Climbing dads – what age to get the kids started?

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  • Climbing dads – what age to get the kids started?
  • Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    Been thinking that a climbing wall might be good fun for our kid, who is 5. Fun for me, too, as I’ve never climbed. Is this about the right time to get them started?
    We’re quite close to a big climbing wall in one of the stockport mills, but their kid’s club starts at 6 yo by the looks of it. I guess we’d need classes to learn the ropes. Are these sort of clubs the best introduction for young uns?

    Reckon 5 is a good age to learn, Stockport is a good wall.

    Leo Houlding managed Old Man of Hoy aged 10 ๐Ÿ™‚

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    It depends on the wall, some are younger but most roped walls are allowing kids about 6.

    You might find a bouldering wall (no ropes) near, they often start kids younger as there’s no ropes to confuse. They often play climbing games. It’s a good taster to see if they enjoy it. And once confident your little ones got basic rules ( it’s not soft play, don’t run around and don’t be underneath others climbing) then perhaps you can boulder together..my girl got more from a club than with me as it was more games fun. If you find a class then you could boulder by yourself in that hour. As your kid gets older they’ll progress and you can worry about ropes later.

    The main thing now is to give it a try, get them along to a kids group and having fun.

    My girl is 9 now and pretty good at bouldering but still having fun in the academy class with the friends she’s made.

    flip
    Member

    My sons been climbing since about 4 yrs old, get a full harness, jobs a good un

    http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/full-body-harnesses/ouistiti

    mark90
    Member

    Started my daughter at about 2 on easy outdoor slabs. Got her used to the harness and being on the end of a rope. At most indoor walls they struggle physically until about 4/5, so 5 is a good age to start them as they can generally make some decent progress which encourages them. Although if you’re not experinced you’ll be limited by the age your local wall will take them on courses. Daughter is now 6 and we’re off to the wall tomorrow. I’m thinking of enrolling her in a course as I think she’d benefit from climing with a group of peers, and a ‘proper’ instructor.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    A mate got his lad started at 3, took my kids along as well, daughter was same age, hated being in a harness but could climb like a monkey, now only goes on the traversing wall. My lad was 6 at the time, was about right for him but he is not at all sporty.

    (Mate now owns a climbing wall in Loughborough, and will probably be along shortly…..)

    ianv
    Member

    5 is fine but bouldering is possibly more fun than roped climbing for young kids.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    Are the bouldering features set up over some sort of bouncy castle-type structure (So anyone can have a go without worrying about falling off)? Or is some expertise needed to tackle the boulders safely?

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    Took my 4yo climbing at the indoor wall for the first time last week – he had great fun and did really well. I have a full body harness, and quite glad of that as he spun around a bit when coming off a couple of times. He’s been watching 6yo big brother for a couple of weeks at his kids climbing club – they take kids from 5 (they’ve got the kids belaying each other this term – with an instructor tailing the ropes) – they’re happy for me to use the wall at the same time with my little one. I first took big brother when he was also 4.

    You couldn’t do what I’m doing if you’re also a beginner – I’m required to sign that I’m competent at belaying, tying in etc. Though a 5yo could go to the climbing club.

    Small section of bouldering at the wall which has a soft mat underneath it – though it’s mostly technically harder than the slab (a non-vertical wall) I roped my son up.

    ianv
    Member

    Big soft mats that kids enjoy jumping on to. Not dangerous at all.

    flip456
    Member

    as others have said above, bouldering is a good introdution without the faff of ropes etc.
    started my eldest at windgather rocks in the peak when she was 3 and she often asks to go back there.
    i’ve not taken her to the local bouldering wall yet, but will be in the new year ๐Ÿ™‚ can’t wait.

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    NICAS is a good starter for kids IMO. Teaches the basics in controlled environment etc

    ianv
    Member

    I have one of those petzl harnesses, almost unused, if anyone is interested. ยฃ12.50 posted

    natrix
    Member

    ianv, I’ll take the harness please. (will send pm tomorrow)

    natrix
    Member

    Not dangerous at all.

    Without wishing to come over all ‘elf ‘n safety’ it’s not as safe as it might seem. A female climber fell off the bouldering wall at Craggy Island a year or so ago, landed awkwardly, broke her leg and is suing the wall owners (they didn’t tell her that it could be dangerous).

    Many years ago I was on a climbing course with somebody who has gone on to become one of the country’s leading climbers. He was bouldering, fell off and landed on the instructor, knocking him unconscious. The next day the instructor had two mahoosive black eyes, which swelled up so much that he couldn’t see.

    Let you children do it by all means, just be aware of the risks…………

    Premier Icon andyfla
    Subscriber

    A female climber fell off the bouldering wall at Craggy Island a year or so ago, landed awkwardly, broke her leg and is suing the wall owners (they didn’t tell her that it could be dangerous).

    Interesting one this one, she had signed the forms and then said she hadn’t been told. Still won though.

    We take the kids in our kids club from 7 which is when we have found they can concentrate and as said above NICAS is great for giving them a structure and achievement.
    I started my boy at 3 and he really enjoys it, I have now got him into the kids club as i think he listens much better to someone else not me !

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    Still won though

    I think technically she didnt win, they said the blame was shared but the wall was a higher percentage to blame than she was. She’d done a roped wall taster or something and then her and her friends went to play on the boulder section and she jumped down thinking the mats would protect her, they didnt. She also allegedly works in the claims industry I think.

    But it does show that bouldering is actually not soft play, the instructors where I climb often say its the most dangerous area, despite looking a little like soft play for adults.

    But it is also less complicated for little kids than learning the ropes, once they learn the basic safety lessons, none of which are rocket science.

    mark90
    Member

    I have now got him into the kids club as i think he listens much better to someone else not me !

