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B Deleted_Beck

When'd you make your kid a climbing "partner?"

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Howdy

 

I have 4 little boys, and a 5th due in July. As you can expect with any climbing father of little boys, I'm extremely impatient for them to hurry up and get big enough to get off top-rope and start belaying me. Multi trad, alpine... man climbing.

 

What age did you trust your kid to belay your lead? When did they go from little tag-alongs to full on climbing PARTNERS?

 

My oldest is about to turn 8... I'm guessing I'll probably have another 4-5 years before I can trust my life to his belay, but it would be interesting to know if anybody's managed to do it sooner.

 

Thanks

 

-Ben

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age 9...tie him down and you are good to go! OR...he can be your rope gun!

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Quotes on partner just to differentiate between the little top-rope tag-alongs and people who you actually want to go tackle routes of consequence with.

 

9... wow! ATC or Grigri? You know, I guess I might trust my oldest with a grigri... in the gym.

 

 

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I'm glad I'm not the only one with five kids (we get a lot of stares from snobby yuppies).

All my kids climb (ages 3-13). My oldest daughter belayed me at age 11. We worked a lot in the tree in our yard (no gym in this area) and I usually anchor her while she belays. Her little brother, who is 11 now, belays. My daughter caught a fall once and even though her hair got caught in the ATC (last time she didn't wear it back) she still held it.

RuMR makes a good point. My daughter climbs a little better than me and can also lead so thats an option too.

I asked here about wether to have her use a grigri or ATC and the consensus, kinda, was that if she is competent she can learn to use an ATC. She has and we use the ATC XP.

Cheers

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I started belaying my dad on multipitch when I was 12. He just tied me in and didn't fall.

 

7 years later it's changed, I tie him down and do most the leading, watching me run it out makes him nervous. Also I get to carry the rope, rack, and food bag, he calls me sherpa. I've gotten very good at jabbing him in the ribs while still remaining mostly asleep myself when he is snoring away in the tent, bring some earplugs for your kids sake.

 

Still, every climbing trip I do with him is a great time and I look forward to many more in the future.

 

here's a precious moment captured on film from a few years back.

 

contemplating the rappel with the waeschle brothers, August 2009 in the Needles

8524_1239833354404_1186393944_30740115_8377693_n.jpg

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I started following easy trad when I was 11 or 12. I left a fair amount of gear which he had to retrieve, particularly small chalks, and I don't think he ever led anything in those days where he thought he could fall. I think it depends on you and the kid though - there are some skilled little climbers out there and if you feel safe and he feels safe you could start earlier.

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When Dylan turned 12 and I was 45, I figured he was old enough. I had wanted to learn technical rock climbing for years, so we both started then. He belayed top ropes almost immediately (from above, on Slug Rock on

Blewett Pass) and within a year he was belaying anything I tried. This was in the ATC era. Now he is the sherpa, rope gun, teacher, etc. He's 30 and I'm 63 and we still have a great time. A couple weeks ago I was belaying his 5.13d project and then he would belay me on my 5.11a project.

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Kids and climbing is such a difficult subject. You spend the first decade holding their hand to keep them safe, while they watch you climb up cliffs. There weren't gyms nearby when our kids grew up so it was harder.

 

But, to answer the question, my son first belayed me when he was 11. I gave him a stitch plate, which is very grabby, and led up an easy 5.4. His mom supervised.

 

We tried to avoid ever forcing them to climb. They got to choose between following a route, and chasing lizards as they went from toddlers to teenagers. They usually chose the lizards.

 

But they went everywhere with us, from Jtree to Squamish. Their friends thought we were the coolest parents, and still do.

 

But the first time my 19 year old son chose to lead a dangerous sport route with a ledge fall potential, I was not happy. I was watching him maneuver through a dangerous chossy section of cliff, knowing that if he blew it he was going to break his back. And would that make me a good dad, or a bad dad?

 

Thankfully, he backed away from climbing and got into his own dangerous sports...just blew his ACL skiing trees.

 

Both my kids still climb, but I did not raise two climbing partners, as I thought I might. And I'm ok with that. When they join me, it's awesome, but when they don't, I beg the wife, or scratch around for partners at the gym, nothing has changed.

 

This is my 24 year old daughter on a ledge at Smith 3 weeks ago, her boyfriend in the background. He had never climbed before. She goes with Sue and I more than my son. My son seems to be in a phase where he wants to be independent.

IMG_04761.jpg

 

Kids and climbing....what are you going to do when it's the family sport?

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Let me see, take five kids to five different practices, games and tournaments or take them all climbing? Sounds like an easy choice to me.

Just the looks we get at the crags from uppity kid haters as all five of my clones trundle out of the van is worth the 30 min drive. If I had a dollar for every, "Are they all yours?" I get I'd retire early.

Edited by Buckshot

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The problem i am having is i can't get up the kids' warmups anymore. They will go to sectors that they can climb in and are utterly desperate for me and the wife...

 

That being said, i'm inspired to train my arse off...

Edited by RuMR

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Let me see, take five kids to five different practices, games and tournaments or take them all climbing? Sounds like an easy choice to me.

Just the looks we get at the crags from uppity kid haters as all five of my clones trundle out of the van is worth the 30 min drive. If I had a dollar for every, "Are they all yours?" I get I'd retire early.

 

I get a lot of comments about basketball

 

Being all-natural/organic/free-range type granola eaters, but refusing to finance anything, we drive our big, dented, rusty, stinky, loud, carbon-factory suburban to places where people simply cannot contain their shock and even disgust when my long haired, itty bitty country girl wife jumps down with a pregnant belly almost bigger than the rest of her, followed by an endless line of little blonde heads.

 

It's cool... Just makes me smile, to know I gave somebody the opportunity to have an emotion. :-D

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Start em young... I made this infant harness for one of my climbing buddies as a baby shower gift. I recommend you start them out belaying with a gri till they are old enough to at least hold the rope. Baby_s_Climbing_Harness.JPG

 

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9... wow! ATC or Grigri? You know, I guess I might trust my oldest with a grigri... in the gym.

 

Around 9 should be fine if the kid spent enough time belaying at the gym... The Gri-gri2 works best for my son...

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Start em young... I made this infant harness for one of my climbing buddies as a baby shower gift. I recommend you start them out belaying with a gri till they are old enough to at least hold the rope. Baby_s_Climbing_Harness.JPG

 

I should've invited you to my baby shower.

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My daughter started climbing with me when she was 5 and quit when she was 13. She was never heavy enough to belay me. Most often she would climb with me and another partner. When we climbed together alone, I would self belay off the anchor then she would clean and follow the pitch.

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