Climbing, parenting, Enduring Patagonia, and the Supermouse

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micronut

Trad climber
Feb 12, 2013 - 08:36pm PT
Good topic here.

I wonder sometimes too, but it goes with many aspects of parenting and life too...like sports.

My wife and I both swam on the US Team and we now have kids who are pretty good little swimmers. We really don't push, but it can be tempting because it meant so much to us at the time (Paid for college in full, we got to see the world and live the dream of an Olympic Hopeful.) Its in their genes for sure, my fifteen year old is already moving into NCAA scholarship postential in backstroke, but I often wonder how much to nudge. We have the tendency to go too light sometimes, because we don't want to be "those" parents. But there's also time to "suck it up and train with a little pain" and I think we do our kids no great service by backing off when it gets hard. The most important thing is "are you having fun and is this your choice?" We ask them that on cold and rainy days when swimming sounds like a drag, and they always say "yeah...let's go."

Credit: micronut
With climbing, it seems to be in their blood from out camping days that turned into family backpacking trips. Our little boys love it, and Sierra, the swimmer, is just starting to lead climb. SHe wants to lead her first multi-pitch this summer, a great, five pitch granite 5.5 in the foothills above Fresno. She first climbed it with me when she was about 12 and it was one of my most joyful days as a dad. We are planning on Snake Dike this summer and the boys really want to climb The Grack someday. I love that it's in their language....it's something we share. "Dad, that crack looks awesome doesn't it?" or "Dad, do coyboy boots ever have Stealth Rubber, cause that would be soooo cool."
Credit: micronut

EIither way, I'd be stoked to continue to climb with them when I'm an old man, or just enjoy doing anything that keeps the fire for adventure lit within them, be it Fly fishing, skiing or camping. Every year, each of the four kids gets a one on one trip with Dad, and they always ask to make it a climbing thing. WHo knows, maybe next year it will end up a tour of The Mall of America or The ComicCon. I'm just happy to make sure we support them in whatever they dream of doing and to be right there when they succeed or fail. If they really got after it and started doing hardcore alpine stuff, The true hardcore high risk stuff, I'd have to say I'd rather they chose golf, that would be hard for me as a dad.
Credit: micronut
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Feb 12, 2013 - 09:16pm PT
Crouch,

Give me that rodent for a summer.

Ill beat him withs carabiners till scales the Captain.
Kids need to learn to push themselves.... Then he can reload my ammo and wash my car.
Bob D'A

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Feb 12, 2013 - 09:38pm PT
I have exposed my kids (all three) to climbing...they all went on to different sports/pursuits. I'm happy for them. All three are healthy, smart and their own people/person. Love them dearly...they have made my life better and more fulfilled.
Will_P

Trad climber
Melbourne, Victoria
Feb 12, 2013 - 10:03pm PT
From another perspective - I kinda wish my stepfather had pushed me more to get involved in 'his' passion of climbing. At the time, he took me out a couple of times for a weekend, but waited for me to initiate it. Once I was a few years older, in my later teens, and getting into it by myself, he was losing interest in climbing (no chance of that in your scenario, though, Greg!). Now I regret that we didn't share more time when it was mutual interest, that wou;d've made for some cool memories. So some gentle encouragement, even just in the form of 'want to go climbing this weekend?', might be just right.

Out of interest, and having read 'Enduring Patagonia' myself - what would your reaction be if he read it and decided he wanted to enlist?
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2013 - 10:47pm PT
Out of interest, and having read 'Enduring Patagonia' myself - what would your reaction be if he read it and decided he wanted to enlist?

I'd ask if he was SURE he wanted to do that, and if the answer was yes, I think I wouldn't have any trouble getting behind it. Hell, I learned a ton in the Army, and I liked it. I just didn't love it. I loved climbing, and therein lay the rub.
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2013 - 10:48pm PT
@ Micronut: Great post.

@ghoulwej: He'd probably like that. Hell, I know he'd like that. All except the washing the truck part.
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Feb 12, 2013 - 11:02pm PT
Soccer is his thing;....climbing is Dad's thing..





Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Feb 12, 2013 - 11:09pm PT
I like the idea of family biking.......

Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Feb 12, 2013 - 11:12pm PT
Summit or plummet; top or chop, son......(and tie your damn shoe, son....)...

Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Feb 12, 2013 - 11:16pm PT
Hip hop dance....sure...





Tap dance...(w/zombies...)..why not..



Nude gardening......whatever;...go for it..



Find your own path, dream your own dreams, set your own goals, float your own boat, ride your own wave, sleep in your own bed you make for yourself, ........I will support you in your quests and adventures.......
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Feb 12, 2013 - 11:35pm PT
Bull crap! I'm forcing my kids to climb so I have a belay slave!

Just kidding, and enjoying these replies and learning a lot from them.

@Todd: Careful with encouraging the snowboarding thing. I've seen people die two times, and lots of people get helo rides, but I've yet to see that first hand climbing!
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2013 - 11:41pm PT
Naked mud wrestling at Gordon's house!

