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Moms Who Climb


Original Post
Kelly Annin · · Oak View, CA · Joined Dec 2018 · Points: 0
  • Hello- I have a 3 month old son. I'm trying to figure how to logistically get back into climbing. I've gone to the gym a handful of times and took him with me. Outside seems more challenging. Any other mamas out there climb? I'm in Ventura County. I have gear for bouldering and sport climbing. 
Mike Womack · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 1,673

My wife and I climb all the time with our 2 year old daughter.  It’s challenging to climb with the little ones but bouldering with groups with kids is the best way to get back into it.  Or maybe single pitch cragging works too.  When they’re real young, sometimes we would even bring the pack and play at crags and let them wiggle around and play with some toys while we’d climb.   

Maureen Maguire · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 0

  Trying to climb with young children is like trying to golf with young children ..or ride endurance motocross with small children..  Its no picnic, although people do it. It becomes something else entirely...a distracted activity circus revolving around kids real and imagined needs, while you try to sneak in some routes.  

Why don't climbing gyms offer daycare like fitness gyms?

While we're waiting for that.. a babysitter is a wonderful addition to every mom's sanity.  Give yourself some real sessions with your adult pals on a regular basis. You deserve it.

Carolina · · Rural NC · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 75

Find other climbers with their own kids or climbers who like kids to help.  If we go out with a small group of 3-4 people it becomes possible to climb single pitch stuff.  Mild approaches only.  Bring toys (or screens) AND GO to places that are easy to setup a chill spot for the kids without getting into peoples way.  Or endangering your child.  Rockfall, gear drop etc.  

We have brought the crash pad to give them a couch/bed to sit and sleep on.  

Put them somewhere safe with competent supervision and climb on!

Also, we get to climb more if we leave the kiddos at home with grandparents. (BEST option)  

Or hire baby sitter like Maureen says! All moms deserve a day/night out!

Caroline Maciaga · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

Beth Rodden has written a few articles on being a mom in climbing. Also, some gyms now will offer in gym childcare depending on where you are located.

mark felber · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 26

A long time partner of mine had a list of babysitters for when she wanted to climb. After her daughter got older (4 or 5) she would bring her to the crag with a few books, etc. to keep her entertained. She bought kid's climbing gear in hopes that her daughter would show an interest, but that didn't really happen until her daughter was about 15. Until her daughter showed an interest in climbing, my friend relied pretty heavily on babysitters, youth sports programs and after school daycare to get her climbing fix.

Earth Treks in Golden is pretty good about letting non-climbing kids hang out and play next to the bouldering area, and I see baby carriers in the climbing area all the time when the gym isn't crowded. Other gyms aren't nearly as relaxed about that sort of thing.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,030

Hope you have gotten out a few more times since December. It is definitely not easy.

Bouldering is the easiest to do with the young baby, because you can jump off at any moment to take care of the baby;s needs. And bouldering is social, so groups of people are common, and it is not too much of an imposition to ask someone to watch your baby when the baby is happily kicking up his feet and sucking his fist, because the person would know that you'll come running as soon as the crying starts.

Multipitch is out for the foreseeable future, unless you can hire a nanny. Single-pitch climbing is doable, but requires more logistics/preparation than bouldering. You would need two people (ideally you and your partner/co-parent) who are willing to take care of the baby for larger chunks of time, realistically 30-45 min, including doing less-pleasant duties, such as handling/minimizing the crying, feeding, diaper changes, etc., and the 3rd person who is either willing to do the same, or is willing to do extra shifts of belay duty. So there would be a lot fewer willing takers, and that's why parents often seek other parents for climbing. The drawback, of course, is that you end up with a larger (and louder) group that includes multiple kids and quickly becomes the crag nuisance with toys, playpens, and kiddie tents strewn all over the place. Be extra-mindful of that, and If you have any friends who are willing to be the 3rd for roped climbing with babies, treat them extra-!!!-well.

You do have an option of bringing a teenage helper along. It is often much cheaper and less scary to do this, than to find a nanny for a young baby, and leave the baby at home with the nanny for the whole weekend.

If you have an option of climbing near your house, and coming back home for the night to sleep in your own bed, it is a million times easier. If you have to factor in a long car ride and camping with the baby, and your climbing outing has to be at least a weekend long, by necessity, the logistics multiply quickly. But it is not impossible. You just need to plan well, and know that the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

And the part about things getting easier the more you do it is true, regardless of what it is you decide to do with the baby. Going climbing once, you may luck out and hit a bad weekend, and think, oh no, I can't handle this, this is horrible, I can't handle the screaming, the colic,or whatever, I got no sleep, I I didn't get to climb anything, it sucked, no way, not worth it. But if you are committed to going regularly, things will start falling into place. The baby will get used to long car rides, and sleeping in a tent, and napping at the crag, you will have your packing down to precise science, you ill figure out the best snacks, and the best toys, and everyone will become more relaxed as things become more routine.

Juana · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 5
We mostly boulder as well. We have been taking our kids out since they were several weeks old.
Luckily my husband also climbs, so when they were very small, we would just pass them back and forth depending on who’s turn it was to climb.
The older one now has a backpack that he gets to fill with toys to play with outside.
Also, if you have amazon prime, you can download movies that you have bought onto your phone or tablet (for zero service areas).
It is challenging and makes the approach much harder due to all the extra weight, but the kids have fun, I get to climb, and I get to be with them more :)

We love our organic blubber mat that we throw down wherever we go, this way we do not have to worry so much about scrapes on the babies. The sketch pad is perfect for naps.
FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Juana wrote:
We mostly boulder as well. We have been taking our kids out since they were several weeks old.
Luckily my husband also climbs, so when they were very small, we would just pass them back and forth depending on who’s turn it was to climb.
The older one now has a backpack that he gets to fill with toys to play with outside.
Also, if you have amazon prime, you can download movies that you have bought onto your phone or tablet (for zero service areas).
It is challenging and makes the approach much harder due to all the extra weight, but the kids have fun, I get to climb, and I get to be with them more :)

We love our organic blubber mat that we throw down wherever we go, this way we do not have to worry so much about scrapes on the babies. The sketch pad is perfect for naps.

Are you concerned about rattlers or other critters when the kids are on the mat?

Juana · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 5

FrankPS, rattlers and other critters tend to shy away from ruckus and prime bouldering temps are not prime critter temps.
Also, we never leave them unattended.

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