Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Gettin’ High (off the ground…) With a Little Help from my Friends

Manuela getting some Cragbaby cuddles on his very first day at the crag!

The old cliche is true – good friends are hard to find.  This is true in life as well as in climbing.  Sure its not hard to find folks that are psyched about getting out climbing – whether they’re the non-committal weather-stalking types waiting for the last minute to decide if conditions are perfect, the cool to hang out with but sketchy on the belay types, the newbie gym climbers trying to bum a free guide service types, or the “fad climbers,” phasing in and out of super gung-ho and wishy-washy.  Those folks are a dime a dozen.  But DEPENDABLE, SAFE, EXPERIENCED, (and don’t forget likable enough to hang out with all weekend…) climbing partners are rare nuggets that should be cherished and celebrated!

Norbert watching the action while Cragbaby snoozes peacefull at Endless Wall, NRG

These special friends are important at any stage, but we have learned that once a cragbaby enters the picture, they are priceless!  I’ve touched on the importance of reliable, experienced climbing partners in other cragbaby posts, but with our family in the midst of relocating three hours away from our Raleigh peeps, I thought the timing seemed right to give the Cragbaby Crew a special shout-out.

Cragbaby gets the royal treatment from his Doula, Tracey, on a hot July day at Pilot Mountain...If only someone would carry me when Im tired and fan me when Im hot

So whether you’re a climbing mom or dad trying to find family-friendly partners, or you’re new to climbing and wanting to learn how to be that go-to partner that everyone wants to climb with, read on to find out what makes our climbing partners the best around….

Christie trying to tame a wild and wiggly little crag-bear

 

DEPENDABLE. Nothing’s worse than getting psyched all week, gear sorted and food packed, and then get a call the night before saying that your partner bailed because there’s a big sale at the GAP she doesn’t want to miss (okay, realistically thats never happened to us, but only because we’re not friends with people that shop at the GAP 🙂  Pre-cragbaby this would have been just mildly annoying, but Steve and I could still go by ourselves…now if this happens, we are left scrambling trying to find another partner.

Cragbaby enjoying a warm winter day at Pilot Mountain with his posse

SAFE.  When I’m elvis-legging and breathing hard, staring up at that jug just out of reach, and Cragbaby starts whining down below, I don’t want to have to take mental time to decide whether or not you’re gonna give me enough slack to make that dyno.  If you’re partner is worth tying in with, you’ll have a rapport with that person, and trust them implicitly.

RESPONSIBLE. I don’t want to feel like its up to me to make sure everyone is eating enough, brought enough water, or is having a good time.  Its hard enough managing myself, Cragbaby, and the hubster.

Trying to stay warm on a frosty morning in Boone while waiting for the Hound Ears Bouldering Comp to start

FUN.  There’s no room for big egos in our car.  This also means no pity parties if you have an off day!

LIKABLE.  It also helps if you can hang out with your partners for more than 5 minutes without having awkward silences in conversations.

LOVES MY CRAGBABY. This is probably the most important one – any friend of the Cragbaby is a friend of mine.  Some of my favorite moments of the day are watching other folks lovin on my sweet little boy.

Cragbaby luring in Miss Jean with that cute smile, waiting for the right moment to snatch the sunglasses!

Let me put it this way – if every climbing family had half as many amazing people in their entourage as we do, they could consider themselves lucky.  We have been blessed with some spectacular folks that are not only good climbing partners, but also really good friends.  They’ve endured sleepless nights and early, loud-mouth wake-up calls, the stench of baby spit-up baked into your clothes all day, and road trip pit stops to nurse and change dirty diapers.  They’ve been on cragbaby duty during crusty, snotty noses, drool bombs, and those sticky hands that always go straight for the sunglasses .  And after dealing with all of our family shenanigans, surprisingly enough, these fabulous folks turn right around and do it again the next day, week, month, etc.!

Enjoying our pre-climb breakfast as we plan out our day at the New River Gorge

So, my dear climbing partners, this post is for YOU!  You know who you are, and I hope you know how special you are!  Not because I’m trying to get all sappy and say good bye to you or anything.  We might be three hours away from your house, but we’ll still be out at the same crags, hopefully with some new friends to add to the mix as well.

Jan takes a break from filming for the Cragbaby Project so C can show off his belay techniques

If our new climbing peeps are even a fraction as cool as you guys are, we’ll be set!  And don’t forget – the rock’s a whole lot closer to our house than it is to yours…and there’s always a place to crash (Cragbaby doesnt mind sharing his crib as long as you bring your own blankey 🙂

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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN