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Climbing Kiddos

Hey all, I recently decided to harness the climbing interest of our 3 year old daughter.

First lessons for her and me were that down-climbing is a lot different (and scarier) for her than climbing to the top of something and walking away.

What sort of things have you had success with building the excitement for climbing in a productive way? 

Trying not to focus on the gear side of it but I'd love to get her some shoes at some point and welcome any tips for how you deal with a growing climber and sizing without breaking the bank.

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Hey E-Rock! 

Such an exciting time for you and the little force of nature you have on your hands.  Climbing is such a great skill and sport to get into at any age.

The indoor climbing gym is an amazing environment to harness that energy and hone in skills. Usually start with sport climbing / Top roping with a rope and harness to get acclimated to the feeling and learning to trust the equipment.

As far as gear, thankfully harnesses (both youth and adult) have a great size range and can grow with her.

A great way to get climbing footwear for kids is at REI Members Only Garage sales, Used gear, and see if your local gym sells their rental gear.  Most gyms do this every so often to get the new styles in and usually youth shoes have a ton of life left in them. 

I really hope this helps & happy climbing!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@E-Rock this is awesome! We are just now getting our 7-year olds into climbing outside and they have been climbing indoors off an on since they were quite little. The indoor climbing doesn't seem to phase them but there is more of a fear factor with outdoor climbing (especially coming down, as you mentioned). We have found the most success setting up on a nice super mellow route and letting them do laps on it for as long as they are interested. This seems to help build their confidence back up, especially after trying a route that seemed a bit tough for one of the two. We just picked up some Mad Rock Monkeys for them and thus far, they seem to be a win. (Up until now, they have been climbing in regular tennis shoes.)IMG_20190623_174853 resize.jpg


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@E-Rock probably the biggest thing that I think helped my 6 year old was to throw a harness on and climb up next to her and get her used to coming off the wall at the local indoor. I’d stop about 5 feet up with her and get her to come off the wall at the same time with me like a game. I Think that really helped to build her confidence and ease the fear everyone has of falling. It also helps them understand not to fight a fall. I really think that my oldest just didn’t get over that fear of falling for a long time.


I’m still trying to work my kiddos up to a trip to Cherokee Rock Village. They’re both a little hesitant to climb outside. It sounds like @Lauren did it right starting that way.   Wish we had some closer spots.

Both girls could really care less about all the crazy gear, but what really got them wanting to climb all the time was picking out their own chalk bags.