Gearing your kids up for climbing
With spring just around the corner, climbers will soon be heading outdoors to crags near and far. A day spent climbing as a family offers long-lasting memories for parents and their kids. Before roping up this season, take the time to conduct a full checkup on everything you need to ensure that you always enjoy a great outing.
March 15 2019
Choose the right climbing area
When you start the new season (or introduce someone to climbing), choose a climbing area with a short, quick approach where the base of the cliff is as spacious and as flat as possible. Select a section of the cliff where there are relatively few climbers, and steer clear of any poor-quality or unstable rock (especially above where you will be climbing). For this initial outing, if the area has routes of varying difficulty for everyone to climb at their level, even better. To avoid wearing yourself out after the first route, choose a part of the cliff where the rock is less than vertical (no overhangs). For kids, avoid routes with successive ledges, which are often difficult and scary obstacles for them to overcome when climbing or lowering.
In addition, take cliff’s aspect into consideration, even on a sunny spring day; a crag in the shade can be very cold and take all the fun out of rock climbing. In the worst case scenario, it may be so cold for those resting between routes that you might be forced to call it quits altogether.
Organizing your outing
Spending a full day at the crag as a family can seem really long for kids. After one or two routes, they may appear bored or simply want to take a break. We recommend bringing what you need for activities other than climbing, starting with a picnic! There should be enough food and drinks to rehydrate and replenish the energy spent while climbing.
It is also worthwhile to bring a deck of cards, travel board games, books, or anything else that will allow the kids to play together (or with their parents) while staying close by waiting for their turn to climb again.
With younger kids, bring a tarp and/or picnic blanket to spread out on the ground for them to be able to take a nap.
Preparing your gear
Before leaving, make sure that you have all of the necessary gear for the cliff where you plan to climb: the right length rope, enough quickdraws, belay devices, harnesses and helmets for everyone, climbing shoes, a chalk bag, and any other gear you deem necessary (slings, carabiners…).
When it comes to specific gear for the kids, make sure that everything fits properly, since a recent growth spurt can push a kid from one size harness to another in just a few months. To avoid any fit issues, have them put their gear on at home before leaving.
Prior to every outing, inspect your gear to make sure everything works properly, especially after a long period of time in storage without being used.
Check out our recommendations for the ideal selection of gear (for men, women, and kids of all ages) to start the new season with exactly what you need. Have fun climbing as a family!
Climbing gear for kids and for adults
- GRIGRI+ Sm'D
- ARIAL 9.5 mm
- POWER CRUNCH BOX
- DJINN AXESS
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