scared family members


Original Post
Annie · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Hello everyone! Currently, I'm a mere sixteen years of age, trapped in Boston, surrounded by an overly loving family which wants to protect their daughter from the HORRIBLE, and most of all, DANGEROUS sport of climbing. Which means that the gym is my limit. I do go to my gym almost every day, but I'm itching to get out on real rock. Any advice on how to deal with the family?

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15
Polina wrote:Hello everyone! Currently, I'm a mere sixteen years of age, trapped in Boston, surrounded by an overly loving family which wants to protect their daughter from the HORRIBLE, and most of all, DANGEROUS sport of climbing. Which means that the gym is my limit. I do go to my gym almost every day, but I'm itching to get out on real rock. Any advice on how to deal with the family?
Have them hire a guide for you for a day at the crag. Tell them it's like an outdoor gym and ask them to watch so they can see how safe it is.

Edit: It would be best for you to hire a guide for a private session (with no other climbers). That costs more, but some guide services do half days, which would be cheaper than a full day. Look for an AMGA certified guide.
Lee St · · Dallas, Ga. · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Good answer.

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,575

Pm me..I know some really good guides in NH.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

If you're sport climbing or toproping, it's really not that different from what you do in the gym, so that can make a good argument as long as they don't ask too many questions (don't explain how cleaning works). If you're trad climbing/multi pitch...lie to them?

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,115

I like Frank's idea of hiring a guide for a weekend of teaching and climbing somewhere that your parents can watch. When next asked about a birthday or xmas present give them the idea of hiring a guide.

However, I strongly disagree with the idea of telling them it is an outdoor gym regardless of the type of climbing you learn outside. It is not and given your family already has some concerns about your welfare a simple event could make things those perceptions worse. Just be honest you want to learn to climb outdoors and hiring a guide was something recommended to you. Just do not tell them recommendation came from a bunch of bozos on a social media site. :-))))

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,575

Maybe so...firdt time my parents saw me climb close up, i took a 40 footer(didn't know they were watching)

Mom was sure i was dead until I walked out of the woods with a beer!

Bill Czajkowski · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 15

Parents' comfort level does go up with structured instruction/supervision. So a guide, or a team with coaches and workouts, can help. You might also look for outdoor trips sponsored by the gym, a local climbing club with an education program, or just an experienced climber to help transition you to outdoor skills who could help your parents understand the real environment.

The other thing is to get them involved with you, and the sport in the gym, and teach them first hand what it's like. A lot of people see alpine/big mountain climbing as the same as sport climbing and even bouldering. They're vastly different activities with tremendously different levels of risk. Perhaps once they start to get some insight they would be more comfortable with the level of risk in sport climbing (which is not insignificant but probably not abnormal for athletic activites).

You could also try comparative statistics vs other sports such as football, soccer, etc. though I'm not real sure there's very much, or conclusive, evidence there.

And time. When you don't die in the gym after some months, they'll probably ease up. I've had two daughters compete and it's given me the opportunity to see other families enter the sport. Familiarity and time do a lot to change misperceptions.

Joanna Merson · · Eugene, OR · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 67

I have a set of scared parents too. One thing I do is take their concern to heart.

Rather than trying to convince my parents that climbing is safer than this or that, I instead focus on the fact that I am a safe and responsible climber. A person can ride their bike in a safe or reckless manner. Same goes for climbing. They are comforted when I tell them that I have a healthy respect for gravity, and that I climb with others that do as well. This seems to work for them.

I suggest showing your parents that you are learning how to be a safe outdoor climber. Actions speak louder than words! Start by doing your homework on it. There are a lot of great books, websites, and youtube videos out there that can help you learn how to be safe outside. These won't replace learning from a real person, so as others have suggested, see if you can find a course or a responsible mentor that you can learn from too!

Check out:
How to Rock Climb! by John Long
Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills by Craig Luebben
Mountaineering, Freedom of the Hills

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120
Polina wrote:Hello everyone! Currently, I'm a mere sixteen years of age, trapped in Boston, surrounded by an overly loving family which wants to protect their daughter from the HORRIBLE, and most of all, DANGEROUS sport of climbing. Which means that the gym is my limit. I do go to my gym almost every day, but I'm itching to get out on real rock. Any advice on how to deal with the family?
MOM here. So, the above sounds a whole lot like, well, it is as it should be. You pushing, parents worrying. BUT, it IS dangerous, and if you act like it isn't, you will come across as not mature enough to be trusted.

Do they let you date? Online? Cross the street? Drink? Drive? Walk across town at 3am? Ride your bike? Get tats? This is no different. Your freedom is directly proportional to the work you have put into earning their trust. How can they trust you on this decision? They can take your word for it, or....

Do they come to the gym? If it's clear you really love this activity, let them get involved too. They can't judge it or you, if you don't show them the ropes. Climb together in the gym, then eventually get all of you out together. A lot of the climbing game is trust, in partners, equipment, processes and yourself.

And, sometimes, mom (dad) discovers she (he) loves it too!

Our ages were 57 and 20 when he sucked me into climbing, but he was doing solo night time hiking and solo climbs of 12,000 footers as a teen.
Nolan Huther · · Clarkson University · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 567

I'm am 18 year old climber at college now so I have the luxury of doing what I want, and my parents are supportive of my climbing as something I have to do because I love it more than anything I've ever done. Now a few tips:

-Show an interest in everything- history of mountaineering, watch climbing documentaries on Netflix or YouTube and start talking about it a lot so they know you're serious about it
-know your stuff. Safety is a huge concern to people who aren't familiar with climbing. Even though it is inherently dangerous, in the hands of experienced guides, it is safer than the drive to the crag (especially in Massachusetts...)
-research good guides and bring it up all the time. Many climbers here are very experienced, take their advice on good guides
-Climbing, contrary to the historical machismo that surrounds it, is NOT a man's sport (in case the bullshit ";;not a feminine thing to do";; argument comes along";;). Talk up how cool Sasha Digiulian or Caroline Gleich or Pamela Pack is or something?

So prove you are interested in climbing and approach it with enthusiasm and knowledge and perhaps your luck will increase. Keep climbing!

Edit- not to advocate it, but mountaineering history has been made more than one time by some audacious teenager ditching their high school classes and climbing an "unclimbable" mountain. Comparatively, toproping with experienced guides should seem like a relief to your parents ;)

don'tchuffonme · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Wreck one of their cars and show them stats on teen driving accidents vs. teen climbing accidents. You win. They lose.

normajean · · Reading, PA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 50

My first climbing experience was when my daughter and I took an outside group lesson together. We are both climbers now although she prefers gym bouldering and I outside rock. Perhaps one or both of your parents would agree to take a class with you or attend as observers. Also, see PM

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply