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Dawn Glanc

Date of Surgery: 4/2/2019
Update (3/2021): Dawn has returned to guiding full-time.

About Dawn

My name is Dawn Glanc, pronounced “glance.” When I was 21 years old, I decided to leave Ohio and move to the Black Hills of South Dakota to pursue a degree in Outdoor Education. The Black Hills were a great place to learn how to rock and ice climb. In 1998, I graduated college and started my career as a climbing guide. In 2004, I left the Black Hills and started a full time guiding career. When a guiding job opened up in Ouray, I came to the San Juan Mountains in December 2005, sight unseen. I have been a proud resident of Ouray, Colorado for many years. The opportunities that opened up to me over the years allowed me to become a sponsored athlete, competitive climber, business owner and full time guide.

Career Background

I started guiding out of a love for climbing. My passion for climbing and my desire to climb non-stop is what initially drew me to the profession. Over time I realized that I enjoyed teaching others the skills they needed to be independent and competent climbers. What keeps me going is the reward of watching my students succeed, and watching clients achieve what they thought was impossible.

I am certified by the American Mountain Guides Association as a Rock Guide and Alpine Guide. I enjoy exploring the mountains, hiking, and rock climbing, but my specialty is ice and mixed climbing. I have competed in elite ice climbing competitions, including a 1st place finish at the Ouray Ice Festival in 2009 and 2011, and a first place finish at the Teva Winter Games in 2012. With the help of BCI Media, I produced the film “Mixtress,” a documentary style film about mixed climbing. I am very active in the local community. I served as a member of the Ouray City Council from 2015 – 2019, and I am an active member of the Ouray Climbers Alliance.

Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan

On March 5, 2019, I tore my ACL in my right knee while skiing. Dr. Thomas Hackett performed the ACL replacement surgery at The Steadman Clinic. My recovery was slow and complicated. After 6 months of therapy, I needed extra physical therapy to gain full function and strength in my leg. After a year of extensive physical therapy and daily home workouts, I am almost fully recovered. I plan to return to guiding this Winter, December 2020, with full function and complete confidence in my knee.

(Photo Credit: Michael Clark)


"March 5th, 2019 I went skiing in Telluride to celebrate a great season of ice guiding. The Spring ski season was coming, and I thought it would be a great time to start working on my ski movement. My goal was to ski well enough to start working through the AMGA ski program. Completing the ski discipline would have given me my final certification to gain my IFMGA status. Unfortunately, on that celebratory day of skiing, I fell and drastically injured my knee. As I waited on the side of the mountain for ski patrol, my first thought was, "I can't go to the doctor." Knowing how terrible and inadequate my health insurance was, I was worried as much about the financial ruin, as I was the health of my knee. I was terrified and uncertain to say the least. The ski patrol loaded me into the toboggin and we headed down the hill to the Telluride clinic. While in transit, still strapped into the sled, the ski patroller recommended that I reach out to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation for help. I then called my husband, Patrick, to tell him of my injury. Patrick is a guide as well and he recommended that I contact the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation. I had the foundation website and application pulled up on my phone before I even saw the doctor. The staff at the foundation was very helpful and kind throughout the entire application process. They were very quick to respond to my questions and thoroughly communicated how the foundation could assist with my situation. The staff also made me feel very important, as if my health was their number one priority. That feeling of support helped to guide me in the difficult and stressful times of my recovery. Thanks to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation I was able to see the best surgeon in the country and get the best follow up health care possible. I believe that if I only had my low level of health insurance, I would have sustained a life altering and career ending injury. An ACL tear in the knee should be a routine surgical fix. My health insurance would have limited my choice of doctor and would have also limited my physical therapy to 20 sessions. The limitations placed on me by my insurance would have given me very substandard care which would have resulted in a permanent disability. Thanks to the gracious support of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, I had the absolute best doctor and unlimited physical therapy. Because of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, I will make a full recovery and return to an elite level of performance. I cannot thank the staff and the board enough for helping me through this difficult time."

- Dawn Glanc