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[TR] Parenthood - First time climbing 6/11/2011


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Trip: Parenthood - First time climbing


Date: 6/11/2011


Trip Report:

The last time I posted a TR, I had just gone on an amazing journey, consisting of 3 weeks of climbing on the road, and a month touring New Zealand with my wife.

It had been a last chance for me to get in as much climbing as possible during that vacation, because after we returned, it was time to embark on a much more serious journey: becoming parents.


Sure enough, a year later, we welcomed our little guy into the world, and, as any parent reading this will understand, things have been completely different ever since. He's 2 and a half now, and, naturally, I have been doing everything in my power to instill in him a healthy appreciation of the outdoors, and that includes climbing.


From an early age, Z began to show signs of being truly gifted.

These weren't the normal signs that most parents at the playground brag about - he wasn't talking early, or self-potty-training or anything like that - but in my eyes, it was too important to ignore. Yes, by "gifted", I mean he was really fascinated in playing with my climbing gear...


trying on gear:



He's very insistent:



I don't get out nearly as much as I used to, but I still manage to get into the local gym almost every week to help maintain my sanity. Z likes to come to hang out in the gym when it's not crowded, while I get in a short and sad excuse for a workout.

When he's not busy trying to take all the holds off the wall or spin around until he gets dizzy and falls down on the mats, he has been showing a lot of interest in the climbing as well.


So, what's a father to do? Go out and get the tiniest climbing shoes available, and see where this interest takes us.


All decked out on his first day at the local crag:



Even for the hardened rock master, seeing little size 1 climbing shoes on a toddler can be undeniably cute.


After a couple trial runs at the gym and the local crag, it was time to move on to a bigger objective.

I had never taken Z camping, and doing so has been one of my main goals for this year.

An opportunity came up to join a large group of friends down at Smith, who were going to be there for a casual weekend of climbing.


A plan was hatched.

I would take Z down to smith for the weekend. It would be mainly for the experience of camping, but we brought along our harnesses and shoes just in case.


The first challenge to overcome with this objective was the car ride. Z doesn't like to be in the car for 3 hours, and he rarely sleeps in the car for more than about 20 minutes.

So, step 1 was to start the day out by taking him sledding at Timberline, to tire him out.

It was a beautiful day for it, and he loved being in the snow for the first time in months.

Everything went according to plan, and he immediately zonked out after getting into the car.


"rest" stop



I may have spent a good portion of the car ride really building up the destination, for after we arrived, Z had settled into a charming routine of saying "I love Smith Rock!" over and over again.

I could tell he felt at home.


big rock. little man.



After I hiked in to the park (with Z on my back in the Deuter carrier), we found our extended climbing family in the dihedrals. There were a couple easy ropes hanging, and Z became immediately excited about climbing when I asked if he wanted to put his shoes on.

After a "daddy-assist" getting past the hard starting moves (c'mon, he's only 3 feet tall), he hung out on the slabby knobs and pockets pretty comfortably, and made some honest-to-goodness climbing moves.


Sending @ 2.5 years



He didn't really go any higher than this, and he doesn't really go much higher in the gym either, but he seemed to enjoy it.

After taking the harness off, he actually started doing laps up the retaining wall at the base of bunny face.


The rest of the afternoon went pretty well - the extended family even took care of him while I got to go up a couple routes that had ropes hanging on them.


By dinner time, the poor kiddo was totally exhausted from all the excitement. He managed to stay awake through a dinner at the Depot, but passed out in the car on the way to Skull Hollow, and couldn't be bothered to stay awake long enough to try s'mores.

Considering it was only his 2nd time sleeping in a tent (the first time being in our back yard), it was something of a blessing that he was so exhausted, since he went straight to sleep.


Unfortunately, after that, things went downhill a little bit.

I awoke in the middle of the night to the lovely sounds of Z puking on me.

His lack of energy at dinner time and before bed had been due to the onset of a nasty stomach bug.

He managed to fall back asleep for a while, but most of the night was pretty restless, with him trying to crawl out of his sleeping bag, getting cold, and coughing a lot.


In the morning, though, he rallied, and was in perfectly good spirits.

Despite the unexpected illness in the middle of the night, he proclaimed how much he loved camping and that he wanted to do it again. He was also insistent that he wanted to go climbing again that morning.

So, other than having to clean up a massive diaper blow out in the tent that morning, I thought there may be a chance that he really was feeling better.

So, we headed to the park to see if we could do a little more climbing, but, alas, it was not meant to be.

By the time I had hiked most of the way around the river trail to the southern tip, he was quickly wilting, and decided that he was sick and wanted to go home. He ended up being sick for about a week afterwards - but the whole time, no matter how bad he felt, the little trooper always said he wanted to go climbing again.


"I love camping!"



Gear Notes:

Evolv Vengas, size 1

Petzl Ouistiti


Approach Notes:

Deuter Kid Comfort II

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LOL!!!! Too funny this picture! And a great post Jeff! :tup: What a lil trooper too! Being a dad is some good stuff. :tup:




That feeling never leaves you. My youngest, Shaun, is around this summer. About a week or so ago.



It just seems like a little bit ago he was a lil tyke. Time flies even faster when you have kids. Below, last year or so climbing with the old guys doing a FA through the blackberries on a route Jim Opdycke named "Child Abuse". LOL!



Photo Jeff Thomas


Congrats on being a dad, good looking lad there.

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Nice TR!!!


Raising climbers is a tricky business. It's like that famous old tale about the parents who force their kid to take piano lessons. When they grow up, they never touch the piano again.


That was our fear...so we took them everywhere we climbed, but never forced them to tie in. It had to be their choice, and mostly they chose chasing lizards.


Fast forward 25 years: both kids climb, but it's not their passion. They have many interests, and climbing is just one of many.


With all the potential problems we could have had raising teenagers, I'm happy they are normal and have good jobs. I can find climbing partners...

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