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Category Archives: Practicalities

Tenaya Demos: Triangle Rock Club and Stone Summit

Tenaya Tarifa in action out in the Linville Gorge

Tenaya Tarifa in action out in the Linville Gorge

One of my responsibilities as an athlete for Trango/Tenaya is providing shoe demos for various climbing gyms.  Most recently, I spent a Sunday in Morrisville, NC at Triangle Rock Club, as well as an evening at Stone Summit in Atlanta, GA.

For me personally, the TRC demo marked the longest I’ve been separated from Baby Zu, who’s still nursing several times a day.  She did just fine at home with her brother and Super-Dad!  Both kiddos came with me to Atlanta, along with my mother-in-law.  While I was at the gym, they got the chance to spend time with an aunt, uncle, and two cousins that live in the area.

For Trango, a demo serves several purposes.  It promotes brand awareness – I often talk to people who have never heard of Tenaya shoes and/or think they are a new company.  It also makes it possible for a Colorado-based company to make personal connections with climbers from all over.  But most importantly, a demo allows climbers to learn about, then try out for themselves, what are, in my opinion, the best rock shoes on the planet!

You don’t have to have a lot of climbing experience under your belt to realize that finding the right climbing shoe is easier said than done.  First of all, there’s the size issue.  How should they fit?  Should I size down to allow for stretch?  Is it okay that my toes are scrunched up?  Often an uncomfortable fit is due to a sizing error (generally too small!)  But sometimes certain shoes just don’t fit well on certain feet, even if the “size” is correct.

Then there are the more specialized issues.  Which shoe is best for bouldering/slab/cracks/multi-pitch?  Smearing?  Edging?  Which shoe is the most versatile?  These are all pieces to consider when solving the puzzle of which climbing shoe(s) are best for you.

For anyone who has ever pondered these 1st world problems, YOU SHOULD GO TO A DEMO!!!  A shoe demo gives you the opportunity to not only TRY ON multiple styles of shoes, but also TRY OUT the shoes on the wall (or sometimes even on real rock, depending on the venue!)

Stone Summit Demo last week

Stone Summit Demo last week

Here’s how it works.  Check out the demo schedule below, and choose an event close to you.  Go to it.  Strike up a conversation with the demo guys/gals (we’re all pretty cool, if I do say so myself…)  We’ll get you set up with the right size/style of shoe.  CLIMB!  When you’re done, return the shoes.  Go home and wait for a coupon code in your inbox that can be applied toward your favorite shoe at the demo!  Easy enough, right?

Here’s the schedule…

Craggin’ Classic Salt Lake City, UT (Aug 28-30)
Craggin’ Classic Smith Rock, OR (Sep 4-6)
Craggin’ Classic New River Gorge, WV (Sep 18-20)
Rocktoberfest Red River Gorge, KY (Oct 9-11)

Hopefully you can find an event near you!

 

 

Related Images:

[See image gallery at cragmama.com]

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From 1 Kid to 2…How Outdoor Adventures Have Changed…

At the summit of Seneca's South Peak, circa 2009, just before getting pregnant w/Big C

At the summit of Seneca’s South Peak, circa 2009, just before getting pregnant w/Big C

A couple of weeks ago I received a question from reader Patricia T. that really made me stop and think.  She basically wanted to know specifics about how life has changed for us since adding another child to our family.  In her words – “…I’ve had so many people tell me that the second one really shuts your life down.  Now, I’m trying to take that with a grain of salt, b/c I think we (I’m assuming she meant outdoorsy folks) are cut from a different cloth.  But it still worries me.  What’s your take on this?”  

I wrote a lot about the adjustments our family made to our routine during those early weeks of Baby Zu’s life.  I wrote some practical posts about how we find time to climb, and how we kept our sanity during the first month.  I also wrote some reflective posts about love and expectations.  I reviewed all sorts of baby gear, from Boba to PeaPod, and I got really sentimental once or twice.  I even wrote a post entitled “Why the 2nd Baby is Easier…and Harder.”  But now that I’ve got one kid that’s going to Kindergarten in the fall and another that’s morphed into a toddler seemingly overnight, I feel like I might have a little more perspective from which to revisit that question.  (And probably even MORE so when I’ve got a 6th grader and a 2nd grader, or a 10th grader and a 7th grader, or heaven forbid one in college and one in highschool…but don’t rush me!)

So with that said, here’s how our climbing adventures have changed over the years (and how they’ve stayed the same.)

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TRAINING:

Pre-kids.  Meet at the gym after work.  Climb until our fingers fall off, then go home and eat a late dinner.  Repeat once or twice a week.
One kid.  Meet at the gym after work with child in tow.  Alternate who watches child and who climbs.  If we have an extra partner we can rope up, if not, we boulder.
Two kids.  It’s now unmanageable for everyone to be in the gym at the same time, so we take turns.  Someone climbs after work, we eat a family dinner together, and the other person climbs after the kids go to bed (more on that strategy here.)

