Obviously we are climbers, duh.
We love rock climbing so bringing our kids along is a no brainer. We have had to learn to change our expectations and learn how to climb with the kids. This means climbing with at least one more adult and let’s be honest there is a ton of time spent on the ground.
I know you have heard this before but the best trick is TONS of snacks. This is my fall back for anything with kids LMAO. They can’t complain if they are chewing right? Entertainment and toys are a must. My son usually packs a book, binoculars, his Swiss army knife and other random entertainment. Baby girl is a fan of all things tiny: My Little Ponies and Littlest Pet Shop Animals are her favorites. We usually bring books for her as well. You really can’t go wrong with snacks and toys!
It’s convenient. Besides who wants to pay a babysitter so their kids can sit inside?! We are a team; the four of us do everything together. I like having my kids around and seeing my son progress as a climber is truly amazing. I can’t wait to see what baby girl has up her sleeve when she gets serious!
Dealing With People Who Think We Are Endangering Our Kids
So often I’m told that climbing is too dangerous for kids and that I’m crazy for taking my kids along and doing it. I can’t tell you how many times people have forwarded me stories about people dying while climbing to prove their point. The truth is climbing can be dangerous. So can walking across the street, driving your car, playing soccer. You name it.
So we teach them to be safe and I am completely confident they are and always will be.
They only climb on top rope which means they cannot fall further than their belayer can catch them. A top rope is an easy way to help climbers develop skill without serious consequences.
They never do anything with out checking their gear. One of the most common reasons for climbing accidents is not checking knots and verifying the climber is harnessed and tied in correctly.
To help prevent this we do what we call pre-flight checks and we double check all knots and harnesses before allowing the climber to begin. My husband is really amazing at this, to the point of being annoying. LOL. It’s very safe with very little room for injury. One day when my son is lead climbing and belaying his sister I’m sure a whole new group of people will panic. I however cannot wait.
Its Fun Family Time and The Kids Learn SO Much
Climbing is something the entire family can participate in, and we spend the majority of our free time in our local canyons and mountains doing it. This gives us hours without distraction and we get to just talk and hang out together. Sometimes we just lie on a blanket at the crag and chat about everything and nothing.
We all contribute; my kids carry their own packs. My son carries his own haul bag with our climbing shoes, helmets, harnesses and lunch. He is so helpful and I appreciate him so much. I switch between carrying baby sis and letting her walk. Now that she is four she thinks she is so big and it’s almost harder than when she was a baby!
It’s so amazing to see how well my children get along outdoors. We work together, push each other to do scary things and be brave. Being outside teaches kids to appreciate the outdoors and to go beyond their comfort zones. It also fosters a love for being outside in nature. My favorite thing is to hear my kids tell me they want to go climbing or camping.
Some important life lessons my children have learned from climbing are teamwork and communication – climbing is not a solo sport. Part of being a rock climber is belaying. It’s a privilege to have people trust you to belay them. The climber and belayer dynamic require you to be able to clearly communicate your needs and status.
Climbing helps build strength and endurance. They are learning from a young age the importance of living an active healthy lifestyle. Not only are my children hiking to the crags they are carrying packs, then climbing.
It’s a lifestyle
You don’t climb, you are a climber. It’s addicting. The majority of our friends are climbers and we talk about climbing entirely too much. The feeling you get when you climb your first multi-pitch, I guarantee you will be hooked as well.
Our life used to be centered on stuff we had to do. Now we prioritize outdoors and climbing. We literally schedule in free time to climb. We work everything else around it. Of course sometimes even that has to be flexible and we have to be responsible adults… ugh. The time we spend outdoors allows us to recharge. It reprioritizes what’s important, which has evolved from spending money on possessions to spending money on experiences. For that I am so grateful.
Getting out in all these amazing canyons makes you want to take care of them. Being avid climbers we have stepped up our game in teaching the kids why it’s so important to recycle and do your best to purchase responsibly sourced items, and frequent your local farmers market. All of which help protect our wild lands. I have also actively gotten my kids involved in fundraising to protect our local mountains from luxury developments. There is nothing better than knowing your kids value our earth.
The community, we are the company we keep
Climbers are so supportive of each other. Go to any crag and you will hear people supporting and encouraging the climber on the wall. It’s not a competition. We all want to succeed and grow; we are all on this journey together.
You literally put your life in your belayer’s hands. There is no better way to create lifetime friendships. Sometimes I realize when I am with longtime friends; I forget what they do for their day job. We talk about epic adventures, plan trips, and our talk goes below the surface stuff and gets real. I am not worried about what you own or do. I want to get outside and get away from the city and climb with you.
All these reasons and so many more are why I know it’s the right choice to raise my kids as rock climbers. I know one day they may grow up and not want to climb, and that’s okay. Of course I secretly, not so secretly hope they become incredible climbers and still want to climb with mom and dad.