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Prepping for climbing

By Erica (aka Cragmama )

I've been doing a series on my personal blog called "Creating a Cragbaby."  The posts have tips and tricks for different situations and challenges you might run into when it comes to taking your little one on climbing, hiking, and camping trips.  About a month ago I published a post that deal with weather conditions , where I tackeled hot, cold, and of course WET weather.  When I saw that AKC was doing an "April Showers Contest" I knew that the wet weather portion would be most appropriate!  So here it is - anecdotal tips from my (admittedly non-expert) point of view...

It's a scientific fact that germs are what make you sick, not being wet (and not from leaving the house with wet hair...sorry mom) :) No matter how sweet your little bundle of joy may be, rest assured, he is NOT made of sugar and therefore will NOT melt in the rain. Being stuck in the rain will undoubtedly bother you way more than your baby, provided you have taken some basic precautions.

  • Rain Cover - Any good backpack carrier will have some sort of rain cover built in or as an additional purchase. Learn how to set it up quickly BEFORE you get stranded at the cliff in a passing band of summer showers. If your baby is in a front carrier, make sure that your rain jacket is big enough to cover both you AND baby!
  • Extra Burp Cloths - These are invaluable for keeping all of the gear that you couldn't get in your pack in time from turning into a mud pit.
  • Waterproof Diaper Bag - Let's say you were able to get your pack cover on before any water leaked through. But then later on after the sun comes out you stuff your (wet) layers of clothes into the pack...water leaks through, diapers are now useless. Something as simple as a gallon sized ziploc bag can make the difference between a dry, happy baby and a soaked, screaming baby...
  • Sure Feet - It's a lot harder to scramble around in the rain while wearing another person - bring whatever gear you need to make sure that you can move quickly but safely. For us that means a good pair of approach shoes, and maybe even some trekking poles, depending on the terrain
  • Look close, A rain jacket built for two!








Again, this is not a blanket invitation to put your baby in dangerous weather conditions. Do look at the forecast ahead of time, and do come to the crag prepared for any and all sorts of weather. But also start to look at less-than-ideal weather conditions from your child's perspective - an opportunity to soak up (maybe literally!) new experiences and learn from them, while you're safe in the arms of the people who love you most! Case in point - Last July we took Canaan to the New River Gorge for the weekend. The forecast called for rain, but not til the afternoon, and if you have ever climbed at the New, you know just how fickle the weather forecast can be (as well as the fact that there are numerous caves and overhangs that provide climbable rock on even the wettest of days). So we're pulling down at some sweet Summersville sandstone when the skies went black and the deluge began. We waded our way through ankle-deep mud over to a giant cave, where we could wait out the storm and dry off.

Some families prefer a portrait studio, we prefer the middle of a thunderstorm...
During the frenzy I started having those guilty "What kind of mom are you to take your kid outside in this?!?!" type of thoughts. But when we got to the cave and I laid Canaan (who was dry as a bone, by the way) down on a blanket, he looked at me, flashed a toothless smile, and let out a cackle of laughter without abandon that I'll never forget. It was then that I caught a glimpse of the bigger picture - the experiences our family has had and will hopefully continue to have because we aren't afraid to get out and explore. Some days it would be easier to stay inside, but easier isn't what memories are made of - so don't be afraid to get out there!


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