EP 2 Elaina Arenz


Elaina is an AMGA Rock Guide, Apprentice Alpine Guide, and AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Provider Trainer as well as a Level 2 IRATA/SPRAT Rope Access Technician.
She owns New River Mountain Guides and splits her time guiding in New River Gorge in summer and Red Rock Canyon in the rest of the year. She is currently a board member of the AMGA.

Show Notes:

Mentioned Articles and Videos:

Elaina’s Links:


00:00:00 – Intro

00:04:00 – Getting into climbing, benefited from positive encouragement

00:06:50 – Epic road trip from Alaska -> Texas -> El Potrero Chico. first taste of vanlife

07:50:00 – Started the EPC (El Potrero Chico) days

09:00:00 – Owning and running a business in EPC with Kurt Smith, marketing EPC etc

00:10:20 – Guiding in EPC, making business work

00:11:01 – Climbing and learning from a stronger and more experienced climbing partner and he was also the sigfinicant other

00:12:25 – Pros and cons climbing with the significant other

00:14:25 – Feeing Pressure to perform but overall a very positive experience

00:14:57 – Developing sport climbing routes, learned how to place bolts but most importantly developed an eye for a new line, really enjoyed the process

00:16:12 – the art of finding a new sport climbing line, learned to see features, line of the least resistance

00:18:57 – Women’s photos on Climbing Magazine back in the 90s

00:20:23 – Looking up to local stronger woman climbers

00:21:53 – worked with role model Lynn Hill and how the relationships from early climbing days helped with Elaina’s latter pursuits

00:24:05 – whether growing up with three brothers helped Elaina navigate male-dominated fields?

00:25:20 – inspired and influenced by Craig Luebben Elaina opened a door to AMGA

00:27:03 – Feeling the need to gain higher certification because owning a guiding business

00:28:15 – Elaina’s childhood dream and how climbing “hijacked” her career

00:30:48 – 20+ years of guiding and instructing from working in a climbing gym -> EPC -> New River Mountain Guides -> Chicks Climbing and Skiing -> Red Rock Canyon

00:32:36 – Why guiding? rewards from guiding

00:33:53 – from Top Rope Site Management to taking more advanced AMGA course and exams

00:35:08 – how AMGA evolved during the past decades in Elaina’s eyes

00:37:06 – Reflecting on the experience forming a team with Tracy Martin to finish the Rock Guide track

00:42:35 – talking about challenges being a female guide and at New River Mountain Guides who request female guides

00:44:35 – not gender specific challenges in guiding. How Elaina managed the dilemma between work and play

00:47:10 – changes Elaina sees in guiding and climbing communities

00:48:10 – what Elaina chose to be a board member of the AMGA

00:50:28 – AMGA’s SOP (Scope of Practice)

00:52:10 – Differences between a guide and a climbing friend

00:54:00 – Elaina’s time management plan. Ask for help, prioritize, delegate

00:55:45 – At the start of AMGA’s affinity programs

00:57:30 – Where are Elaina’s past SPI students from the affinity programs? some keep pursuing guiding and some chose different paths

00:58:19 – Is guiding a good career choice? Rich in experience not so much in $$$?

00:59:40 – After establishing herself well in guiding, Elaina started to diversify, for example: rope access

01:01:55 – Rope access work another man-dominated field

01:05:01 – Coming back to affinity programs, the start and the end of Chicks Climbing and Skiing

01:09:37 – Stayed calm through all the twists and turns by be more prepared and giving herself buffer

01:11:08 – Exciting new hobby, dirt biking

01:14:38 – How to find Elaina and closing thoughts