In his Stride

Valerie climbing JT (V0- 4b) at Robin Hood's Stride.
Valerie climbing JT (V0- 4b) at Robin Hood’s Stride.

I didn’t know how Leo was going to feel about his first camping trip last weekend. He’s not yet two years old and being taken away from his home and routine to spend a long weekend camped in a field at night and bouldering in the day might have been a bit too much for him. My main concern was that he would be nervous of the tent. I wondered how Valerie and I could coax Leo into what might seem to him to be a giant orange monster. Read more

Fontainetoddler

Leo climbing a boulder at Rocher des Potets, Fontainebleau.
Leo climbing a boulder at Rocher des Potets, Fontainebleau.

As first-time parents, Valerie and I have had to work out as we go along how to continue to rock climb while also being Mum and Dad to Leo. Last year we had a fun and successful trip to the legendary bouldering venue of Fontainebleau with a teething baby. This year we went back with an energetic (and teething) toddler. Here’s what we learned the hard way so you don’t have to. Read more

First Peak

My son, Leo, got to the top of his first peak today.  Snuggly wrapped on his mummy’s back, he got to the top of Craig Wen in Snowdonia.  Summiting a 608m peak is pretty impressive when you are eight months old, can’t walk yet and have to battle cold winds and rain.  I’m proud of how well he did.  It feels good to be introducing him to the mountains and I’m really looking forward to going with him to the tops of many more peaks.

Fontainebaby

Behind you

An Easter break to the woods of Fontainebleau to climb on its famous sandstone boulders was our first real test as rock climbing parents. We had been taking our baby son, Leo, to the climbing wall on a regular basis and to some artificial boulders not far from where we live in London. He’d enjoyed the trips and we had managed to get a good amount of climbing done. But several days of outdoors climbing in a foreign country, with a teething seven-month old baby, felt like more of a challenge. By the end of the trip we had enjoyed some great climbing, been tested as parents and learnt a lot about taking a baby climbing at Fontainebleau. Read more

Baby Hits The Wall

Leo and Valerie at the climbing wall.
Leo and Valerie at the climbing wall.

Like all new parents, my wife and I are trying to work out how to manage our lives now that we have a baby.  Even seemingly simple tasks, like going to the shops or visiting relatives, now feel like a major logistical undertaking.  Resuming our regular trips to our local climbing wall felt like a particular challenge.  Such a trip would involve ensuring baby Leo is happy and safe in an environment not designed for babies while, at the same time, ensuring both Valerie and I enough of a chance to climb.  In the end, we managed the trip and Leo really enjoyed himself, but the little guy eventually hit a wall and crashed out on a bouldering mat. Read more