Rock Climbing with Young Children

by Josée
We are fortunate that we live close to a world renown rock climbing area: Skaha Bluffs. Climbers come from across the country and around the world to rock climb at the bluffs. Even for the non-climber it is a beautiful place for a hike and picnic. I was introduced to rock climbing as a child. My father started rock climbing when I was in elementary school and so it became a family affair. We went rock climbing as a family often and occasionally I would play hookie and my father and I would go climbing on school days. I enjoyed climbing but lacked the drive and passion to pursue it seriously after I left home. However, my father and younger brother continued climbing, and they were the ones to get my husband climbing and as a result me, once again.

Fast forward to the present, and now we are introducing rock climbing to our children. Up to now we have only brought our children to the bluffs a handful of times. It is challenging to belay a climber while keeping an eye on three rambunctious young children, not to mention unsafe. Now that our eldest is seven and youngest is three there it seems like we may get out a little more this year.

If you go climbing with young children it helps that the approach, the walk to the rock, is not too long. My three year old, who has exceptionally short legs, was able to walk from the upper parking lot to Daycare (see map) and back with minimal whining. The other important thing to know when rock climbing with children, and with adults, is how to do it safely. Before climbing up rocks make sure that you know what you are doing! Take a course, get the proper equipment and please be safe! MEC has a great harness for little children and you can get child size climbing shoes and helmets from them too.

When you go rock climbing with young children it helps to pack lots of food and not to have high expectations. We have a small bouldering wall in our garage that our children climb all over without hesitation but real rock can be intimidating. My daughter and youngest son were so eager to climb on real rock our first time out this year but the moment they were set up they balked. We didn’t make a big deal out of it and we encourage them to simply push off from the rock a couple times with their feet. My eldest son was a bit more courageous and made it up half way. The more often children are taken out rock climbing and shown that it can be a fun and safe activity to do the more comfortable and confident they will feel.

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Cindy April 7, 2015 - 4:11 am

What a fun activity to get outside and enjoy as a family. I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! Cindy

Josée April 7, 2015 - 4:32 am

Thanks Cindy! It was a beautiful day for getting out and enjoying the sun. I hope that your family had a lovely Easter too! ~Josee

Kim April 7, 2015 - 1:36 pm

Oh this looks like so much fun!!!! Enjoy!

Josée April 10, 2015 - 4:02 am

It's thrilling that's for sure 🙂


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