General > Rock Climbing: Trad

Smaller kids belaying adults (multi-pitch)

(1/7) > >>

DLottmann:
The other day I saw a father/son team on Whitehorse. The father was leading the dike route, and the son, I'm guessing around 6-9, was struggling to keep up with the belay (double ropes it appeared from below).

I can't wait to get my son climbing, though I know it will be a few years as he is not even 1 yet, but twice in the last 2 weeks I have seen some younger kids belaying leaders and it's caused me to pause and think about the outcome of a leader fall on a 50-70lb kid, even on the slabs. There are two main issues of concern IMO:

1) Obvious weight difference. A 60lb kid is going to get yanked hard should the leader fall. In most cases there is no convenient "lower piece" like a ground anchor in many top-rope scenarios, so if the leader falls there is a good chance for belayer injury.

2) Little fingers. I can imagine a kid getting his hand stuck in a belay device if he/she panicks as they watch their father/mother slip of the crux move of Standard, Sliding Board, Wavelength, what have you...

I see two options that should be considered for parents itching to get their kids on a classic multi-pitch route.

1) Bring another adult to belay and clean the route so junior can enjoy the climb. Granted, you may not have an available climber buddy to come along, but this is definitely the best option.

2) Climb something you would feel comfortable soloing, and don't take a belay.

Probably best to bring someone over 90lbs for belaying on multi-pitch though...

What are your thoughts? Any tricks for managing safety with little kids on MP climbs?

ELM:
  I have seen many a guy weighing 200+lbs being belayed by a 125lb partner.....will not be fun for them if he falls either. 
  I think/ hope the climber you saw felt very comfortable on that climb and that the belay was more of a learning experiance for his son. The very few times I have had my daughter belay me (in the gym) I knew I was soloing.
  I know you as a guide have has clients belaying you that were not the best.

sneoh:
Poor kid, and doubles got to be tough for the young one to handle.

DLottmann:

--- Quote from: ELM on September 03, 2012, 06:29:52 PM ---  I know you as a guide have has clients belaying you that were not the best.

--- End quote ---

Of course. I climb with "un-tested" belayers 90% of the time, if not more. You won't find me pushing my leading limits with a 1st day client.

I took my 11 year old niece up Upper Refuse a couple weeks ago. She's quite small, but a very athletic dancer and natural climber. She walked up Seventh Seal with hardly any effort and zero coaching on her 2nd day of climbing. On Upper Refuse, being a climb I am comfortable on without a rope, I felt it safer to not have her belay me. I still placed gear, as it is needed in spots for directionals, but sometimes it may be better with the little ones to climb without a belay*. I remember one day many summers ago taking 2 8 year old girl-scouts up the slabs, and it just made sense to stack the rope and climb.

*This is obviously something some climbers do on routes well below their limit, or below their solo limit if they are so inclined. It is obviously dangerous since if the leader takes the unexpected big whip you'll probably have some pretty traumatized kiddos at the anchor, hence my original best option;

1) Have another adult come along if the belayer is itsy bitsy.

lucky luke:

--- Quote from: ELM on September 03, 2012, 06:29:52 PM ---  I think/ hope the climber you saw felt very comfortable on that climb and that the belay was more of a learning experiance for his son. The very few times I have had my daughter belay me (in the gym) I knew I was soloing.
 
--- End quote ---

I agree with you. When you teach how to take risk, you must place the young in a situation where he have the impression that he is important for the climb. As he don't want that his father fall...and he his in a situation where he can make a differences...he will remind a lot of think. As he is very light, the importance to be anchor to the belay (not just to fall down the slope) to stop the belayer from a fall is one of the very important learning, plus handling the rope, keeping is attention...etc. One of the most important lesson is the team work.

We can saw very easily the difference of mentality between a kind of climb where you take risk and an other where it is closer to playing safe. In the exemple with the leader, the climber think at what his child will learn to be save his life when he will climb death mountain at eighteen year old. In the other example, the climber think about what happen if he felt (the rope will pull the belayer out of stance and the leader will be more injure than if he didn't have any belay). Althought the advice of Dman his good and more general for most climber who can't solo a route like the dike (Base will laught at me because I bail at the top, not understanding the move). For my child, I will take a guide who teach my son how to be safe in the futur, and avoid a "balade" on the cliff.

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version