OURAY – The cover of Margo Talbot’s autobiographical book, All That Glitters: A Climber’s Journey Through Addiction and Depression, shows a fiercely focused woman ascending a pillar of ice that seems to have no beginning and no end.
That’s Talbot, gripping the handles of her bright orange ice axes as the world falls away beneath her into a murky blur. But Talbot is not concerned with the abyss. She is squinting straight up, climbing from darkness into the light, ascending into a sparkling, icy world of white.
The photo is a perfect metaphor for Talbot’s odyssey through years of neglect, sexual and psychological abuse as a child growing up in Canada, and an adulthood plagued by drug and alcohol addiction, messed-up relationships and soul-sucking depression. Now, her life has been transformed by her love for ice climbing, and her passion for empowering other women to learn the sport.
“Climbing is hard, but this remarkable story proves that the most difficult place to find is not a distant summit, but peace within the savage terrain between our ears,” writes professional climber Will Gadd of Talbot’s story, which has been out in the world now for about six months.
Talbot has spent much of that time helping others overcome debilitating depression and drug addiction through self-empowered healing. Throughout 2011 she shared her story as a professional speaker at mental health, drug addiction and depression-focused conferences.
“My intention in writing the book was to let people know that there is hope,” she said. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, even when there’s so much darkness that you cannot see it.” It is the book that she wishes had been there for her, when she was struggling through her own swamps of sadness. Now, it is a glittery beacon for others.
Talbot’s foray into authorship is quite recent. For years, though, she has been well known around these parts as one of Chicks with Picks’ infamous “girly guides,” teaching women of all abilities how to ice climb at the Ouray Ice Park every January and February.
“Margo is really good at keying into what women need, what they’re afraid of, and helping them face their fears by drawing metaphors between life and ice,” observed Chicks with Picks founder and “head chick,” Kim Reynolds. “But she doesn’t define herself by her story; I didn’t know any of her background until I read her book. It helps me understand who she is and why she is keyed into the more human experience of ice climbing."
This weekend, Talbot ushers in a new season of Chicks With Picks women’s ice climbing clinics with a slideshow presentation at the Ouray Community Center on Saturday, Jan. 14 that promises to take audience members on a vicarious journey of rage and joy, healing and redemption, and of course, some kick-axe climbing adventures.
Fittingly, the presentation is a fundraiser for the Tri County Women's Resource Center, a regional non-profit providing counseling, advocacy and shelter for adults and children who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The evening also includes a live auction, beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door, and all community members are welcome.
A second Chicks with Picks slideshow/auction fundraiser benefiting the Ouray Ice Park is scheduled for Saturday Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Ouray Community Center. Locals Kim Grant and Annie Quathmar will be presenting “INTREPID IN INDIA: Two girls, one country, eleven rivers!”
To learn more about the 2012 Chicks With Picks events, which get underway this weekend with a three-day clinic called “The Sampler,” visit www.chickswithpicks.net or call 970-623-2442.
Chicks Climbing is excited to announce the 2012 lineup of Chicks with Picks clinics:
The Sampler, Jan 13-16 – There’s a little something for everyone with the Sampler! This clinic focuses on the technical skills any self-sufficient chick needs in her ice-climbing tool kit. There will be three days of climbing during this 4-to-1 ratio clinic at the Ouray Ice Park and the opportunity to try out some sample gear, meet new climbing partners and, of course, improve ice-climbing skills.
The Complete, Jan. 25-29 – The backbone of the Chicks program, the Complete is our most popular and longest-running clinic. Within the four days of ice climbing at the Ouray Ice Park we also pack in yoga, workshops, and a skills day for specific instruction in rescue techniques, mixed climbing, alpine skills, and more, all at a 4-to-1 ratio.
The Quickie, Feb. 3-5 – This clinic is a great option for Chicks without a lot of time or money! Just like it sounds, the Quickie is a fast and packed two days of climbing at a 4-to-1 ratio. For those who want to cautiously test their ability to ice climb (or just the cold temps), this is the perfect clinic with very little commitment but still the high-quality instruction, demo gear, and networking events that are part of our longer clinics.
The Graduate, Feb. 3-6 – Are you ready to graduate to a new level of ice climbing? This clinic is for intermediate ice climbers and offers a 2-to-1 ratio to develop advanced skills outside the ice park in backcountry climbing. Our graduates will focus on avalanche awareness, terrain assessment, and efficient transitions in multi-pitch climbing on some classic San Juan backcountry climbs.
About Chicks Climbing
Chicks Climbing is the premier provider of women’s ice and rock climbing clinics in the U.S., teaching women of all abilities how to rock and ice climb. Chicks Climbing is entering its thirteenth year of hosting Chicks with Picks ice-climbing clinics in Ouray, Colo., and its third year of hosting Chicks Rock rock-climbing clinics in Devil’s Lake, Wisc., and Red Rocks, Nev.
For more information please contact Kim Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-626-4424.