Access Fund: Kids at the Crag

Tips for Successful Cragging with Kids

  • Find a third. Try having a kid-friendly person—or another family with kids—join you at the crag. That way there’s always a person who’s not climbing or belaying to supervise the kids.
  • Make a safe kid zone. Rockfall happens. Many climbing areas have steep slopes leading up to the base, and climbers drop gear from time to time. Find a safe place for your kid to hang out that’s out of the drop zone and away from other hazards, such as drop-offs, poison ivy patches, and talus fields. Consider bringing along helmets for the little ones as well.
  • Bring plenty of supplies. Bring more food, water, layers, and (depending on the age) diapers than you think you’ll need. A hungry (cold, thirsty, exhausted) kid is a grumpy kid.
  • Respect other climbers. Not everyone loves your kids as much as you do. Be aware of your child’s volume and make sure you’re giving other climbers their space. Try to reign in toy sprawl as well.
  • Consider the crag. Some climbing areas are better suited for families than others. Look for a place with room at the base, fewer crowds, and, if your kids are old enough, kid-friendly climbs. (Sometimes, this can look like a slabby boulder that you can throw a top rope on.)
  • Don’t force it. If it’s too cold, too hot, or too long of an approach, reconsider your plans. Having your kids hate their early experiences going on a climbing trip may sour them for the long haul.
Read Laura’s full article in the latest issue of the Vertical Times.

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