Climbing And Parenting

Any parents out there that were climbers PRE-kid AND post-kid?

My firstborn child is due any day now. I’m freaking out a bit… I’ve talked a lot with people about life pre and post kid, but not many climbers.

I need tips, tricks, and all kinds of hacks for how to be a parent with GOALS in climbing.

I’m not just a casual climber. I’ve been pretty dedicated and serious for the better part of 6 years (climbing for 13 or something). I’ve sent 3 5.13b’s and I want to send 14a in the next 6 years. I am a weekend warrior with a home wall that is quite short (45 and 20 w a transition) and access to multiple gyms.

How do I be a dad, climb well, be a good partner (climbing/parent/romantic partner), etc!? Has anyone gone through this stuff and have any thoughts or options? Stories, encouragement, all of it accepted.

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Here.

I have an awesome wife so that makes it easier. We bring our daughter out climbing alot.

Once she got mobile it’s gotten tougher. 3-9 months she was pretty happy in a bouncy seat at the crag. She also sat in her car seat at the gym quite well for us. This is all kid dependent though.

She has actually came around to being more work at the crag now lately, at nearly 5, as she wants to play and we can rarely find other families for playmates for her.

When you can get a full night sleep again life gets a lot better. Ours slept all night pretty early in life, like around 6 months. We got her jet lagged on an international trip and got her sleeping through the night well ever since.

Feel free to hit me with other questions

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Climber of 20+ years with a 5-year-old here. My first two tips would be to make sure you have some quick goto (30-60min) at-home strength sessions, things you can get done during nap time. The second would be to get that kid out to the crag early and often, it’s not going to be easy, but the work you put in early pays off when they get a bit older (4+). Having a kid who is experienced at the crag and with being outdoors is crucial. Assuming your partner climbs, the last thing embrace the party of 3 and find friends that will support you.

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I started taking my son to the gym regularly with me at 3 months and still do 4 years later. Our first bouldering trip with him was at 2 months and we get out regularly.

My experiences are similar to @Mshepard, the first year or so isn’t too bad. Babies will often hangout in a bouncer or car seat and hopefully take some naps. You may get an hour of climbing in then have to take a 40 minute break for a diaper change and bottle, then get another hour in. It isn’t awesome but it’s better than not climbing. Having friends will also help. I found babies often times aren’t very picky about who holds them. This changed for me in his second year as he only wanted his mom or dad. I didn’t get out as much that year as he wouldn’t be consoled by other adults and my wife wasn’t climbing too much. Third year (2-3) I can’t attest to as COVID and a bad toe injury meant I didn’t get out much. This year (3-4) has gotten way better. I get out with him a bunch, often without a third adult and he does pretty good. Other kids make it way better as then they entertain each other.

How well your kid sleeps will be a major impact on how things go. My kid still doesn’t sleep through the night. If you want to prioritize something early on to get rewards later, work on sleep training. The first 3 to 6 months was a haze of sleep exhaustion. So you may want to lower your expectations for the spring season. I don’t want to rain on your parade, just being honest. But I have had sent some of my hardest routes since my son was born, you just have to be a bit more focused, which based on your current abilities you probably have sorted better than me.

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The most important thing is just be be disciplined. I starting training seriously on my hangboard/home wall after my first child was born and climb way stronger than I did when I was single. My climbing partner has come over from 9-11p every Thursday for dedicated training time for the last five years. My other training is done early morning before the family is up, usually kettlebells or hangboarding at 5:30am. I don’t get outside much, so I’m motivated to make sure that I’m in the best shape possible whenever I do. When you have kids you don’t have nearly so much spare time, so you have to be disciplined to use what time you have efficiently.

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There’s a ton of great advice already in here.

I have a 5 year old and one of the things that has been really helpful and important for me is adjusting my expectations and reframing what I’m psyched on.

Getting psyched on local boulders that are child friendly, climbing on my home wall, and climbing with people who don’t mind kids around has been key for me. Basically accepting that if I’m going to climb on the weekend it’s going to be a half day bouldering session instead of a weekend away.

Being a parent has forced me to focus and I use my time much better.

I’ve also gotten a ton of value out of some local 1 star crags no one around here goes to because they’re not super cool.

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Be stoked you’ve got a home wall- it was so clutch for me keeping sane when my son was born- I’ve also found that it’s so much easier to get stronger with the focus that having a home wall and limited time brings. I’ve got very limited time as a stay at home dad, so even taking the time to drive to the gym is time I don’t really have.

