Was your dad a climber? Or your Mom? Or neither?


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Ice climber
Soon 2B in Arizona
Sep 6, 2013 - 01:00am PT
my dad didn't ride dirt bikes, but supported me while I did. Later on, when I got into hiking, he was my hiking partner. Later still, he was my fishing buddy. we fished a lot. good times.However, both he and my mom, especially my mom, never understood why I liked climbing.

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Sep 6, 2013 - 01:29am PT
Cool thread! Neither of mine were but they both love the mountains and got me started up there.

I'm taking my three month old to Kings Canyon this weekend to get him started early!

Sep 6, 2013 - 01:49am PT
My parents first took us to the Wind Rivers in the early 70s, and we did a fair amount of peak bagging and desert hiking over the years. Little technical climbing, but we occasionally used some goldline and a few biners, once even rescued a stoned hippie on Gannett Peak who fell into the bergschrund below Gooseneck Spire. Later, once I got into rock climbing, they have done a bit over the years. We went out to City of Rocks this summer, and my mother made it all the way up Delay of Game (a long 5.8 face) and my father did the hard part of Adolescent Homo Sapiens (5.7). Both are in their 70s now. Pretty cool.

Sep 6, 2013 - 03:24am PT
dad was not outdoorsy in the slightest. he liked to party and wear non-sensible shoes.

mom ran, or "jogged" as they called it bitd. did a few marathons. she got the whole climbing thing, even though it scared her. she eventually got a pitch or two in at j-tree and did the mountaineer's route on whitney with a supertopo person/old school legend. go mom!

Sep 6, 2013 - 04:17am PT
Neither. My dad passed away years ago, but I just got off the phone with my mom. Love you, mom!

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Sep 6, 2013 - 06:00am PT
I very distinctly remember only one exchange between my father and myself regarding climbing:

We were hiking in the Pinnacles National Monument on the Upper Peaks Trail. I noticed a couple climbing on one of the formations as we walked by. Stopping, I pointed them out to my father who harrumphed and said only, "what a selfish user group." before continuing on the trail.

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Sep 6, 2013 - 09:01am PT
My parents had us kids camping in the dirt from the start, and my father took us on backpack trips early on....Yosemite backcountry, Grand Canyon, the Smokey Mountains...

They were flat out against me climbing, in the strongest of terms, and told me, "Nothing good will come from this."

In 1998, I received commendations from the California State Assembly and United States Congress for a rescue I was involved in high on Mt. Dana, which saved 3 lives. When my parents saw this, they basically ate their words, and literally said, " We never anticipated anything good coming from your climbing exploits."

To this day, they never want to know when I am heading out to climb....but they always want to see the pics when I return. And when they look at the pics, they always say the same thing....."You're the reason our hair is so grey."

: )


Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Sep 6, 2013 - 09:06am PT
mom used to climb, on dad,

if he wasn't drunk

which was never,

up and down, up and down, hear the bed go up an down,


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Sep 6, 2013 - 09:08am PT
Yep, mom and dad both. Though to paint a more accurate picture we all got intoclimbing at the same ( it was my brother's fault) fifty years ago. Not easy to do in Vhicago, back then!

And yeah when I met Russ' dad, a fascinating person in his own right, I didn't recall his name being Ritner. I would have remembered that

Jim Henson's Basement
Sep 6, 2013 - 09:09am PT
I think Banquo's dad get's the bad-ass award and Kris Kristofferson definitely get's the casting call when they film "the movie".

Me.. neither parent climbs. They both think it's nutty. Both parents were educators, but were fairly active. They were avid skiers when I was a kid, but we did some hiking too. Dad was a lifeguard in New York in his youth. Mom grew up on a Kansas farm. My mom took up mountain biking lately. She's all bruised and scratched every time i see her.. and she thinks climbing is dangerous...?

Fortunately, they encouraged me to be pretty independent. Only child growing up in a kinda isolated area.. they gave me a horse and let me roam the entire Santa Monicas unsupervised. I didn't start climbing until I was 30.

Trad climber
Sep 6, 2013 - 09:59am PT
High adventure for my dad was golfing. My mother wouldn't even go camping.
How I became a climber is a mystery. Maybe because I was athletic but didn't like conventional sports.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 6, 2013 - 10:08am PT
Neither.....nor did they camp or backpack. I do remember my dad teasing me in 1953 (after news about Tensing and Hillary) that I wouldn't be able to do the first ascent of Everest.

Nice photo Micronut!
Alan Rubin

Sep 6, 2013 - 10:13am PT
Neither climbed nor did anything the least bit "outdoors"--other than look from the car. Same for all of my relatives. The family always wondered where my "outdoor mutation" came from. Wherever it did come from, I remember from a very early age being fascinated by the few wooded, hilly areas we'd drive by in northern Westchester County,NY---they seemed to be a true wilderness that was beckoning me. A bit older in the Scouts, hiking and camping were my favorite activities, likewise in summer camp--and hiking up mountains was best of all. What my parents did do was take me on a trip west when I was 14. I had alreay hiked summits in the White Mountains, but that trip I saw the Tetons and Yosemite and became a climber---well, a wannabe climber, in that I didn't actually have the opportunity to get on the rock until almost three years later. But inbetween I devoured everything about climbing I could find in the local libraries---a habit that still persists. Once I did start to climb, my folks, while always worried and still never quite understanding my obsession, never discouraged me and at least tried to pretend some degree of interest in my "adventures".