    This is one of the reasons why I’m looking at getting my daughter on a course / club.

    I used to do volunteer work with a kids climbing club. They used to take kids from eight years old for the club although I’m pretty sure there were kids as young as 5 or 6 when they did birthday parties. The birthday party games were really not much more than various elaborate versions of feet off the ground type stuff or statues on the wall, so they were rarely more than a foot or so up the wall.

    With your own kid then your best placed to judge whether they’ll be ok or not, do they freak out? will they get over excited jumping about or get distracted and stop listening to you? All depends on the kiddie really. If you go to a bouldering wall with deep matting and they don’t go above a height that you can pluck them off the wall I can’t really see how wrong things can go.

    Best game with the slightly older kids was to fix up two ropes away from the wall so that they dangled in free space, then get them to race up the rope with prussiks, once at the top one of the instructors would unhitch the rope and let them plummet to within a couple of feet off the matting. (Safety measures were in place and no children were harmed in the making of this fun).

    Premier Icon Leku
    Subscriber

    Eldest now 9 and climbing for over 2 years. Has his own wall in his bedroom..

    Sets his own routes.

    [/url]
    IMG_0930 by 100%of thetime60%ofthetime, on Flickr[/img]

    Premier Icon andyfla
    Subscriber

    Sets his own routes

    That is so cool

    ianv
    Member

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-z5XrhrIoQ[/video]

    Watch and weep! This little monster bouldered 8A at 8/9, the harder stuff on this video is 8B/+ ish @ 10 ๐Ÿ˜ฎ . She also redpointed 8c @ 11.

    mrblobby
    Member

    Leku, that is brilliant and sort of what I had in mind. Is that just a sheet of ply with some holes drilled?

    Premier Icon dannybgoode
    Subscriber

    Mrs Danny and I are not climbers but babybgoode seems pretty adept at getting on to most high surfcaes – he stacks thinks up to gain height, uses drawer handles as ladders etc

    We have found a toddler climbing class here in Sheffield so he has already started at 17 months old to try and sate his appetite for vertical movement.

    We of course have to support him on the wall but he finds all the foot and hand holds and generally tries to drag himself upward

    Premier Icon Leku
    Subscriber

    8′ X 4′ ply from B&Q. Battened off the wall to create gap for hold bolts. 50 holes drilled in ply and tee nuts banged in from behind.

    Holds off ebay.

    ianv
    Member

    Leku, that is brilliant and sort of what I had in mind. Is that just a sheet of ply with some holes drilled?

    If it was me, I would angle it a bit (10/15 degreees overhanging) it will be more beneficial in the long run.

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    Lovin that board. Making one outside for junior, as he starts NICAS after Christams (so he can teach me…)

    Have you drilled a grid so you can move the holds around? EDIT: Duh, just read the other post

    natrix
    Member

    I have one of those petzl harnesses, almost unused, if anyone is interested. ยฃ12.50 posted

    I couldn’t work out how to send a personal mail (PM), so could you email me on ilhonore at talktalk.net Thanks

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    The forum doesn’t have PM functionality, that’s why (-:

    12fifty
    Member

    My first ascent of the Langdale Pikes was under 12months in a 1970’s papoose. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The parents had me what they now call bouldering around the lakes and in the peaks from about 5/6 It was all a mixture of hill walking with the parents and bits of climbing. It’s been a long time since I gave up climbing doubt I’d get up an E1 let alone Brad Pitt or Deliverance, sort of changing now as we have a little one I let our toddler climb up (well spotted of course) rocks as and when she see’s fit.

    She did her first solo of the CD shelves (would put a picture up but it has nappy free content) and that sort of gave me the inkling she may have taken her daddies climbing genes, sort of scares me as from a personally level I really don’t want to take up climbing again as I know I’ll never be able to climb anything that I once did :-/

    ^^^what does the sit down start on blue go at?

    Premier Icon andyfla
    Subscriber

    ^^what does the sit down start on blue go at?

    It’s one hell of a dyno

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    andyfla wrote:

    I have now got him into the kids club as i think he listens much better to someone else not me !

    Yep – that’s one reason for me as well, though clearly I could just take him – the other one is that he gets to climb with other kids, peer pressure fun and games and all that (they quite often play cat and mouse with two ropes next to each other – the aim being to catch the tail). Oh, and it’s actually cheaper than me taking my little one at the same time!

    Premier Icon andyfla
    Subscriber

    The other advantage is whilst he is in kids club you can go climbing yourself – if you have a boulder wall like we do ! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Premier Icon Leku
    Subscriber

    The other advantage is whilst he is in kids club you can go climbing yourself – if you have a boulder wall like we do !

    This is what I do. Haven’t climbed since college but now go bouldering while Eldest has his lesson. Good fun.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    Not a big enough bouldering wall at ours to be worth bothering I reckoned when I was just taking one (youngest used to be in nursery when we went) – I did always hope to find somebody else to do roped stuff with. Clearly now I have other stuff to do.

    hammyuk
    Member

    My eldest decided to climb at 9mths…… Scared the crap out of my ex….
    She walked at 10mths :-))
    Used to climb at Arico constantly until the age of 3 when we came back here. Was amazing to watch as it was just at for her and the guys just used to stop and watch “la araรฑa” shouting encouragement.
    Calshot were really good and would let her climb at that age but only because of me – otherwise it’s 6yrs old.
    Until some idiot at school tripped her up early this year and snapped her shoulder she was regularly at 7C/8 :-/
    Hoping to get up to The Boardroom in the new year if her shoulder holds up – she wants to play on the DWS airbag

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