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A Look Inside Our Sprinter Van

#DefendersofFun is a look into the adventurous lives of Dirtbag Darling’s community of loyal readers—their gear, their stories, in their own words. Share your outdoor story on Instagram @DirtbagDarling #DefendersofFun. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Liv Combe_Lost Coast_Cameron Gardner1
“My name is Liv Combe and I live in San Francisco, California. I’m the senior editor at Huckberry, an online shop and magazine for men. Well, we cut our teeth on men’s gear and apparel, and continue to sell that, but the content side of things—which is what I work on— is for any inspired, creative, adventurous person out there. Badass biddies very much included.
I run the Huckberry Journal and work on many of our special projects such as print catalogs and our yearlong series of guides to seven national parks in honor of the NPS centennial. This project has been my baby this year. I’ve gotten to go to Zion and Yosemite for this series, and it still amazes me that I get my paycheck by exploring these places. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Liv Combe_Yosemite_Alex Souza3
Photo by Alex Souza
I’ve always known that all this outdoorsy stuff would really suit me, but it wasn’t until I moved to California that it became something I actually did. I grew up in Ohio in a non-outdoorsy family. Athletic, yes—I played basketball and soccer and ran track and cross country through college. Outdoorsy? No. We never camped. We stayed in a cabin on a lake once when I was 10 or so and I hated it.
That was part of the draw for California for me. After college, I really needed to turn my life upside-down, so I found an internship at a travel magazine in SF, bought a one-way ticket, and headed on out here. I didn’t know anyone, I wasn’t making nearly enough money to actually live here, and I didn’t feel confident in even setting up a tent by myself. But living in such a place like San Francisco—which is an urban hub but so, so close to so many beautiful outdoor spaces and has a really active culture in getting out into them—was exactly what I was looking for to change all that. I soaked it up like a sponge, and plan on continuing that for a long, long time. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Liv Combe_Yosemite_Alex Souza1
Photo by Alex Souza
I’m a long-haul kinda gal, so a lot of my hobbies revolve around activities that take a lot of patience. I practice yoga four or so times a week and am a distance runner. I make pottery in a studio in Golden Gate Park. I’ve recently gotten into baking sourdough bread. I like projects and activities that take a kind of passive focus—where I have to concentrate, yes, but not necessarily be actively thinking. I also like purifying water. It’s a chore for some people, but I dig it!
Thanks to Huckberry I have a lot of incredible gear at my fingertips: I have a backpacking pack from Boreas that I absolutely love— it’s the perfect size for 3-5 day trips out into the backcountry and has hidden daisy chains and stretchy carabiners that make it really easy to carry everything you need, however you need to. I have a Nemo sleeping bag that’s kinda pear-shaped, aka perfect for side sleepers. I love, love, love my Mountain Hardwear tent. It’s an Optic 2.5, meaning it fits two people, our stuff, and has two entrances that are right next to each other. Roll back the rain fly in the morning to uncover both doors and you’ve got some prime tent views. And I’ve got to say… I love my Teva sandals. I was a non-believer at first, but they really are the perfect camp shoe. Other faves: Snow Peak cookware. Stanley thermos. Biolite stove. And all the pocket knives. I have an addiction to pocket knives. And bandanas. And hats. Sigh. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Liv Combe_Lost Coast_Alyx Schwarz
Photo byAlyx Schwarz
I was in Zion National Park this past spring on assignment for Huckberry, and my fear of exposure completely got the best of me up on Angel’s Landing. I’m not afraid of heights— fine in tall buildings, I like top-rope climbing, I’ve gone skydiving—but exposure really gets to me. I’d been psyching myself up all day to make the half-mile walk out to the lookout point on Angel’s Landing, but when I got to the first 100 yards of the chain, my body betrayed me. Shaking, weak muscles, sweaty palms. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Liv Combe_Lost Coast_Cameron Gardner3
My co-adventurers, two rad dudes who could bound along the chain like mountain goats without even noticing the thousand-foot drop-offs on either side of them, did their best to encourage and help me, but I physically couldn’t do it, even though there were children and people half as in shape as me passing on by. It was a mental hurdle that I couldn’t overcome. It was a pretty humbling experience, and reminded me that I have a long way to go to conquer this fear..