Even with both her parents being climbers, our daughter, despite trips to the crags and gym when younger, is not a climber, but she does share our love of camping and the outdoors.

Clint, I love that picture of you. Given the date and your appearance, it must have been taken not long after we first met.

Russ, I, too, knew Ritt, and share the consensus that he was quite the "character". Amongst his other accomplishments he was a pilot and was know to buzz the Gunks at quite a low altitude.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Sep 6, 2013 - 11:46am PT
Both of my parents were academics and as far from having any inclination or desire to do physical things, albeit my dad loved his garden. The closet either of them came to climbing or hiking was when my mom worked for the Curry Co. in the summer of 46 and hiked to the top of Half Dome. That was about it for my family.

I was introduced to it via a month long California Outward Bound class in 1971 my parents sent me on in the hope I would get a clue about life. I got a clue about climbing, but it took much longer for the life thing.

Boulder climber
Sep 6, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
Ever hear of Ritner Walling?

A friend and climbing/bouldering companion in ancient times in the Tetons.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 6, 2013 - 07:57pm PT
Clint, I love that picture of you. Given the date and your appearance, it must have been taken not long after we first met.
Yeah, I'm sure glad my dad took some good photos on the family trips! And then my parents scanned their slides a couple of years ago to share with everyone.
1972 is indeed close - I think you and I first met in the fall of 1975.
Dave Davis

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 6, 2013 - 08:29pm PT
I Remember meeting your dad in Yosemite sometime back in the early seventies. We were both on a rescue to yank a couple of future luminaries off the prow. Your old man was quite a character with a very keen wit. Is he still around. Neither my father or my son are climbers(dad's 95).I guess common sense skipped a generation.

Trad climber
47N 122W
Sep 6, 2013 - 08:36pm PT
BOTH ... and they were instrumental to my yearning for Rock Climbing at age 5. By age 10 we summitted Mt. Whitney East Face/Shakey Leg Var. ... and around the same time they established jointly with others CAMRA (Central AZ mtn Rescue Assoc.) an MRA chapter which still does Mtn Rescue to this day in the Maricopa County/Phoenix AZ area
(hey it's been 45 years now!)
Also to all those folks "we" used to teach how to climb!

Thanks to both, for giving the gift of climbing!

Trad climber
Sep 11, 2013 - 04:51pm PT
My mom has never approved of my climbing, even though she approves of me. She's made the promise to never buy any of us (who climb in the family) any climbing gear for Christmas or birthdays, and has held to it quite well.

My dad (and mom, really)instilled in us a great love for the outdoors. He was never a climber, but he did go bouldering with me once at Woodson, and found the whole thing pretty fascinating.

At this moment, my dad is struggling in a Sacramento hospital, having undergone emergency surgery for a subdural hematoma. It's wrecking me pretty bad seeing this loving, scrappy, Nebraska farm boy who became my dad in such a helpless state. I'm hoping and praying for the best, and am having a pretty tough time imagining the worst.

Thanks for posing the question, micronut, and sorry for the rambling. Just feeling pretty raw, and your thread brought out the weepy in me.

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
Sep 11, 2013 - 06:08pm PT
Neither for me either. My dad was very interested in backpacking. Read the Complete Walker, bought an Optimus Stove and other fascinating gear (to me as well). I remember the EMS catalog back in the 70's filled with weird (to me) pitons and such. But he was somebody who gets interested in something but would rarely, if ever, follow through.

I wanted to do all of these kinds of adventures with him. I remember him getting USGS maps and plotting a hike along the length of the Connecticut River. But planning in the living room was as far as it went. The only backpacking I did as a kid was with another friend's dad!

But my dad had planted a seed in me. I read the original edition of Colin Fletcher's The Complete Walker when I was about 11 (and read each update as they came out). I dreamed of doing such walks. Around 30 I realized I was in danger of being like my dad and "thinking about doing it" instead of "just doing it."

So I pledged to get out at least once a month to the backcountry. I was fortunate to have the Sierra just 3 or so hours away, I fulfilled that pledge. I remember my first camping trip, with long day hikes around the Kirkwood area. Even bagged the summit of Round Top and felt scared to be up there, loving it at the same time. Solo backpacking lead to an interest in feeling safer going off trail and up peaks. That lead to YMS classes and the rest is history...

My Mom has a fear of heights and gets vertigo (such as when driving over some pass in the Great Smokey's with my brothers (but not me) and when I took her on a tour of the Marin Headlands). So climbing is most certainly not her thing. But she enjoys being outdoors and hikes regularly, year round, in the Blue Hills near Boston. She even uses snow shoes!

All my kids (four) I have taken camping, hiking, backpacking, skiing and climbing (when they show interest). I never push, just expose. If they want to come back later, I know something latched. They usually do.

My oldest, now 24, is a theatre actress and very busy with that life. She is very selective about guys. Right now she's dating a guy who is both an actor and climber (he was very minorly sponsored for a bit). Oh, if that relationship works out, they're going to be raking in the big bucks with those lines of work!

Thanks for all the great stories.

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