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How young could someone start ice climbing?
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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Dec 27, 2013

I'm guessing 8 or 10? Seems like the strength and precision needed to swing the tool would be hard for someone much younger. This is independent of the judgement needed to get out of the way of falling ice and such, which might develop even later!


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By Meme Guy
From Land of Runout Slab
Dec 27, 2013
Meme guy

Bro if they can do it they can do it. I've seen 5 year olds crush overhung problems and tell daddy they'd rather go play in the mud. It's all about if they want to do it, and are physically capable of doing it in a SAFE manner.

You can get him on some mini ice walls and show him the technique first.


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By Malcolm Daly
From Boulder, CO
Dec 27, 2013

Here's my kid, Mason, soloing on his first day out.

Mason Daly's first ice climb.
Mason Daly's first ice climb.


I had geared him up and had turned my back to put on my crampons. When I turned around, I found him soloing up Boulder Falls.

I think he was 6 years old.


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By Jason Todd
From Ranchester, WY
Dec 27, 2013
Moss

There are pictures of kids with tools on the Ouray Ice Park home page and not a mention of no ice axes for kids anywhere in the rules.

Ice park rules


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By Woodchuck ATC
Dec 27, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

I'm guessing kids start Pulling down on plastic or rock alot younger than they can Swing and power a tool into place on ice. That is probably the biggest downfall for smaller kids. You can't count on the ice having 'hookable spots for those light weight hooking tools for them. That and a powerful enough kick to keep a crampon in place on ice. I don't think there are too many under 10 kids ice climbers out there. If so, hope the parents read post and add pics to show us their success.


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By michael voth
Dec 27, 2013
2nd pitch of Womb.

was going to say I've seen little ones swinging tools at Ouray ice park…… a lot.


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By saguaro sandy
Dec 27, 2013
Picacho

They are migets...adult migets!


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By haleymay
From Salt Lake City
Dec 27, 2013
hand solo - selfish wall

My son started ice climbing at 6 or 7. I would have started my daughter even younger, but unfortunately she hasn't shown any interest in the icy version of climbing.


Ouray
Ouray


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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Dec 27, 2013
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

Since the only ice climbing 'round these parts is alpine, and all the legit alpine routes are serious endeavors carrying an inherent pretty elevated risk of death.... older than if we lived in Provo.

My oldest started alpine "climbing" (hiking) at 8, but nothing worse than 40 degree snow at this point. I might take him crevasse/serac climbing this spring, to get his teeth cut on vertical ice... but it's gonna be a while till I look down from a 10,000' belay and see my son's face hacking his way up (mostly because I don't trust him to catch my lead).


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By Woodchuck ATC
Dec 27, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

I will edit myself....I agree they can crawl up any low angle ice to start. I was picturing vertical ice, busted up chandeliers , steep flat vertical ice towers, and overhanging lumps of death ice..the stuff we usually find ourselves on. NOT a low angle slab of polish with pre cut steps and hook spots. Sure, that's the starter for most kids I agree.


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By saguaro sandy
Dec 28, 2013
Picacho

Yep low angle ice climbing is not really ice climbing. Try to explain that to the ER doc when you bring your 6 year old for some stitches. "Yer Honor, my 8 year old daughter was just gonna be the youngest mountaineer ever! " hahaha don't tell her mother though!


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By saguaro sandy
Dec 28, 2013
Picacho

On a different note: how young can you start your kid ice skating? Skiing? Gymnastics? Ballet? Soccer? ...very very very young!
Don't be selfish daddies and let your kids have a normal childhood. Can they get hurt doing the above sports? Absolutely! But chances of that are much much less than if they ice climb on a regular basis. Will they have a blast? Of course! Show me a single kid who loves ice climbing and you will make me a believer.


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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Dec 28, 2013

saguaro sandy wrote:
On a different note: how young can you start your kid ice skating? Skiing? Gymnastics? Ballet? Soccer? ...very very very young! Don't be selfish daddies and let your kids have a normal childhood. Can they get hurt doing the above sports? Absolutely! But chances of that are much much less than if they ice climb on a regular basis. Will they have a blast? Of course! Show me a single kid who loves ice climbing and you will make me a believer.

People have shown you 2, so it appears that's an empty promise.


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By saguaro sandy
Dec 28, 2013
Picacho

those kids don't love it! post an interview with a die hard ice climber under the age of 16 and i will eat my words!


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By RobC2
Dec 28, 2013
This..

saguaro sandy wrote:
those kids don't love it! post an interview with a die hard ice climber under the age of 16 and i will eat my words!


You don't actually have any of children of your own, do you...


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By Warbonnet
From Utah and Cambodia
Dec 28, 2013
FA "Unfinished Business" 5.11cR Wind River range, Wyoming. Beta photo in this album

The corollary question is: "How OLD can a climber be and still enjoy it so much that it reminds him/her of being a kid because they are having so much fun?"

Answer: Fred Becky; will be 91 in about two weeks - still climbing. Started at age 13.

Kids love to brachiate, whether that be on/in trees, swing sets, fences. It's in their genes.


