Women's Programs

Kathy on Alpamayo

Many women feel that going climbing, learning to climb, or participating in a climbing expedition, can be more rewarding with a group of other women. This may be for specific reasons, or just because it seems more challenging, or more relaxed and enjoyable to them, or in order to make contacts among other women who share their passion for climbing.

To the extent that there is a competitive element in climbing, women can challenge each other in a productive way: undisputed equals can often bring out the best performances in each other through a spirit of friendly competition. Such competition is nearly always supportive; we learn and gain the most from striving with a worthy competitor, and we wish them to succeed, so that measuring up to them will be a meaningful achievement for us.

But climbing is also a social activity, it's about friendship and spending time with people we like and relate to. And this is another area in which women can often gain the most in the company of other women. Some of us dislike the competitive element in many sports, and prefer to take part in outdoor pursuits where competition is not a necessary element, and where people can just enjoy the experience of a rewarding day in a beautiful environment, with people they trust and feel easy with.

When I was learning to climb, I often felt I lacked confidence and a sense of fun in climbing, until I fell in with a group of female friends who loved going out in the mountains together. With them I learned about the unique companionship that the mountains can bring to us when we face challenges together, cheer each other on, help each other cope, and just plain have fun together.

Many of the trips and areas where I guide, seem to me a perfect venue for women's trips and climbs, whether for the purposes of learning to climb, improving climbing skills, or attaining a specific objective.

Kathy Cosley
UIAGM Internationally Licensed Mountain Guide

AMGA Certified • SNGM Membre
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Booking info
If you or your group of friends or family have a particular expeditionary goal or perhaps simply wish to keep your climbing group small, we recommend you arrange a private program with Kathy. Kathy has conducted many private programs and her guests have always found them to be the most rewarding way in which to climb. A private group has a number of significant advantages;
  • First is flexibility, you can do what you what when you want. A complete change of plans can normally be easily accommodated.
  • Complete adjustment to individual needs for acclimatization, fitness, or just plain curiosity.
  • A private program allows you to maximize your climbing potential by avoiding being held back by other climbers on your trip.
  • Safety and speed. Lower ratios are generally safer and can move faster in alpine terrain.
  • Food, your favorite wine, how you like your coffee, all tailored to your personal preferences.
Expedition Guiding Fees
Normally we conduct private expeditions on a "cost plus" basis. You or your group pay for expenses incurred during the program, either with a deposit in advance or as the trip progresses. In addition to these expenses we charge a portion of other fixed costs we incur in traveling in the destination country, travel to and from the US and minor other expenses. These expenses are shared equally among all Kathy's guiding days there during a season, so the exact amount per day varies depending on how much work she is doing in that location that year.

Finally we add a daily guides fee.

European Guiding Fees In the Alps Kathy charges a daily rate for guiding. The fees are on a per day rate and vary with trip length and climber to guide ratio. They include all of Kathy's expenses as well as group climbing gear, but do not include these expenses for the climber.
If you think you might be interested in a custom program, give us a call and we can discuss how to make it best fit your needs.

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Joshua Tree Women's Week, late March, 2008

I plan to teach a week long rock climbing seminar in Joshua Tree with Marian Marbury of Adventures In Good Company. Check out our web page for particulars of the trip. This should be a really fun and rewarding week of climbing and skills development for women of all experience levels. I hope you can join us.

"Chicks with Picks", early February, 2008

Back by popular demand, is the annual "chicks with Pick's Ice Festival in Ouray, Colorado. Kathy will once again be one of the distinguished crew of instructors in this high energy and much too much fun event. For more information you can ask Kathy or contact the "Chicks" staff at www.chickswithpicks.net.


The Alps offers arguably the best alpine climbing in the world. The peaks are spectacular, the routes exceptional in character and quality, and the access and other amenities incredibly user friendly. There is so much to do there that it is hard to know where to begin.

Rock Climbing

The south of France has an incredible number of fine cragging areas. Some of them, such as the Gorge du Verdon include very long routes, up to 20 pitches in length. The limestone in all of these areas is a joy to climb, intricate and complex, it requires a thinking approach.


I hardly need to go into the options here. We are all too aware of the fame of the Matterhorn, Eiger and Mont Blanc. But despite their notoriety they offer really good climbing. And there are innumerable other summits with every type of climb imaginable, for al levels. See our Alps page for more choices and our Choosing a Climb page for advice.

Ski Touring & Mountaineering

Skiing touring in the Alps is unlike ski touring anywhere else in the world. The system of high huts allows the skier to travel with only very light daypacks. Food, shelter, blankets and a comfortable bed can be had in huts served only by helicopter. In addition to the famous Haute Route, we also enjoy skiing in the Berner Oberland, hut hopping, while bagging occasional summits. Our Haute Route Page and Berner Oberland page have more information.


I have been leading climbing expeditions to many of the worlds peaks for many years. An expedition is a unique opportunity to make fast friendships that continue with the years, to test one's "mettle" at altitude or on a larger objective, or to see another part of the world. A women's expedition can be enjoyable anywhere in the world. Some of the areas I have gone most often and enjoyed most are,

The Cordillera Blanca of Peru

The Ishinca Valley is a great place for both very experienced high altitude alpinists and those that want to get a first taste of high altitude climbing. There are many peaks, with routes of all difficulties, that are accessed from a single base camp See our Ishinca page for more details.

Also, our expedition to Chopicalqui is a longer and more difficult trip, but visit more of the Cordillera Blanca.

Peru is of course a fascinating country with a dramatic history, beautifully preserved in the Inca ruins and monuments of Cuzco and Machu Picchu, which must not be missed!

Bolivia's Cordillera Real

The Cordillera Real includes several areas of great interest to climbers.

Huayna Potosí, barely 20,000 feet, and easy of access from the high altitude city of La Paz;

Illimani, 21,201 feet, beautifully and prominently visible from La Paz, is a serious endeavor rewarding fitness and stamina with a commanding view from its cold summit.

The Condoriri group offers several "smaller" peaks ranging from about 16,000 to over 18,000 feet high. The routes available from a 15,000 foot base camp, vary in difficulty from multi pitch technical ice and snow faces on Pequeño Alpamayo and Pyramide Blanca, to the moderate but exposed ridge line of Cerro Condoriri, and several others.

Ancohuma and Illampu, in the northern extremity of the range, involve demanding climbing in a very remote setting. Situated near each other, the two are often combined into a 3 week expedition.

Bolivia is still relatively "un-touristic", and interesting to visit. Lake Titicaca and the Altiplano are home to an amazingly self sufficient and hardy population of native Aymara Indians.


Aconcagua is the highest peak in the world outside of Asia and an attractive goal for climbers who want to push their experience at altitude. Click to go to Aconcagua page.


The volcanoes of the Ecuadorian Andes are accessible, beautiful, physically challenging and rewarding. Cayambe, Chimborazo, and Cotopaxi are the most famous, and are possible to climb in a surprisingly short 2 week trip. But even more challenging objectives can be found in the more remote Illinizas, El Altar, or Antisana. Ecuador itself is a beautiful and friendly country with a tremendous amount to see and do besides climbing, from the wildlife of the Galapagos to the Amazonian jungle of the oriente. Click to go to Ecuador page.


These are just a few of the trips we lead on a regular basis. For more information about these and other opportunities around the world, send us anote or give us a call to answer your questions.

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