I think I embody a modern outdoorswoman in that I’m not afraid to ask questions when I don’t know how to do something, and I will always, always, alwaysat least try something, even if it freaks me out.”
—As told to Dirtbag Darling
“To do good, you actually have to do something,” Yvon Chouinard said (ironically, in an American Express commercial. But hey, it’s a mad inspirational commercial!). Start with these simple actions to limit your impact. (1) Practice Leave No Trace (LNT). Climbers might argue the ethics of ground-up versus rap-bolting ad nauseam, but in general, being […] Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news @sashaturrentine thr@sashaturrentine throwing it back a few years to this beauty! Man I miss Switzerland! . . . . . #climbing#rock#switzerland by shaunacoxsey Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Photo: Amber L PhotographyPhoto: Amber L Photography
I’ll admit: I didn’t get the whole “Sprinter van” thing when my now-husband first introduced me to the idea. We were living in California and I thought the beat-up minivan we were driving to Yosemite and to the beach every weekend was paradise on four wheels—why mess with a good thing? Back then, there wasn’t a #vanlife hashtag. No one we knew directly (or indirectly) had lived in a van, but he saw the value of having a dependable vehicle that could function as both a mobile home, a gear hauler, and a pick-up truck. He’d already been searching for years for a Sprinter van, one that was reasonably priced, had low mileage, windows, and no hidden rust issues. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Look Inside Our Sprinter VanThis is Sasquatch. He’s big, a little stinky, and often found lurking in Walmart parking lots.
Then we found it: A grey and black Sprinter. We constructed a bed frame out of scrap wood and strung up some curtains with wire, but that’s where our modifications stopped. The Sprinter’s main function was transporting our surfboards and friends to the beach every other weekend. Throw in a few Tupperware bins and we were set.
Then we found Sprinter number two. It was three feet longer and had served the majority of its life as a taxi for an old-age home (hence the wheel-chair lift we had to remove and sell for a few hundred bucks).For the first two years, the new Sprinter lived with basic rubber flooring, two curtains hung on a shower rod, that basic wood bed frame, and some pads we took from a school bus conversion (my husband and his cousins bought a yellow school bus when he was 14 years old and they converted it into a mobile home. We actually took it on a cross-country road trip a few years ago, but it broke down and we had to leave it in a junkyard in Colorado). Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Look Inside Our Sprinter VanWe didn’t install a shower, but a solar-heated shower (or a dip in the lake) works just fine.
I tried to decorate a little, but mostly just become frustrated that I lack decorating skills. Eventually we bolted in a giant dresser we found on Craigslist, outfitting it with a pump sink and some storage for pots and pans. That year, we bought a house (a real one), then immediately ditched it for four months to travel the country working remotely from the Sprinter, traveling through Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, New Orleans, the Florida Keys and back up the East Coast to Maine.
