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shaoleung

Best places near Seattle for kids to climb?

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So, I go back and forth on how to encourage climbing with my son. He's only 18 months old and I know a couple years away from roping up, but he recently fell in love with a football and I fear I'll have to start going to football practice and games instead of the Icicle. His SAT prep is going well, as are the piano lessons and physics tutoring. Drivers' Ed is tough given that he can't reach the steering wheel. While his motor and speech skills leave something to be desired, I think he'll be ready for the rock sooner than later!

 

Any parents out there have ideas on where to start? What are your favorite areas for kids?

Edited by shaoleung

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Stop worrying about it and enjoy him. Jesus, man, he's only 18 months. He is also a bit young to begin SAT prep, just in case you are wondering about that, too.

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If you do it, he will want to. Till he is a teenager when he will think you are retarded and rebel. Finding crags that are kid friendly is more challenging than a hard 11c. We could start a thread on places that are kid friendly so they can watch mom n dad climb.

 

couple ideas

anywhere on the road for exit 38

8 mile rock

any rock gym or manmade feature

Edited by genepires

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If you do it, he will want to. Till he is a teenager when he will think you are retarded and rebel.

 

This was my experience. My daughter was happy to hang out and climb with me and my friends until she turned 13.

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So, alongside Hammerhead Rock there's a good boulder/slab for kids. We climbed there with my friend's 4-yo and belayed him from the top. Fun stuff.

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Here's what I take my 8 y/o neice and 6 y/o nephew to do:

 

- The easy slab at Stone Gardens. The first several times, it was use what ever for holds, go as high as you like. Then, as the neice especially, has gotten better, I 'made' her stick to the taped routes. She does the 5.4's and 5.5's pretty well now. The nephew just started making it to the top of the wall. I'll give him a few more times before 'making' him start doing proper routes.

 

 

- The neice has been outdoors once. Exit 38, the easy wall at the end of the trestle. Flamable Pajamas is a great first outdoor kid route. You can scramble up the left margin to set up a TR. Have 'em do it several times. Next time out there I'll bring her up to the Gritscone and the Farside / Headlight and Squishy Bell - there's a couple of 5.5-ish routes there that ought to be kid friendly.

 

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Check out the new millenium wall at the base of Mt. Erie. A couple of short 4 bolt routes with a safe area at the base and an easy walk in from the road. I had my 8, 7 and 6 year old boys up there 2 weeks ago and had a great time.

 

There is a picture in my member gallery.

 

 

Edited by threeladsdad

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The new wall in North Bend (Torgeson Park) is very kid friendly.

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With the real little ones, I worry most about a safe belay area. The Feathers has a 3 bolt 5.1 and a couple other low/mid-5th class routes. I took my daughter there on her 3 year old birthday. It was her first time and I was a little over-ambitious, but she made about 8' of progress before asking to come down. It has a reasonably safe belay area.

 

I haven't been there since having my daughter, but the Smoke Bluffs always seemed to be a great place for Mom and Dad to play with great safe areas for young ones to play if you had another couple to go with and take turns.

 

Some of the Exit 38 areas (like by the tressle) make me nervous with very young and excitable kids.

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I would second Smoke Bluffs in Squamish. (though I don't have kids yet. Ask me again next week.)

 

The "Burger"s and Fry's" area and the continuation of the wall to the climbers right would be great for little kids. Flat belay area's, some bushes and whatnot but very safe. And some good single pitch stuff from 5.5 up to 5.11, with a nice mixture of trad, sport, and toproping possibilities.

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All three of my sons climbed at the Peshastin Pinnacles with me and their mom as soon as they could walk (about two+ years). At that age, each completed the chimney on the east side of Orchard Rock, tied in just far enough above the following adult that the kid could be spotted/coached, and if necessary evacuated. One of us would piggy-back them on rappel (tied to us, of course) until they matured enough to rappel alone.

 

When a little one would tire or lose interest, We'd place a nut and hang him in his harness from a sling, (barely off the ground) and he would happily enjoy this "swingset" while we would do a more challenging climb within sight. This tactic works well at the Feathers, as well, keeps the kid safe. Just use a sling long enough so the kid can't reach the nut placement...

 

Around age 7-10, I'd short-rope them on multi-pitch routes like Saber and R&D. The youngest, now sixteen, climbed Louise Falls at age 12, and last June, solo downclimbed the NE couloir on Colchuck Peak after I got swept from a belay near the top by a lightning-triggered avalanche that severed our belay rope and left me hospitalized for the remainder of the summer.

 

Playground Point, in Icicle Canyon, was originally developed by guys like Gordon Briody & Doug Klewin when their kids were toddlers, and has numerous kid-friendly climbs. My sons did their first leads there.

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