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Bare Butt and Badass: a 1660’ Multi Pitch climb with the family

Author: Amanda Edmonds

I think sometimes as moms we over think and mentally try to prepare for every possible contingency. This is good but also can be limiting. After acknowledging this, I decided I was going to say yes to overwhelming scary things.

This has served me well and given me some incredible experiences I would have missed if I was scared off by the difficulty. So this spring I said yes to something crazy. Looking back I still wonder what I was thinking LOL.

I climbed a multipitch climb with my husband, 10 year old and 4 year old. A multipitch is where instead of climbing up and coming back to the ground, you and your partner keep going up higher and higher with belay stations between the pitches.  I climbed the West Slabs on Mount Olympus in Utah. This is a 10 pitch 1660’ foot climb. It’s rated very easy and well within my kids climbing ability so why not? What could go wrong?

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An hour of hiking up the approach, I underestimated the snowy coulior. Let me start with I am not a fan of snow. Of course I forgot my micro spikes but we were so close so we decided to forge on anyway. Slipping and sliding up a scary incline we made it!

As we got to the base of the climb, we all tied in. I anchored baby girl into me so I could help her along the climb. She climbed for about 20 minutes about one pitch and she was exhausted. Of course she was, she is 4. What in the world was I thinking? Fortunately I planned for her to get tired, just not so soon into the climb and brought a Beco Toddler soft carrier.

I made her keep her climbing helmet and harness on and put her on my back, still anchored into me. Then we climbed, and climbed. It was hard climbing with an extra 42lbs on my back. We were already a few hours into this. There was no turning back. So on we climbed me and a chatty little toddler over my shoulder.

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Not too long after, she fell asleep and we ran into new problems. While she was awake my biggest struggle was maintaining balance and telling her not to throw her weight suddenly to one side. Once she was asleep she was floppy dead weight shifting all over the place.

While several hundred feet off the ground I decided my best course of action was to take her helmet off and use the head rest sling that came with the toddler carrier. This anchored her in one place and fixed the problem. Of course now I’m that mom climbing with a helmet, with a toddler on her back without a helmet. Great.  LOL

Baby girl slept for about 2/3 of the climb, meanwhile I’m climbing and grumbling under my breath to myself asking WTH I thought I was doing. All the sudden she wakes up and she must have heard my grumbling. Her first words all super excited to me were: “I know mommy we can put a pink helicopter on your list to get us up.” Seriously how cute is this girl?

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I actually climbed more relaxed and better while she was awake.  Several times she would request out of the carrier and to climb and I obliged knowing it was short-lived. Right as we were reaching the top out she decided she was climbing those last 20 feet by herself. So of course major photo opps ensue minus a climbing helmet since I’m mom of the year HAHAHA.

Topping out was incredible and thrilling and we were so proud of ourselves. It was short lived though since we realized it took way longer than we expected and we still had to rappel down twice, down climb, carefully get down the snowy coulior, and then hike another hour out before sundown. So baby girl got to climb her first multipitch and rappel for the first time all in the same day. Yeah like REI says she is a force of nature.

My hubs is like a mountain goat so he took baby girl for the down climb portion while I cleaned up the ropes and went behind them. Yeah it wasn’t glamorous. I got a major hole in the butt of my pants. So I’m down climbing with my bare butt in the wind. You don’t see this happening in the pretty pictures you see on social media LMAO.

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I was feeling like a major badass adventure mama at this point. I was riding the high of completing this crazy adventure. Little did I realize, I was celebrating a little soon. I caught up too my little adventure family just in time to meet my old nemesis of the snowy coulior.

So once again the hubs guided the kids down the snow since he is the mountain goat and I kept slipping and sliding down behind them. On a good day hiking I am slow. Put me hundreds of feet up on slippery snow and I am apparently a snail. I could not maintain my balance. I kept falling and imagining sliding to my death. It was a nightmare.

Remember that giant hole in my butt of my pants? All the sliding on the snow had made it bigger. My entire butt was being exposed to the cold sharp snow every time I fell and slid, which was a ton. I was swearing repeatedly. Finally the hubs came back for me. He had made it past the snow and had the little ones wait together. He took my backpack and held my hand. Definitely not feeling badass anymore, I was feeling much more humbled.

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Once we met up with the kids my amazing husband not only continued carrying my daughter but also my backpack. Yeah he is pretty hardcore. We decided he would hike on and my son and I would hike at our pace behind them. My legs were complete jelly at this point. I could barely walk. We were 12 hours into this adventure and still an hour away from the car.

I was exhausted and honestly the weakest of my family since I don’t do well without real meals and snacks weren’t cutting it. It was amazing to see my son step up and help guide me down the steep talus field. I was so proud , he was so strong when I was weak. At one point I was worried I may collapse and instructed him calmly on what to do if that happened since it is now dark and just the two of us.

Then the hubs came back for me again. My knight in shining headlamp. He helped us back to the car. Roundtrip this was a 13 hour day. I was definitely hurting for a few days. After my poor welted butt healed and my sore muscles went away I was able to be impressed with our feat… only to be offended a week later when I looked up at the West Slabs to see all the snow had melted. WTF?! One week!!!  How much simpler this would’ve been without snow.Ugh.

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4 thoughts on “Bare Butt and Badass: a 1660’ Multi Pitch climb with the family

  1. Love this Story! You are an amazing mother/wife/friend. Love reading about your adventures, can wait for a new one, plus pictures are great.

  2. I know I shouldn’t laugh but your bare butt! HA! I’m glad you all made it out okay and that your family all proved they are made of tough stuff. Not many four year olds who can climb like yours did. Not many moms can carry an extra 42 lbs while climbing. Not many sons would help their mom like that. Not many husbands could pick up the slack like that. Way to rock the outdoors!

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4 thoughts on “Bare Butt and Badass: a 1660’ Multi Pitch climb with the family

  1. Love this Story! You are an amazing mother/wife/friend. Love reading about your adventures, can wait for a new one, plus pictures are great.

  2. I know I shouldn’t laugh but your bare butt! HA! I’m glad you all made it out okay and that your family all proved they are made of tough stuff. Not many four year olds who can climb like yours did. Not many moms can carry an extra 42 lbs while climbing. Not many sons would help their mom like that. Not many husbands could pick up the slack like that. Way to rock the outdoors!

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