Here’s the scenario I left you with in Part 2 of this series: Back in August my husband went on his first big trip since we had our daughter – an ascent of Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Prior to leaving he told me, “This trip could very well be about more than just climbing Mt. Robson. I’ll see how I feel about being disconnected from my wee family up there.”
I left you wondering how things went, and asked: Would he be able to separate himself from his emotions during the climb? Decide it is just too much for him right now, and give up on climbing big peaks for awhile?
Here’s the answer you’ve been waiting for: In the few weeks that followed his attempt on Mt. Robson (unfortunately his team was turned back high on the mountain due to softening snow across the bergschrund on the Kain Face), my husband climbed Quadra, Chimney, Chephren and Hungabee. Though it was still difficult to part from his family, Paul felt encouraged to keep pursuing his passions. He has always been a conservative climber when it comes to risk-taking, and while that approach can’t mitigate every hazard, I know that climbing is soul food for him and it’s important that he continues to do what he loves.
But that doesn’t mean things are remotely the same as before we became parents.
You can’t say things are the same when you come home to see crampons next to the pail of dirty baby clothes in the shower.
You can’t say things are the same when you lie in your sleeping bag high on a mountain scrolling through photos of your baby.
You can’t say things are the same when one parent is missing out on the climb and it used to be something you always did together.
Still, Paul realized he may not do as much in the mountains as before, but he still wanted to climb. That’s an important thing to have figured out. As for me, I’m quite undecided. Part of me is curious to know how I’d feel tackling a riskier climb again, while some of it also seems quite unfathomable considering I haven’t spent more than two hours away from my daughter since she was born. But, I did have the chance to do some easy sport climbing back in August and just feeling the rock under my fingers sent shivers down my spine. A mix of fear, excitement and “ah, there’s that feeling again!” washed over me. I felt it again – even though I was also feeling totally chicken on a 5.6 (many thanks to my best friends down below shouting encouraging words my way).
Ultimately, what I’ve learned is that this whole business of taking risks as parents is a process, and that it will constantly evolve. Like many things about parenting, what seems unfathomable at first suddenly becomes totally feasible. I couldn’t imagine hiking 11km to a backcountry lodge when my daughter was a newborn, but that’s exactly what we did last week when she reached the six month mark. So, who knows where I’ll be a year from now, and what my perspective on risk-taking will look like.
But, right now it’s not that important to me. My focus is on being a great mama and spending time outdoors as a family. I think I’ll know when the mountains are beckoning me back into the vertical world.
I’m curious to hear from you: Where do you think the line is between doing what we love and being responsible as parents? Please comment below!
What do other bloggers have to say about taking risks outdoors as parents?
When the mountains throw your mortality in your face…, kidproject.org
What if we hadn’t gotten off that peak? What if someone had fallen? What if we’d never chosen to go in the first place? What we took a different gully off the summit? What if??
Shelf Road Rerun, rocksandsun.com
What a stupid sport – we risk our lives scaling little bits of rock. Climbing to the top of some pre-determined route and then being lowered off. What’s the point? Why am I doing this? Why put my life, and the lives of those I love, on the line – for this?
Should Parents Take Life Threatening Risks?, bring-the-kids.com
Must an adventure be life threatening to be worthwhile?
A Perspective on Risk Taking, cragmama.com
“Do you take less risks in climbing now that you’re a mom?” If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me this since Cragbaby entered on the scene…well let’s face it, I wouldn’t be rich, but I would definitely be able to buy more $4 frappucinnos at Starbucks!
Should Parents Take Risks?, biggreyrocks.com
Having kids makes you think carefully about the risks you take. A bad day in the mountains won’t just affect me, it’ll affect them. Is it worth it?
My Adventurous Ways Have Changed, adventuretykes.com
Now that I’m a mom those risk taking endeavors have come to a complete halt. I think about caring for J-Man with a broken arm or heaven forbid something worse happening to me.