Friday's Fitness Tips — Climbing with Children
This week’s tips come from Stonewear Grassroots Team Member Melissa Love.
1) Take turns and make it fun for the kids!
I’ve found that my three-year-old understands “taking turns” on boulder problems. He is happy to take a turn on a boulder problem and then watch when it’s my turn to try one. Many children will enjoy bouldering up the first part of routes at the crag. Also, climbing gyms often have fun animal or letter shaped holds that get them excited to climb. Placing a favorite toy a few feet up might also encourage them to climb up and get it when it is their turn. Though you don’t need any special gear for your toddler in order to boulder (they do great with street shoes or bare feet), getting your toddler a helmet, climbing harness (if they want to rope climb), and some fun climbing shoes is another way to get them excited. Bouldering is easy because this eliminates the harness and it is relatively easy to “spot” a toddler.
Safety note: Your kids should wear their helmets at all times at the crag in case of rock fall. It is essential to teach a toddler not to walk or stand under other climbers. When sport climbing, it’s essential to make sure that they are not under any climbers at the crag so that they are not in danger of rock fall.
When you have two young children it becomes imperative to have a “third” if you are sport climbing. You’ll need a third person to belay you while you let your husband/partner or a grandparent watch the children. Sport climbing routes tend to be 50-100 feet, taking anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes to climb (up to an hour if you’re projecting). When baby cries or toddler needs you right away, you lower down and are with them in seconds.
3) Climb “doubles.”
As we mothers know all too well, time is of the essence when you have two young children. You have two hours to fit your climbing session in if you’re lucky enough to have childcare at your climbing gym. If you are outside climbing with your “3rd,” you have only the window of time that your children allow you to be on the rock before they want you to come down. Either way climbing “doubles” or two routes in a row without untying and taking a break serves as a great way to get more routes in (and it’s great fitness training, too)!
I climbed my first 13.b after the birth of my first son. Partly because climbing doubles gets you fit, and also because you tend to become more efficient with your climbing sessions when time is a limited factor.
And remember, have fun!
By Melissa Love, Stonewear Designs Grassroots Team Member