Having to attend your kid’s competition during a weekend doesn’t have to be a chore. There are a few things you can do to turn it into a fun family getaway. Gringa Traveling Mom has experienced this with her two sons who love competitive rock climbing. She shares some tips for “team moms” and others traveling for activities.
Almost from the moment I met the man who would become my husband, I learned that he was an adventure lover. He loves staying active and sports in general, with a sweet spot for climbing.
Years later, when my now 15-year-old son was old enough to join him on his training sessions, my son started to develop a true love for the sport as well. Years later my younger son followed in his brother’s footsteps.
Ever since they expressed their love for climbing, I started to look for local places where they could practice. We even planned a few days just for climbing during a visit to Spain. With time, they got more and more serious about it and are now starting to do it at a competitive level.
This means that I pretty much have to spend many of my weekends at competitions and climbing events around the country. This was the perfect excuse to plan a getaway for the whole family; after all, the competitions don’t take up the complete weekend. Here are some tips on how to do that. But first, I’ll share some fun information about climbing and the different disciplines that climbers can compete in.
All about Climbing Competitions
In this discipline, you get to go climbing without a rope and harness with a maximum height of five meters for safety. Usually, routes are extremely difficult and short. If that wasn’t enough, it also has a pretty short time limit to be completed.
All competitors are kept away from the actual wall because judges don’t want to have the last competitors to have all of the information about how others did it. Each competitor has a few minutes to look at the wall and try to find the right route before attempting it.
This is probably what most people think of when someone talks about climbing. This one does involve ropes, harnesses, and long routes. In it, you have to clip the ropes as you go. However, there are slight variations when it comes to competing.
This might be the easiest of the disciplines to explain. Two athletes climb at the same time and the one who gets to the top first wins. All speed climbing walls around the world are exactly the same and they have to be 15 meters tall.
Turn a Competition Into a Fun Weekend Getaway
There are four main things that I do whenever I hear about an upcoming competition that will require us to leave our hometown.
1. Find cool restaurants in the area – Aside from adventure, my family and I love tasting new food and visiting restaurants that are well known in a particular area.
2. Learn about cool things to do near the competition venue – Since races don’t take two full days, we often have plenty of time after or before the actual competition. Usually, there are places to visit or minor attractions that we probably haven’t heard of before.
3. Find a cool hotel that we have never been to – Even if you have visited the area already, search for a different hotel each time. This always makes you feel like it is a completely new adventure.
4. Do research on cool historical facts of the place you are visiting – After learning more about the area, share it with your family along the road to get them excited.
Chalk Bags – Don’t Leave Home Without Them
Climbing and chalk bags go hand-in-hand.
Chalk, or better known as magnesium, is used to get better on climbing holds inside the rock gym and on the actual rock. And for competitions, chalk is even more crucial since you’re sweating extra due to nervousness and the pressure.
On a whole, chalk bags are far from fun and creative. But my kids, and I feel challenged, and love to spice it up a bit.
Having unique, fun chalk bags is still a new thing. So finding really uniquely styled ones can be a creative challenge. I found Grip Jammers after days of searching and, of course, my youngest had to have the Minion bag (my top choice too). My oldest got Patrick from Spongebob, which is all sold out. Once you find this site, hurry! I am sure most get sold out in minutes.
These bags are really practical and fun. During the competition more than half the climbing kids were constantly asking where we got them because unique, furry, fun chalk bags are yet to be a norm.