This is not a serious article but, as a non-climber in a fully addicted climbing family, I thought I’d share a few things that have become apparent as a salutary warning to any parents on the verge of their kids taking it up. Now, of course, I’m very supportive of a climbing hobby but it does impact, just a smidge, on family life…
It changes your home…
The first thing that became obvious was the big fib. “Oh it’s just a pair of shoes and a chalk bag” is an easy entry point for the less suspecting and it can stay at this point for a while. However this is not enough for the committed climber; this needs much more equipment. Over time it seems to multiply to the point where it’s not possible to store it in the average family home. It starts by taking over an area, in our case it started with hall, as apparently this tough rock climbing gear is just too sensitive to be kept in a garage. So, trying to recover the hallway saw it moved to a spare bedroom and a new conversation, inspired by #weighmyrack, as to whether the spare bedroom actually needed a bed or if that could be replaced by storage racking.
The extreme end of this is when “but there’s nowhere to put a home climbing wall” becomes an actual criteria for house buying! This might sound far-fetched but we’re not alone, as it’s clear from friends and Instagram how many gardens, lofts and lounges become home gyms/walls for these seriously committed kids.
Its not just the house thAt has to CHANGE…
We currently have a large MPV. This is big enough for families much larger than ours, but they’re not climbers. Fear the moment of needing to buy a new family car when the hints start about how necessary it is to now have a converted VW Transporter.
Conversations work differently…
Be suspicious as off hand comments can no longer be taken at face value.
1. All of the following actually mean the climbers will soon be off climbing.
○ “Are we doing anything this weekend?”
○ “Ooh, the weather looks good this weekend”
○ “I’ve just seen (insert fellow climber here) post on Facebook that they’re going to (insert crag here) tomorrow”
2. Due to storage issues outlined above, beware of conversations starting with “Go Outdoors is a having a sale…”
3. When planning a family holiday watch out for deliveries of new guide books and comments like
○ “I think that’s not far from …”
○ “I’ll pack climbing shoes just in case” which soon evolves into “Can we fit a boulder pad and/or ropes into the car?”
○ “Have you thought about holidaying in (insert location you’ve never heard of but later discover is a climbing Mecca)?”
Its EFFECTS are wide ranging…
Guide books are thick and heavy, yet seem to cover such a small area that 5 are required for every trip. No matter how many are bought in a single order from Amazon they all seem to come in separate parcels, even if being delivered at the same time. Bookshelves will need reinforcing as your old book collection gets replaced.
Climbing shoes smell like nothing else on Earth. Boot Bananas certainly help, but just feet walking round the house after a climb is enough to turn a strong stomach. Wo betide the uninitiated opening a bag to find a pair of used shoes.
Chalk is everywhere. No matter what is done to try and contain it, it will get everywhere.
We used to have a snack box – that place where the occasional treat of a chocolate biscuit could be found. Watch it slowly be taken over by much less tasty or treat-like (for the average non-climbers) high protein bars. Helpful for dieters who will never be tempted by the snack box again.
ThE non-climber has to get it too…
And finally, there is the expectation that everyone understands a climbers level of excitement and the importance of some climbing skills/equipment. Learn the basics, perhaps with info from this site, so you don’t hurt the feelings of your beloved climber when you look blank at:
– “I climbed this grade/route/manoeuvre”
– “Wow, look at this climbing shoe/rope/random piece of bent metal”
As you can tell from this last one, I’m still learning to do this bit…