clinics with slide shows and auctions. Through these events, we have raised more than $190,000, which we have given back to local women's shelters. I have also been giving slide shows and talks (see my tedx talk online) about Last Ascents, routes that I've done that may not get a repeat due to climate change.

In addition to climbing and coaching, I like to spend time with my son, who has gotten me interested in American football. We also like to ski and lift weights together.


Highlights
  • Watch Kitty's TEDxTalk (Moses Brown School, Providence, RI, October 2013)
  • Ascent of the Diamond Couloir on Mt. Kenya, Africa
  • Ascent of Salathé Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite, California
  • Ascent of Dhaulagiri, Nepal
  • Ascent of the West Pillar of Makalu, Nepal
  • First ascent of the West Face of Middle Triple Peak, Alaska
  • Extensive work with the Castleton Tower Preservation and Chicks with Picks
  • Ascent of Aurora (5.8 A4), El Capitan, Yosemite, California
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