(Not like it'd be the first time or anything...)
Michael Kennedy

Social climber
Carbondale, Colorado
Feb 13, 2013 - 09:01am PT
Greg, just take Ryan climbing and have fun. Let him try out skiing, surfing, hiking as well. The big thing is to help him develop an appreciation for the outdoors and a sense of adventure. He'll figure out where he wants to take it as he grows up. He's better off climbing than sitting around watching TV all day.

Bobby D says it well ... let your kids become their own people. They are a lot smarter than we sometimes give them credit for!
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2013 - 02:39pm PT
He's better off climbing than sitting around watching TV all day.

Bobby D says it well ... let your kids become their own people. They are a lot smarter than we sometimes give them credit for!

No doubt, MK, that's my worst fear of all. Although he's a hell of a reader, which accounts for a lot of couch time. Gotta admit, I'm jealous of the amount of reading the little guy gets done. And I do a lot.

And Bob D.: I totally agree with you in that regard. We often underestimate children. I find it pretty fascinating to observe. Total naivite one minute, outrageous sophistication and insight the next.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Feb 13, 2013 - 03:08pm PT
He's better off climbing than sitting around watching TV all day.

So true- my kid got made fun of the other day for not sitting around and playing video games. Modern times!

I don't push climbing at all, but my guys are still pretty young. They like the gym so I take them sometimes and have also taken them outside, which they like. I'm not sure about when they get older but surfing, skiing and the like seem a lot safer. I've climbed with two guys that went on to be killed and one who was permanently brain damaged. It's not the same as signing kids up for baseball.

Anyway, I was never more than a bush league punter and have dialed things down from even that so they may have to look elsewhere should they aspire to climb!
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2013 - 03:18pm PT
Anyway, I was never more than a bush league punter and have dialed things down from even that

TD, I'm just hoping that one of these days you'll sink low enough for it to be worth your while to climb with me again.

(Besides, we owe it to Theo to take him.)
Woody the Beaver

Trad climber
Soldier, Idaho
Feb 13, 2013 - 04:08pm PT
Low-grade weekender checking in on this topic! My son is 26 now, and he's found his own way to climbing, without any encouragement from me. (I'm tickled about it, by the way, and I love climbing with him.) I thought about it a lot when he was a little guy, and it seemed to me, on reflection, that since climbing has a lot of the mortal business in it, that I wanted him to get there -- if at all -- through a pull, rather than a push. And that's the way it happened; he found his own way. I owe the climbing world a lot, but I wouldn't blithely recommend this path to anybody else who might think that it's a simply wholesome thing to do. I remember some darkness, some scary stuff in my own attraction to the life. It's funny to see the distinct differences between Jeff and me: he's a sweet technician and up-floater, and I'm a swearing grab-and-pull guy. He's as measured as I am impetuous. Very interesting. Glad to be here, and thanks for the thread.
duncan

climber
London, UK
Feb 13, 2013 - 04:15pm PT
Interesting topic for a newish Dad.

I have no concerns about introducing my offspring to sport-climbing or bouldering. I don't think these are much more dangerous than daily life and the benefits of regular, lifelong, outdoor exercise far outweigh the small risks.

Offspring, aged 2 3/4, on a white circuit at Fontainbleau:



I'd be delighted if said offspring enjoyed rock-climbing, I'd love to share with him something that's important to me. I'd be less enthusiastic if he went on to put up new routes in the Himalyas. I suspect he will humour his Dad for a little then go off and do something to his own tastes. That is as it should be. Whatever you say to them, they do what they want to, eventually.


Some data (skip this bit if you don't believe in science or numbers)

Rough estimate of the risk involved from (trad.) rock climbing: 0.06-0.3 deaths per 1000 participants per year (a bit less risky than driving a car). The 'background risk' of a young person dying in the UK is 0.52 deaths per 1000 population per year, mostly car crashes, suicide and a few murders.

Mountaineering is an entirely different matter. The risk of climbing big mountains - Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Denali etc. - is about 1-3 deaths per 1000 ascents/attempts; in the big mountains (8000m+ and exploratory 7000m+)
it's 5-50 deaths per 1000 ascents/attempts.

Chance of a committed Alpinist/Mountaineer dying in harness is around 3% to 30% over their lifetime. Too high odds for me.

[mostly from Mark Stevenson here]



Sport-climbing, gym climbing and bouldering offers a negligible increase in danger over life in general. Sure John Long smashes his leg (after 40 years in the sport) but a non-climbing Largo is as likely to have fallen down stairs or have a heart-attack playing tennis. Trad. climbing is about 10x more dangerous then sport-climbing but not more dangerous than driving regularly. Easy alpine climbing is 100x more dangerous than sport. Himalyan mountaineering is 1000x more dangerous.

This fits with my personal experience of people I've known dying climbing. I can think of a dozen or so, all on mountains, none on rocks.




GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Feb 13, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
I just toured the Louisville Slugger bat factory...
Awesome Americana sports tour.
ALMOST made baseball cool again.

Maybe he should just play ball?
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Feb 14, 2013 - 12:28am PT
Dad;....you can't make me go climbing...



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