About Jen:

A climber and an ACMG/IFMGA mountain guide, my background is varied with a teaching degree, cooking in a backcountry ski lodge, an being an air traffic controller.

I have taken great pleasure participating in climbing expeditions and attending climbing festivals. In 2007,  I went to Pakistan with Lilla Molnar and put up a new route in the Nangmah Valley. I also participated in five first ascents of waterfall ice climbs in the remote Icefall Brooke region of the Canadian Rockies.


Favorite Climbing Goals:

Long granite alpine rock routes, mixed lines in the Canadian Rockies and being with friends on an intense adventure.

What do you do to relax?

Relax? Forced relaxation works best for me! (ie. waiting for a late plane or being weathered out in a remote location). Secretly I love: drinking dark beer or red wine , watching movies and lying in bed reading.

Where did you grow up? Calgary, Alberta

How long have you been active in the mountains doing what you do? since early 1990’s

Who introduced you to the mountains? My parents took me skiing and camping; the University of Calgary ODPU Program (Outdoor Pursuits) friends and professors, finally the ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guidos) and guiding community.

What does your family think of what you do? A bit scary, and they prefer not to think about it, but they seem to accept and respect my passion.

What do you see yourself doing in 10 years from now? Teaching/guiding as well as something with my brain.  And “of course” still doing cool trips.

What do you do in your free time when you are not climbing?

Yoga, reading, watching dance and wishing I was dancing.  Time with loved ones.

Mountains and Me?

They define me. They motivate me. They inspire me. They offer me a place of work, a place to test myself.  They provide intense experiences shared with close friends.

Grandiose, beauty, peace, relentless, driving force, life, hardship, toil.

The summit is only a halfway point, but nonetheless there is a reward from summiting that is felt more greatly days and months after reaching the top.

Before starting. I feel hopeful, adventurous but intimidated. A desire to explore; uncover the unknown. Bold and small at the same time. Agro and frail. Fear the worst, yet visualize a grand success.

After a climb?    Relief, satisfaction, self-review (self critique and analysis), proud, minimization of achievement (it was easy or it wasn’t so bad/hard), we are the shit!


It’s a Beautiful Thing

(A poem by Jen Olson)

(This poem was inspired while approaching one of the many magnificent awe-inspiring routes of the seldom visited and of mythical legends:  Icefall Brook.)


I love the feeling, the moment of release, it’s satiating, almost tingling…

Wondrous, captivating, enticing and so candid.

Free to be me! Uninhibited, daring to perform unequivocal feats, meeting challenges face to face,

Oh the joy, the elation, the satisfaction of abandoning fears, they float away to be replaced by intention and focus.

All this by just:

Farting in the wilderness.

20 responses to “About Jen:

  1. Kare Nelson

    I’m proud of you Jen.
    I had no idea you could be so creative and insightful about farting….you are a rare breed.
    When in CYEG come see me!

  2. Aunty Kay

    You rock Jen! We are all so proud – and yes it is scary what you do – but very inspiring what you achieve!

    Love, kisses & hugs from the Ness Clan. – PS are you coming for Thanksgiving?


  3. old fashion guy

    Jen, congratulations to pass the exam to become UIAA Mountain Guide. Welcome in the club. See you next time in Switzerland.

    David H.

  4. Auntie Bonnie

    A climber & a poet, eh?
    I forgot about that cooking time of your life – next get together – Jen’s cooking!
    I’ll be looking forward to it!

  5. nice page old sister! (I meant oldest)…
    Good poem for sure, and well put together. Is this a good venue for sponsors or what!! Bring on the patagonia and gortex and whatever, I don’t know what brands you guys love, but if you build it they will come and this is an awsome venue for that. More toques!! Toques for everyone!
    Congrats on your massive achievment and be careful sleeping up on the cliffs there.
    Do you really think you can compete with Aunty Bonnie’s cooking? We better have a cook off. I will bring the tupperware, to take home the left overs of course.

  6. Serge Score


    Here I was doing some research on climbing (my 5yr daughter is into indoor climbing) I came upon your site.

    Very pleased to see that you are still the adventurous/artistic/insightful soul that I first met more than a decade ago.

    My daughter and I enjoyed looking at your photos. She thinks climbing in the snow would be “my favorite fun”.

    All the best.

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  8. Eddy Park

    Hi Jen,

    I was refered to you by Jen Reilly from Squamish. I am need of an ice climbing guide for the next winter season. My company wants to look into the possibility of having and ‘Ice Climbing Tour’ to the Canadian Rockies. The tours would involve showing 10+ experienced Korean ice climbers around the popular areas and climbs of the Rockies. We are looking at ‘cragging’ options and maybe taking a couple on a multi pitch.

    If you are interested, please email me back.

    Talk to you soon.

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  10. Tracy Martin

    Hi Jen,
    I see that we will be climbing together in july for the AAC’s Iranian Women’s Climbing Program. We also have a mutual friend, Alison Osius. Anyway, I just wanted to say hi.
    Tracy Martin

  11. Hi Jen – I love your blog!

    I’m a national newspaper journalist in England who is part of a group putting together a new ‘extreme’ outdoor sports and travel website. The site is also an environmental and social and enterprising in design.

    As I’m putting together articles and sourcing videos and photos at the moment, I was wondering whether there was any chance of you submitting some copy for us on climbing? It would be great to get more women on board. I can obviously credit you and send you a link to the site when it’s up?

    Maybe you would like to submit things on a regular basis further down the line?

    We believe we will have a lot of people visiting the site when it is ready and have people contributing from all over the world so our reach should be quite large.

    Any help you can give us would be great. Get in touch at gemma.features@hotmail.co.uk

    Many thanks for reading

    Gemma Wise

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  13. Cody graham

    Please contact me , I have started a corporate challenge to help you reach your goal.

  14. Duncan McNabb

    Hey Jen, saw that clip on CBC this is your Vancouver, I think it was called, it was a good one. Hope you are having a great time in Sochi. Miss your smiley face in the left seat of the 212 at RK. Call me when you are in Canada 250 575 0209 . Look forward to catching up. Cheers, Duncan McNabb

  15. Pingback: Women's Climbing Festival comes to Squamish - Mountain Life

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