I also bought a couple of proven plans and they helped me dial in my sessions even better, so I’m getting the absolute most out of them. Like others, getting outside is hard with the kid- not impossible, but if you’re wanting to rope climb, you need 3 people at least. I’ll tell you from experience that its pretty tough to get goals done with the kid early on. I’d say keep those family days and just enjoy being outside.

Finally, support your partner and really focus on your family the first year. Get what training you can in, and maybe have some mini-goals, but imho, putting in the time to figure out dad life and climbing when you can is worth a bit of sacrifice. (Fwiw, I still jumped a letter grade sport climbing and two number grades bouldering during the first year).

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Navigating this a bit right now as our son is 10 months. Biggest thing for me is having everything I need (spray wall, hang board, weightroom) at home. If I had to leave to train it just wouldn’t happen around a full time job, part time job, wife in vet school, commutes, regular domestic responsibilities, and a baby. Getting it down to a few different 45min - 1.5hr sessions is pretty much mandatory haha the first time you’ve been looking forward to climbing but without a real plan and then you find yourself with the session over and nothing to show for it…bad feeling and not something you’ll probably let happen again too many times. Having a supportive partner is also key. Trading off “babysitting” times so you each have solo time for your interests even if just an hour is a great tactic. Also having a disciplined routine of training either in the AM before everyone’s up or at night after baby is asleep and chores are done is huge. I could never do the “train during nap time” thing because naps aren’t always consistent and it became more stress than it’s worth. As for babies outside…my results have been poor so far, but I’ll keep trying over time. My wife respects my climbing time and knows how much days/weekends out mean to me so she’s supportive and good for occasional weekend with the baby with me out of town as long as I do the same when she has stuff she wants to do. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

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Thank you all so much!

This advice is encouraging and informative. I’m super grateful for all of your experience.

Keep em coming!

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I’ll second that transitioning from mostly sport climbing to local bouldering has been a great way to keep the psych and motivation high. It has been much easier to find 2-3hrs for a local bouldering session than an entire day for ropes.

My partner doesn’t climb but is super supporting and that has been a major help. Of course, a typical week takes a lot more planning and organization than it used to.

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Really psyched to see this thread!

My boy is 5+ months, our first. I’ll share some of my experience so far, but most of it boils down to having an amazing wife. She doesn’t really climb, but she’s very supportive and genuinely excited about my climbing goals.

In regards to my climbing and training I was very nervous going into the experience. My wife and I decided early on that we wouldn’t let a bundle of joy stop us from climbing trips, etc. There would be lots of challenges but we were adamant about finding solutions and adapting. I’m happy to report that it’s been exactly that. We still drove 2700 miles west for the winter. Sometimes they come with me to the crag on weekends, but sometimes I just go for the day and make up for it the next day :slight_smile: I’ve managed to break two grades since my kiddo was born. My work weeks are extra exhausting between child, training, and work. But when I’m able to enjoy the fitness on the weekends and during the summer, it’s totally worth it.

The biggest challenge was sleep. The first three months were brutal. He still doesn’t sleep through the nigh tall the time, but like most parents we’ve found a rhythm.
Anytime I see parents at the crag I glean as much insight as possible.

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It ain‘t easy especially if you want to climb harder routes.I found getting stronger and be ready when there is an opportunity to climb is your best bet.

Having everything at home is a good place to start ,you can get so much done with a homewall and an hour here and there :slight_smile: I‘ve found one of the best hacks is to have your hangboard and a pullupbar in the kitchen.You can have a full session while making Dinner and cleaning up everything.

Good Community with other kids is cool when they get older and can play together at the crag ,but please make sure you‘re not one of these parents that force the kids to the crag when they don‘t like to be there.See that way too often that there are 3year olds hanging around with tablets and smartphones just to be quiet(that‘s not a good way to raise kids…)

Also make sure you respect other climbers and go to areas wich are childfriendly and known for that so that the people who don‘t like the distraction of childs can have their peace at other areas.Same with Gyms,some are cool with kids others not so.Find one your kid likes and you‘ll have a great time and good experience together ,wich is far more important than V10 :grin:

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First of all I am impressed by the absense of the Trolls in this thread haha.

As my little girl gets older(turning 10 this year!) it gets more and more important to do what she wants to do with her to keep the interest in the outdoors and climbing alive. Sacrificing my goals for the day (just for the day) when she shows interest has been paying dividends as she gets older and is making decisions about what she wants to do and how she wants to spend her time.

Play the long game and the returns are huge both in a relationship with your kiddo and in aligning interests while spending time together. It’s an adventure!

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These responses are incredible!

Thank you all. 3 weeks into this Newborn-Tunnel-Of-Hell and I’m seeing some light in these responses.

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Congratulations! Despite the lack of sleep, enjoy the first few months before they start to move!

Good luck!

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