Rockclimbing… how young is too young?

I started rock climbing about 10 years ago, just on and off, more off than on in recent years, but it’s the one sport I’ve found that I really love.  It’s a fantastic workout, plus it’s one gigantic puzzle to solve.  My eldest, has been wanting to try it for a while now.  In Australia, the minimum age at the gym where I climbed was 6.  Here in Amsterdam though, it’s 4!!  Our local rock climbing gym is wonderfully kid-friendly.  I see kids running around while they’re parents climb and they were even kind enough to let my youngest have a go, she’s 3.5 years old now and fits into her sister’s harness.  Granted she can’t reach most of the holds, and only goes up a meter, but every week she wants to go.

For my eldest, though, I can see her confidence building.  She can be anxious, like her mother, and each climb she does challenges her that little bit to let go, to trust that she will be held, and to try something that is difficult but not impossible.  She’s been climbing now for 6 months, and she is tackling more difficult climbs.  Her mind whirls as she hangs off the wall, contemplating where to place her foot next, and it’s fantastic to watch.

We use the Edelrid Fraggle II harness, in a size XXS (yes, my kids are mini).  I like this harness because it is incredibly well made, it crosses over her shoulders as well as wrapping around her waist, so it supports her upper body and back.  It’s also handy for nervous parents (like myself, did I mention my anxiety!) so that even if she swings off the wall, and somehow tips (what with those narrow hips of hers) she is secure.  The harness, although stiff when new, is well designed and comfortable (my girls are seriously fussy, they won’t even wear jeans because they are too restrictive).

The XXS fits both my 5-year-old and my 3.5-year-old (of course they will not share one harness).

Next stop, a climbing wall at home!

Where to Buy:

US

UK

Europe

Australia

All of these places also sell the carabiner’s you’ll need.

Check with your local climbing gym for age restrictions and book in for instructions for how to belay!  It’s a lot of fun.

Just think in a little under 10 years time, I’ll have my own climbing partner!

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