So I did it! I finally went and tried ‘real’ rock climbing, harness and all. My reasons for wanting to learn to rock climb were not totally personal, though. I had seen several videos and pictures of toddlers climbing up these walls like pros and later had read a few articles about the numerous benefits that rock climbing has on young children. (previous post with links)
My son, from the day he was, born has been eager to get on the move; and since the moment he learned to walk, he’s wanted to climb everything. I often find him in the strangest of places wondering how on earth he even got there himself, like the railing of the porch, or patio table, his high chair, throwing himself over the side of the couch. As we are homeschooling I decided that I wanted to support this interest further, instead of policing him from climbing furniture.
I thought it might be best if Jule and I went to learn the basics and get a better understanding of what we might be getting into. I researched two of the local climbing gyms and saw that the one had a beginner belay class, which was actually about $10 cheaper than a day pass, so we signed up and tried it out. We received a short tour and a basic lesson on how to tie a few knots to secure our ropes both as a climber and a belayer. our instructor was awesome, fun and efficient, pushing us to climb and fall. He has loads of funny climbing puns. It was a great trust and communication exercise and of course the fun of climbing. (Stone Summit, Kennesaw GA) *they also have a location in North Atlanta.
The following weekend, we decided to check out the other gym as a contrast, and take Caspian since they had a separate kids area for climbing. He loved running around on the mats, and the tunnel they had and a carpeted climbing cave, but he was still a bit small for the holds they had in the kid’s area although he tried to climb one of the walls, but the spacing was too far for him and was understandably frustrated. There were two young teens at the gym that had been climbing for a couple of years, and their skill was amazing, I really hope that Cas will take to climbing like they have. The second gym was much more family friendly, and a lot smaller/ more intimate, but it did not have the same energy as the first gym we went to. We enjoyed our time at both gyms, but ultimately I think that the first gym that we had taken the class at is much better suited to our family. (Escalade Rock Climbing Gym, Kennesaw GA)
We also have plans to make Caspian a small wall at home to help him get more comfortable and encourage the interest as well as aid physical development. We don’t get out much during the week so it will be nice to have a space for him to burn off some extra energy too. We had to clean out and re-organize the garage, which took a solid day to do. The first step to setting up our climbing wall was to attach three furring strips to the studs in the wall of the garage. There is still lots of work to complete it including ordering holds, the end result will be awesome, and I’m very excited. But, more on that and all the details and plans later.
(same toddler from video link above)