The next spring, we decided we finally had some extra money and time and would give the Sprinter a proper conversion. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news build1Rowdy was as scared of the gutted van as we were! Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news build2We ended up using thick foam insulation board for the roof and fiberglass stuffing on the bottom, all covered by a vapor barrier and all-weather Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news build3Lesson number one: label everything, then label it again. It’ll save you so much time and so many Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news build4We decided to fill the unused headspace above the front seats with a doored shelf. Construction experience necessary (thanks Marlin!) Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news build5We found this amazing dry sink unit at a thrift store for $10. Right? I didn’t know what a dry sink was either. We really wanted to use as many second-hand components as we could, but the paneling we ended up having to buy brand Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news build7We saved a lot of time by having Home Depot make some of our big cuts for us, like the wood sectionals on the roof. See those bare white sides? They used to be covered in vinyl. I spent four days just scrubbing off adhesive with every formula known to man. Hint: get yourself some Goo Gone! Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news build8We’re still using our original bedframe, which Marlin built so that the sides can flip up for easier access to the gear Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news build9Here I’m installing Boom Mat to reduce road noise. Some small rust issues here, but nothing we shouldn’t be able to Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news build10Marlin built a small fold-up shelf for our camp stove when the weather is nice. We want to install an awning for rainier Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news build11Cutting a hole in our roof for the ventilation fan…scary! Measure five times, cut once! Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news build12A friend’s parents donated their old pop-up camper for us to pick through—I pulled these old foam mattresses and cut them to fit the bed, so that they’ll fold up with the sides. Side note: we may have gone overboard on the Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news build13Installing our curtain tracks. I taught myself to sew for these babies—and it only took me four hours and two temper tantrums.
The build out involved a few heated discussions, multiple dance parties, lots of gummy worms, and no shortage of mistakes. There’s no guide or manual on how to do any of this, so it’s a lot of trial and error and—while I hate to be negative—I wouldn’t suggest trying it yourself unless you or a close friend has plenty of construction experience. My other advice is to make a budget of how much time and money you’ll need, then double it. You’ll want to do it all right the first time, so don’t start unless you have all the tools, planning, time, and funds available to do it! For more cautionary tales and great advice, check out this article! Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news sprintertour1The first conversion was mostly just insulating and outfitting the van with wooden paneling, lighting, and wiring. We also installed a fan for venting, and overhead storage over the front seats. This was how it used to look.
This spring, we had a bit more money and time and a looming four-week trip ahead of us, so we decided to make some adjustments for functionality. We replaced the peeling Ollie’s laminate flooring with a more durable, scratch-resistant paneling.
Marlin built a side bench with divided storage, which has worked out so much better than using bins under the bed. When in use, it has sections dedicated to climbing equipment, camping gear, cameras, and clothing. When not in use, it makes great seating and doubles as an extra twin bed for guests. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_4803
Next, we installed a custom-made sink cabinet. We searched Home Depot for organization solutions, and eventually decided on heavy-duty wire drawers on sliders. Since they can come dislodged during driving, we secured the doors with a simple bolt lock and that keeps everything in place. The next step was committing running water instead of a pump sink, so we ordered parts off Amazon and—a few days later—had running water connected to both clean and waste water storage. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_4808 Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_4777 Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_4776
Finally, Marlin worked with his dad to weld together a custom adjustable bed frame, which means our bed can be positioned flat on the floor, pulled up all the way to the roof (in case we want to transport tall objects like furniture or motorcycles), and includes a few adjustment points in between. It’s sturdy, sleek, and definitely the pride and joy of our conversion. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_4791 Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_4792 Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_4793
What it offers us is flexibility. We looked at other conversions that were gorgeous and functional, but a lot of them are meant to be lived in full-time. We had different needs since we use the Sprinter as a surfboard wagon one day, a mobile home the next, and a work truck the following. That’s why we made sure everything we installed could be removed easily if need be. We kept the back bench seats in case we have kids one day, or just want to transport a few more friends around, and can install that in minutes. We also got the van retitled as an RV, which has saved us a lot of money on insurance (and got a porta-potty so we can be self-contained). Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Look Inside Our Sprinter VanOverhead storage is where we keep food supplies and Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Look Inside Our Sprinter VanMagnets from the different states we’ve Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Look Inside Our Sprinter VanA look into the back of the Sprinter from the front seats. We use an Igloo Sportsman cooler and keep a grate in there for dry Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Look Inside Our Sprinter VanA flat wood panel slides out of the sink area for additional counter space. There’s a flip-out counter in the back of the van for outdoor Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Look Inside Our Sprinter VanOur co-pilots: R2 offers moral support. Herman always answers our “Should we go?” questions with a resounding yes (he was built that way, though) Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Look Inside Our Sprinter VanA look forward from the bed. There are usually a few more pairs of shoes scattered everywhere. It was a clean Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Look Inside Our Sprinter VanMy favorite place. Photo: Amber L Photography
If you’re thinking about committing to life on the road or investing in a van, just remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all build out or living situation. If you don’t have experience, there are companies who can help you design and build your van. If you don’t have the money for a van right now, get inspired by our friends at Fresh Off The Grid, who have been traveling the country in their car. If you’re ready for an adventuremobile and aren’t sure which is right for you, check out She Explores for plenty of ideas and advice.
