Thursday, July 25, 2013
Climbing with kids: Chapel Pond, 07/14/2013
Even though we had a large group, we all had a common goal for the day: fun and easy climbing. Tilman's and Shipton's aretes are maybe 100' apart, making it easy to share top-ropes. Two or three variations can be climbed from each top-rope, all at easy, kid-friendly grades (5.6 and under). I've always enjoyed the more challenging second pitch of Tilman's, but we stuck to pitch 1 - multi-pitch climbing just doesn't work well for family groups.
The easy approach hike and good top-rope anchors made Tilman's / Shipton's a good choice for family climbing. If there's a downside, it's the base of the crag, which can be a bit cramped for a group our size. On the other hand, Tilman's and Shipton's are both right at the water's edge, so Daniel enjoyed a bit of fishing (unsuccessfully) as a diversion between climbs.
several climbing outings this year and last have given both our kids confidence and enabled them to be pretty successful junior Fritz Weissners. For Sylvie, the climbing wasn't as much a challenge as coming down: she's so small (35, 40 pounds?) that she didn't have enough mass to overcome the rope drag when I lowered her, and I had to send Beth scrambling 20' up the cliff to pull her down.
Having lots of adults in our group made it easy for Beth and me to each get a chance to climb while the other kept an eye on the kids. For me, the funnest climbing was the 5.6 No Picnic line on Shipton's, a long (100') face climb on clean, featured rock. That was a nice surprise because I've climbed at Shipton's once or twice before but must have missed that particular line.
I've got a few more crags in mind for us to check out for some family climbing. Hopefully we've got the wet weather behind us and the rest of the summer will be sunny, dry and bug free!