Posted by outdoorparent in Getting After It
, Sage Advice
on 06 22nd, 2009 | 4 responses
Were’s kicking off the week with Part Two of Steve’s Climbing with Kids series.
First off, this post contains absolutely no technical information that would take the place of actual climbing instruction and experience. Now, here are a few ideas that have worked for us over the years:
- Crashpads. If you can handle the extra bulk, a crashpad is the climbing parent’s best friend. Many times a kid suddenly loses interest 7 or 8 feet off the ground. This can be frustrating when you just spent 10 minutes on shoes, harness, and tying in. Bouldering is a great alternative to climbing routes with kids. The crashpad has tons of alternative uses too. It’s a comfortable place for a kids and parents out of the dirt, a perfect napping mattress, a handy emergency umbrella, and an alternative to lawn chairs at soccer games or neighborhood parties.
- Realistic expectations. For you and your kids. Your kid will probably not be the next Chris Sharma. You’re developing a love of climbing and the outdoors, not producing the next phenom. Don’t expect to climb at your limit when you’re out with the kids. Both the climber and the belayer will likely be slightly distracted by roaming/crying children.
- Be competent. Make sure you’re proficient at whatever you plan for your kids. For example, you may never have needed to lower a partner with a Reverso. But if you’re going to belay your kids from the top of a climb, you’d better know how it works because Murphy’s Law applies to climbing with kids. I can’t stress this enough. Work through potential scenarios and have a plan ahead of time.
- Embrace the epic. As a parent, you have a distinct advantage here. It’s all about attitude, and you’re a pro. Say you’re caught in an incredible lightning storm at Wild Iris (elevation 9000 ft.), huddled under an overhang with 20 other climbers. Your car (and jackets) are a mile away across an exposed, tree-less ridge. Your son is shirtless because your youngest daughter dumped a liter of Gatorade on herself. You, the outdoor parent, can smile knowing that you’ve handled worse.
Most importantly, it’s important to realize that other climbing parents are out there. We’re all having similar joys and struggles. Sharing experiences helps us to stay psyched when a trip doesn’t go so well. If you have any tips that have worked for you, let us know in the comment section.
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