Note on cost: It’s not cheap to convert a van, but it’s a LOT cheaper to do it yourself. However, if you don’t have experience or help, it might be more cost efficient for you to hire a company to do it for you. It all comes down to what works best for you and there’s no “right” way to get it done. Since we used mostly donated, borrowed or Craigslist/yard-sale sourced materials and tools, our cost came out between $600-900 over the course of five years. So, not cheap, but not outlandish, either.
My best advice is to avoid committing to a design until you’ve lived in the van for a bit. It will give you an idea of your specific needs and help you avoid building flaws, in turn saving you lots of money. Happy Travels!
We want to see your vans, cars, buses, etc. Link to your blog posts and Instagram photos (or just tell us about them) below!
In continuing our Mother's Day celebrations here on the blog, I wanted to share an interview I did with the mothers of Evolv climbers, Arabella Jariel and Ashleigh Kazor. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Mother's Love - An Interview With Moms of Two Competition Climbers
Mom always has the spot! Arabella climbing in Hueco Tanks with a spot from her mom, Jennie. Photo credit: Travis Wills
At only 13 years old, Arabellahas been tearing up the climbing scene lately with her most recent 1st place win at theTuck Fest Deep Water Solo Competitionand her impressive 2nd place finish at the 2015 Hueco Rock Rodeo in the women's open category (beating out some women who were twice her age!) She also took home the title of Dyno Champion at the end of that comp. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Mother's Love - An Interview With Moms of Two Competition Climbers
Katie Kazor is always ready to catch her daughter if she falls (literally and figuratively!)
Ashleigh(whom we've featured as a Sending Sister in the past), has made it to USA Climbing nationals competitions time and time again, and continues to train, improve, and become stronger with each passing year.

It's a crazy life, being a comp climber, filled with practices, traveling, and schoolwork. And I'm sure it's even crazier for their mothers!We all know that having supportive parents is the key to success in any child's upbringing, and I wanted to see what it might be like being the mother of a competitive climber. So follow along, as we delve into the minds of Katie Kazor and Jennie Jariel as they share their thoughts on being a mother to a competitive climber! Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Mother's Love - An Interview With Moms of Two Competition Climbers
Katie Kazor Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Mother's Love - An Interview With Moms of Two Competition Climbers
Jennie Jariel
How did you come to the decision that climbing was the sport for your daughter?
Katie: We just sort of happened into climbing, but I'm so happy we did! Ashleigh had tried dance and gymnastics early on and even competed with some success at gymnastics. Then she wanted to do horseback riding lessons, which stuck for a little while. There was a small wall at the local YMCA that she started climbing when ever we were there. Luckily there was a guy that worked the wall who loved climbing and saw her interest. He kind of took her under his wing and started showing her a few things. She fell in love with the challenge and when she found out there were climbing gyms and competitive teams, she was hooked. Once she got to the point where she was ready to join a team, we decided she needed make a choice between the horseback riding and climbing since we didn't have the time or money to keep up with both. Needless to say, she chose climbing. It's always been her decision, but we are certainly happy she chose to peruse this route.
Climbing is such a great sport for her for so many reasons. My husband is in the Army and we move every few years, but through competition climbing she is able to travel, even at a young age, and reconnect with friends and teammates from all over the country. It is so physically demanding that it obviously helps her stay fit and healthy, but I love how mental climbing is. It's something she can continue to grow with and stay involved in throughout her life.
