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Author Topic: Top Roping for kids  (Read 283 times)

Doug Reilley

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Top Roping for kids
« on: May 20, 2003, 08:35:41 AM »

I'm looking for a kid-friendly area to take my boys climbing while on vacation in NH or ME. Something near Conway would be nice but I'll also be in the Belgrade Lakes region of Maine.

Ive done a fair amount of climbing on the bigger features of NH (Cannon, whitehorse, Cathedral) but never really looked for anything smaller and easy to set up til now.

any help/info would be greatly appreciated :)
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Admin Al

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Re: Top Roping for kids
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2003, 09:25:18 AM »

the classroom area up a the top of Cathedral on the side facing Whitehorse is popular. I've also seen folks on Whitehorse on the slabs just right of the Mistaken Identity gully. And of course there is always the North End right side Kiddy Crack. I've also seen groups over on the South Buttress of Whitehorse just left of the start to the first pitch of Inferno.

hth,

Al
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jsaccenti

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Re: Top Roping for kids
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2003, 09:42:07 AM »

What's a good age to get them going? Do they have tiny harnesses for three or four year olds? Personally, I was thinking of brining mine to a gym. It's not likely that she'll still be interested after a hike, even a small one.
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dogboy

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Re: Top Roping for kids
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2003, 10:07:47 AM »

Lots of people use lost horizon at Sundown for this purpose.  Lots of 5.4-5.6 easily top roped.  It has gotten busy over the last year or so, though....there's a topo and route description under the "Routes" section of this website.
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Edge

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Re: Top Roping for kids
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2003, 10:26:28 AM »

I think that the smallest harness is the Petzl "Quistiti", an under-the-legs and over-the-shoulder harness; most gyms have them.  While coaching the Junior team at the Dover Gym, I have seen the 4 and 5 year old siblings of team members climbing in them and they fit quite securely.  With a little coaxing at a young age, you will find that they grasp climbing very quickly and will amaze you with their progress!

I agree with Al's recommendations for top roping areas, particularly the North End as I think kids would look at negotiating Child's Play and Kiddy Crack as a more impressive accomplishment than a slab climb.  The first pitch of Beelzebub (5.4) is also a good one.  Pawtuckaway has some very nice steeper slabs and cracks, but not too steep, the only downside is that for the next couple of months the black flies will leave you quivering in fear.  Yet another option is some of the climbs on Echo Crags, or closer to the Valley, Square Ledge in Pinkham Notch.  The latter is easy with a terrific view; I think that would be my #1 choice.

Personally, I think that most kids would have a much more enjoyable introduction to climbing in a good gym, where the environment is controlled, there are no bugs, and considerably more options, etc.  Once they have been introduced in this way, the transition to outdoors is much easier.  If they haven't climbed before, at least get them to a gym once beforehand to learn the basics and get comfortable with the gear.

I've been through all of this with my daughter; you can read about our adventures by visiting http://www.angelfire.com/ne2/edge/travels.html.  It is a reprint of an article that I wrote for the Rock and Ice USCCA supplement three years ago.  I wouldn't trade the time I spend climbing with her for the world...
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dogboy

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Re: Top Roping for kids
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2003, 12:13:05 PM »

Personally, I think the climbs at the North End are a bit stiff for 4 year olds....Lost Horizon has nice stuff in the 5.4-5.5 range...a bit less intimidating....
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Edge

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Re: Top Roping for kids
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2003, 12:25:55 PM »

I agree.  The route recommendations were meant for the original poster, who didn't specify ages.  I assumed they were older than that, and I know from experience that you shouldn't sell an elementary school age (or older) kid short.  

The harness stuff was meant for jsaccenti, who was the one who mentioned 4 year olds.  I definately think the gym is the way to go for someone of that age.
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Fred Keith

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Re: Top Roping for kids
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2003, 03:49:50 PM »

 :)Square Ledge, Pinkham Notch.

Great Rock, kid-logisitcs, good view, big holds, tons-of-anchors.

It is a rope-length to the top, so a top-to-bottom top rope requires 2 ropes and could get snagged, I usually just solo/lead up to the first major horizontal break and throw in a half-rack of cams for an anchor so I only have to use 1 rope. Holds are big 5.2 - 5.5. There is some harded shorter stuff on the corner if the kids are "Crankenstiens".

Another option is Elephant's Head at the top of Crawford Notch. Also a real cool short climb top-ropeable with options of 5.4 - 5.7+. Good views and asthetic climbing. Actually really nice to lead as well.

Wear bug stuff.
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Fred Keith

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Re: Top Roping for kids
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2003, 03:50:24 PM »

 :)Square Ledge, Pinkham Notch.

Great Rock, kid-logisitcs, good view, big holds, tons-of-anchors.

It is a rope-length to the top, so a top-to-bottom top rope requires 2 ropes and could get snagged, I usually just solo/lead up to the first major horizontal break and throw in a half-rack of cams for an anchor so I only have to use 1 rope. Holds are big 5.2 - 5.5. There is some harded shorter stuff on the corner if the kids are "Crankenstiens".

Another option is Elephant's Head at the top of Crawford Notch. Also a real cool short climb top-ropeable with options of 5.4 - 5.7+. Good views and asthetic climbing. Actually really nice to lead as well.

Wear bug stuff.
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Dave R.

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Re: Top Roping for kids
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2003, 07:44:44 PM »

It is my understanding that square ledge in Pinkham is closed for nesting falcons. If so, climbing there would not help climber access issues in N.H.
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Brrr

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Re: Top Roping for kids
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2003, 09:10:45 PM »

I do believe it's the "other" square ledge, near Mt. Passaconaway that is closed the peregrine site
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Doug Reilley

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Re: Top Roping for kids
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2003, 06:24:26 AM »

 :) Thanks to all for some great suggestions ;D
My boys are 7 and 10 and have climbed both indoors and outdoors previously.
They're not rock stars yet so I'm looking for 5.2 to 5.5/5.6 range.
I'll pick up a guidebook and look over all your reccomendations;
Good call on the bug stuff! Its been a while since I've been in New England in the Spring (actually it will be late June early July so hopefully blackflys will be over and we'll just have to contend with 'skeeters).

Thanks again :)
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jsaccenti

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Re: Top Roping for kids
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2003, 09:30:50 AM »

Yes, thanks. off to the gym we go!
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