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burchey

How far will you push it if you have family?

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Since my first son was born, I don't think I've scaled anything back, but I have been much more careful about planning and learning about methods to keep me alive longer. Learning about new techniques and gear. Opening up your options when it comes to decision making time. Instead of cowboying myself up rock or across glaciers, I am thinking more.

 

You're asking a very personal question and you're going to have to put all the pieces together for your own situation. As usual, there's no right answer and someone will always think your approach is irresponsible or extreme. No matter how sweet and juicy the peach, there's always going to be someone who doesn't like your peaches.

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I've found that I was a pretty conservative climber before the little one (almost ones :) ) arrived. I've certainly dialed back the amount I was climbing, but not so much the technical difficulty. In fact my two biggest climbs to date came after Geneva was born. Nothing exceptionally dicey, but "challenging" for me.

 

That said I was never drawn to the high risk ends of the game. Ice climbing is interesting, but I'll only go in good conditions. Winter, mixed alpine, and steep snow all seem too inherently unforgiving to be attractive to me.

 

There's plenty of long, hard, challenging, but also reasonably safe routes that I find more attractive and am drawn to. I'm wiling to risk injury, but I'm naturally conservative enough to back off before I'm risking death, even if the chances are small.

 

5.12 at Index is damn hard but still reasonably "safe", the NE Butt on Chair Peak in winter is much easier but IMHO also less "safe".

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This is exactly what I was hoping for - a range of perspectives and personal takes on the topic.

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I have always been cautious. The regularioty with which I get out is more complicated than BC/AC (before child/after child). I started climbing when I already had two children. I get an occasional bold day, and many days afraid to climb above my last piece.

 

My husband has definitely dialed it back substantially. Since we bring our kids to the crag a lot, he didn't want to risk taking a fall and cratering in front of our daughter. He is also less fit due to a change in jobs, so not able to easily do what he used to do. He used to solo single pitch climbs up to 5.7/5.8 and one rope length. Now he avoids soloing, leading x routes, and enjoys the conversation on the ground

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This is exactly what I was hoping for - a range of perspectives and personal takes on the topic.

 

It's a personal choice. No one can make it for us. We all make these choices based on many things that we often unconsciously bring to the table. That my father died when I was 18 months old (brain tumor) weighed heavily with me. I lived my entire life with no dad and I didn't want that for my kids. My wife wanted the kids about the time I was just hitting my stride in climbing. First one popped out: I jacked up my life insurance, stopped climbing Mts and ice and doing lots of other things as well, and prayed daily that I would live till my child was at least 5 years old. It was my manta I chanted at night. Daily. Not a joke. Every frikkan day I considered this very topic and strove to achieve that objective. I made it, and was out backpacking last week with the lad, the youngest at 22, seen below out climbing in Red Rocks with me a few months back. I got here due to conscious choices. Good times.

 

Shaun_racking.jpg

 

My choices are not anyone elses, mine alone, and none of us ultimately get out alive. That I delayed the inevitable was my thing. Can't speak for anyone else or their choices. If someone choses to go for it, balls out, more power to them. I tend to respect those who think, then chose the path. A choice thus made is usually much more worthy and worth fulfilling IMO. Alex Lowes choice was as valid as mine. For me, it would have been a bad thing, it was not for him though and I respect that. Those who do not chose and let the current of life cause them to drift, are a different -perhaps lower, category. It is for each of us to make that choice. Or not.

 

That's all I have.

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Billcoe, I'd imagine you worried like crazy since your father died so young. That's a whole 'nother kind of hazard we can't even account for. Every day (and climb) is a gift for sure.

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hard to appreciate your family if you're dead, but it's also hard to appreciate anything if you're bored w/ life - it's a tight rope, no?

 

for myself at least, i've found my solo ambitions have dialed way back, and my interests turned more toward the staid world of big walling.

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