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By topher donahue
Dec 28, 2013

saguaro sandy wrote:
those kids don't love it! post an interview with a die hard ice climber under the age of 16 and i will eat my words!


Saguaro, by the time I was 16 I was guiding alpine ice climbs...want some ketchup with those words?

I'd say top roping on solid ice with a careful daddy (or mommy) making sure there are no climbers above to knock ice down is not terribly dangerous. In looking at the list of what you say constitutes a "normal childhood", I'd say soccer is safer than ice climbing for a kid, but gymnastics is more dangerous and skiing is significantly more dangerous. Other ice climbers don't suddenly fly hundreds of feet sideways across the mountain at 30mph. As far as normal goes, having a Facebook account at age 10 could be more dangerous than ice climbing too...


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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Dec 28, 2013

Why does Eleanor always come back? For those of you who are on TGR I feel like Eleanor is our gaper spirit animal.


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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Dec 28, 2013

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
I'm guessing kids start Pulling down on plastic or rock alot younger than they can Swing and power a tool into place on ice. That is probably the biggest downfall for smaller kids. You can't count on the ice having 'hookable spots for those light weight hooking tools for them. That and a powerful enough kick to keep a crampon in place on ice. I don't think there are too many under 10 kids ice climbers out there. If so, hope the parents read post and add pics to show us their success.

Moving on... What are these lightweight tools you mention? Like those "third tools" I've seen people carry? The whole "hooking instead of placing" plan sounds good too.


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By courthouse
Dec 28, 2013

-1yr.


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By robrobrobrob
Dec 28, 2013

So, maybe we are terrible parents, but we like to give our kids chances to try the things they want to. At 2 my son wanted to "go ice climbing like daddy" so we took him out to din around at the kids wall in Ouray. He talked about that experience all year long. His sister came too, bit she wasn't as into it. This year he is 3, and was begging to go ice climbing again while we were in Ouray. We took him over, and he placed an axe and climbed up the axe. I let him place the second axe, and he climbed up that axe too. After that he looked up at the top and said " need spiked shoes to go to the top". He thoroughly enjoyed himself, and has been asking to go back the rest of the week, even telling people he met during the week that he wants to go ice climbing again.

Now.... I'm not forcing him to do it, but if he is into it, I'll support him, and help him learn to do it safely. When (if) he tires of it, we will move on to his next interest. But until that point, why not let him have fun. Oh... And yeah... It not "real" ice climbing to many, but he was certainly happy... And that's what matters to me.


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By Warbonnet
From Utah and Cambodia
Dec 28, 2013
FA "Unfinished Business" 5.11cR Wind River range, Wyoming. Beta photo in this album

Topher is spot on. His comparison of risk makes a good, accurate point, and one that many parents do not think through.

Consider this:

"A 9-year-old boy from Southern California has become the youngest person in recorded history to reach the summit of Argentina's Aconcagua mountain, which at 22,841 feet (6,962 meters) is the tallest peak in the Western and Southern hemispheres. Tyler had already climbed the 19,341-foot (5,895-meter) Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania at the age of 8." news.yahoo.com/us-boy-9-youngest-reach-aconcagua-summit-1907>>>

Sure, these aren't ice climbs (but they aren't 'walk up's either, that's for sure) and he was with his father. I suspect it was a combination of an experienced dad watching over his son but equally important was a motivated, happy kid. The same link above shows their Mt. Whitney climb: I don't think the kid's smile is painted on.

Note: the ice climbing kids are wearing helmets. Read the Op-Ed in the August issue of Climbing Magazine re: helmet use. The kids in this string's photos are doing what 50% of climbers do not do (the mag article will refer to academic studies that prove that point).

"No brainer: Why are so many climbers not wearing helmets?"
www.climbing.com/news/no-brainer-helmet


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By Warbonnet
From Utah and Cambodia
Dec 28, 2013
FA "Unfinished Business" 5.11cR Wind River range, Wyoming. Beta photo in this album

This photo is the father & son on Whitney, not Aconcagua, however, read the linked article that describes the bigger climb.

Youngest (9 yrs old) kid climbs Acongogua ft.
Youngest (9 yrs old) kid climbs Acongogua ft.


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By saguaro sandy
Dec 28, 2013
Picacho

RobC2 wrote:
You don't actually have any of children of your own, do you...

No but I have a manchild...


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By saguaro sandy
Dec 28, 2013
Picacho

Well ye sherpa kids start early too. Technical ice is different from trekking. And would you like to post a picture of an adult climbing ice without helmet? Technical ice. I will add it to my collection of most stupid photos. A little off subject but how young do you start power lifting or bodybuilding? It is safer than ice climbing to a degree...Although will they be able to reach their full potential earlier and be better than their peers who started at an older age? The question is not "when"..It's "why" .
Why starting your kids young climbing technical ice? So you can get to your own playground and get the parenting thing out of the way too? There is time for everything.


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By Zappatista
Dec 28, 2013
Book me, officer.

I swear to god there has got to be some kind of clinical diagnosis for what is wrong with 'her'. This is like autism or something.


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