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Meet our Guide: Dawn Glanc

Meet Our Guide: Ryan Riggins
July 28, 2014
Trip Video: Vestal Peak via Wham Ridge
August 13, 2014


Dawn Glanc, pronounced, “Glance”, was born and raised in Brunswick, Ohio. In 1996, at the age of 21, she moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota. This is where she learned to rock and ice climb. After 8 years in the hills, Dawn wanted to explore bigger mountains and more complex terrain. In 2004, Dawn moved to Bellingham, Washington, to begin a career as a Mountain Guide. She now works year round as a certified rock climbing and alpine climbing guide. Dawn is certified by the American Mountain Guide Association. She has guided clients of all ages, and clients with varying levels of abilities. Dawn is now based in Ouray, Colorado.

How long have you been a guide?

I started guiding right after college. I started as a part time guide in 1998 as a belayer for basic courses. In 2004 I moved to Bellingham, WA and started guiding full time. I have been with SJMG since December 2005.

Why did you want to be a guide?

I first became a guide because I loved climbing and I wanted to be paid to do it. As the years have gone on, I stay with this career because I still have a lot of passion for climbing and I find it very rewarding to share this passion with others.

What is the most rewarding experience of being a guide?

The most rewarding thing about guiding is when a client is truly ignited by the climbing experience. It is so exciting to see the initial spark that triggers the giant smile and the new found love of climbing that will forever capture them.

What’s the best part of guiding in the San Juan Mountains?

I love the San Juan Mountains. They are so beautiful and wild. This is my back yard and I like to share that with others. Plus I sleep in my bed at night. That is a coveted thing as a guide.

What is one lesson or perspective a client has taught you after a course /trip?

I am constantly reminded that I have to face my fears. I watch clients every day overcome a mental obstacle and it pushes me to do the same. It is so inspiring to watch a client step up and face their challenge.

What’s your go-to “On the Trail” snack or meal?

Snicker bars are my number one choice for a snack when I am in the field.

If you had a spirit animal what would it be and why?

I am drawn to the raven. They are big, strong, beautiful and very intelligent. They are social yet very independent. They also adapt to all environments.

What’s the one thing people usually don’t know about Mtn. Guides?

This is an unofficial statement, but most of the guides I have ever met have gross feet. They either stink, are full of some nail funk or they are deformed from being stuffed in old boots and shoes. Guides are not typically barefoot models.5s-iceland-feb-22-2013-375

What’s the one thing you want to do when you get back from an extended trip?

I want to take a long hot shower and eat a good meal at a table.

Describe a personal EPIC you have had and how it worked out?

In 2012, the Thursday before the Ouray ice fest, I was climbing a bolted mixed route in the park. As I climbed onto the 20 foot free hanging dagger, the ice cracked and I rode the dagger as it fell. Eventually, the last bolt I had clipped and the rope pulled me off the dagger and into the rock. The force of my fall pulled my belayer off the ground. Even though we were both completely freaked out, my belayer and I walked away from the scene unharmed. Neither one of us had a scratch. To say we were lucky is an under statement.

What’s one lesson or phrase that the mountains have taught you?

The mountains and climbing have taught me so many lessons it is hard to pick just one to discuss. I know that I would not be the person I am today if I had not had these outdoor experiences. I continue to learn about myself and my environment every time I go out.

Red Bull Vodka - Fred Marmsater