TRIP PLANNING:

Pre-kids.  No plan needed.  We climb wherever we want, whenever we want.  Outrageous, I know.
One kid.  Biggest change is that we need to make sure we have an extra partner lined up, preferably one that doesn’t mind extra belay duty.  This frees up hubby and I to take turns watching kid when we’re not climbing.  Multi-pitch climbing is obviously out, but as long as the base is not terrible (huge drop-offs, etc), we can pretty much go craggin’ wherever we want.  A long approach is not a big deal because kiddo rides in a carrier.  Gear space is at a premium.
Two kids.  We definitely still need an extra person, although mostly just for the baby, as the older child is pretty independent and doesn’t need constant supervision at the crag (if both kids are very young, this is where things could get crazy…a 4 year age gap between our children was NOT by accident!)  In addition to the cliff base, we also have to consider the fitness of the youngest pair of legs in regards to the approach.  Long hikes in will take us sometimes twice as long as our climbing partners (if climbing as a party of 3, one parent will usually go on ahead w/our extra partner, while the other strolls along with the kiddos.)  We didn’t think we could bring any more gear to the crag…but somehow we’ve managed to double it.  Quite often we work non-climbing outdoor activities into our trips as well – hikes, swimming holes, picnics, etc.  Sometimes those end up being the most memorable parts of the trip!

Ten Sleep Canyon 2012

Ten Sleep Canyon 2012

Family of ALMOST 4 in Feb 2014

Family of ALMOST 4 in Feb 2014

AT THE CRAG

Pre-kids.  We climb as long as we have daylight and sometimes end up hiking out in the dark.  We do what we want, when we want to.  Freedom!!!
One kid.  High mileage days are difficult to manage, except on days where baby naps a lot at the crag.  It’s impossible to predict which days those will be, so we have to take it and run with it when it happens.  We usually average 5-6 pitches per day, and tend to stay in the same area all day rather than flitting from one side of the cliff to another.  (This meant that we started shifting more into a “project” mindset – trying multiple times to send rather than just moving on after one attempt regardless of the outcome.) When the other parent is on kid duty, it’s pretty easy to relax.  We finish our day before sunset, and kiddo usually konks out on the hike back to the car, which is welcome because we’re probably having a late dinner and that quickie nap will hopefully get us through until bedtime without a meltdown.
Two kids.  If we can squeeze in 4-5 pitches over the course of a day, we’re psyched.  In addition to climbing, belaying, and caring for the smaller child, we also need to spend time with the older child; who, although very good at independent play, still needs to connect with mommy and daddy several times throughout the course of the day.  Things can get overwhelming pretty fast, especially if either child is feeling clingy, tired, hungry, frustrated, temper tantrum-y, etc.  We end up hiking out between 4 and 5 pm usually, depending on how difficult the end-of-day trudge will be for 5 year old hiking legs.  Both kids are running on fumes by the time we get to (later than usual) bedtimes, and we find ourselves so exhausted that we often go to bed at the same time they do.

Craggin' as a family of 4

Craggin’ as a family of 4

When it comes to our climbing lifestyle, it was far bigger of an adjustment to go from no kids to 1 kid than it has been for us to jump from 1 kid to 2.  Cragging with one kid required a major change in our planning with regards to how much we rely on other people, but we already had that mindset once #2 came along.  If I had to sum-up the hardest part at this particular stage of the game, it would be the stress of being pulled in so many directions at once at the crag.  (Baby needs to nurse.  Time for me to climb.  Child needs help finding a spot to poop in the woods.  Partner needs a belay.  Baby needs diaper changed, then help going down for nap.  Baby’s asleep, I should climb…right after I read with older child.  Baby’s awake and hungry.  That reminds me, I should probably eat something too! And so on and so forth.)

But despite the new level of shenanigans our family has risen to over the past year, the one constant has been that it’s always seemed worthwhile.  Both kiddos love being outside, and the older one starts asking when we’re going climbing again long about Thursday of every week.  And as long as everyone’s happy, we’re gonna roll with it!  There may come a time where our current lifestyle doesn’t work for our family, and if that happens, we’ll or course shift gears.  But for now, we climb on!

Sibling love...so many emotions in a span of about 5 minutes.

Sibling love…so many emotions in a span of about 5 minutes.

I’d love to hear from other families out there that have added 1, 2, or even 3 or more kiddos into their crag-family dynamic (and I’m sure Patricia T. would appreciate other points of view as well!)  So please, feel free to share some thoughts, tips, or experiences below in the comments!

 

 

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1st Trimester Update – The Secret Weeks

I suppose in some ways, even “planned” babies are still a surprise…We’d been in the “not TRYING but not NOT trying” stage since the spring, so seeing two lines on a pregnancy test shouldn’t have been such a shock.  But I probably stared at those test results in utter disbelief before walking out of the bathroom and putting my harness  on (because of course I’d stopped to pick up a test on my way to the climbing gym…and then of course I couldn’t wait til I got home to take it…)  I won’t lie, my initial reaction involved a lot…Read the rest of this entry →

Tenaya Shoe Demo and Family Craggin’ Program

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 A couple of weekends ago we got the chance to head back to our oldie (but a goodie) climbing gym – Triangle Rock Club!  Although we came up Saturday afternoon to get in a little climb time with some dear friends, the main events were scheduled back to back on Sunday – a Tenaya Shoe Demo, and a Family Craggin’ Workshop.   For those of you non-climbers out there, a “shoe demo” is just like it sounds – it’s a chance for Tenaya to “demonstrate” what their shoes can do.  For three hours only, the entire fleet of Tenaya shoes…Read the rest of this entry →

Road-Trippin’ with a Toddler – 10 Tips for Keeping Your Sanity

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Unless you are lucky enough to have a world class climbing/hiking/camping destination in your backyard, odds are good that “getting there” (and back) will make up a significant portion of your itinerary.  This post is the toddler version of a post I wrote a year ago entitled “Making your Cragbaby a Good Car-baby.”  Back then Cragbaby was not quite 18 months…and now he’s a giant (comparatively) two and a half year old with bundles of energy oozing out of every part of him!  In some ways, car rides are easier now – he’s older and can entertain himself for longer.…Read the rest of this entry →

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