Jennie:We had exposed her to several sports/activities early on—soccer, gymnastics, ballet...just about everything. Climbing was the one thing that stuck. She went from wanting to go occasionally, to once a week, to as much as possible.
Have you seen any personality changes in your daughter since she started competition climbing?
Katie: Ashleigh suffered from social anxiety when she was younger and climbing has really helped her come out of her shell. She didn't make the climbing team her first time trying out, not because of her climbing, but because she wouldn't talk to or interact with anyone and had a hard time trying anything new in front of people. Her love of the sport and her determination to be a competitive climber pushed her to try again and overcome a lot of her anxiety. It's still a process she works through but climbing is what pushes her. She has become so much more confident in herself.

Jennie:When she first started climbing and competing, she was quiet around people she didn't know. Now she's much more social.

What do you think is the most important aspect of being a mother to a competition climber? Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Mother's Love - An Interview With Moms of Two Competition Climbers
Ashleigh finishing 8th at SCS Nationals 2013. Photo credit: Keri Stephens
Katie: The most important thing for me is to help her manage her schedule in such a way that she doesn't get burned out. The schedule these kids keep can be grueling, especially at such a young age. Although she's never once said that she didn't want to go climb or practice, sometimes you can just tell they need a break! At least a few times a year we try to get out for a more relaxed trip to the crag. Ashleigh had a disappointing ABS Divisionals this year. So we found ourselves with a little time on our hands and no Nationals to go to this year. On the drive back home, we decided to take an impromptu trip to Hueco Tanks. No expectations, no pressure…just get out to climb and have fun. It was really refreshing for the both of us and she came back energized and ready to train hard for rope season.
Jennie:The most important thing is keeping her balanced. I support her in every way that I can, but more importantly, try to make sure it stays fun for her. It's easy for young competitive climbers to burn out. That's why we try to take her climbingoutdoorsas much as possible.
Do you travel with your daughter to all competitions? Which trip was the most memorable for you?
Katie: I do travel to her competitions, but she is still young (11). It's fun to watch her compete and see all the hard work pay off. She does go on team trips for training or climbing outside without me, but I enjoy watching the competitions and videoing or photographing. USA climbing competitions are also very volunteer intensive, so I'm usually also judging or helping out in some way.
The most memorable comp for me was SCS Nationals in 2013. She didn't go into it with many expectations and ended up doing really well. She was so confident and relaxed at that comp. Once she made her original goal of making semi-finals all the pressure was off and she really shined. She climbed confidently and just really enjoyed herself. She finished 8th after making finals.
I also love when she does outdoor competitions. It's fun to see her get out of the gym and push herself outside.
Jennie: Yes (I travel to the competitions). The most memorable was the Youth Pan American Championships this past November in Mexico City.I had no idea how she would do since she was more focused on outdoor climbing this season and was taking most of ABS season off.It was her first international competition and she won bronze for


which was amazing. It was exciting watching her and other strong climbers from all over North and South America.
What's your favorite part about being the mother of a competition climber? Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Mother's Love - An Interview With Moms of Two Competition Climbers
Mom and daughter taking a break between burns.
Katie: The best part is watching her set goals and work hard to achieve them. Whether she reaches each particular goal or not, there is always a lesson to be learned. She always comes out the other side with a new perspective.
I also love the camaraderie that I see at comps. These kids are incredibly competitive, yet you always see them cheering each other on and really supporting one another and having fun. They work hard and play hard together and they really are like a family.
Jennie:My favorite part is watching my daughter mature as a climber. I remember when she was 8 and doing redpoint competitions. I'd have to follow her around, hold her score card to make sure she didn't lose it, and help her strategize her climbs. Now I barely see her during redpoint competitions because she's so independent. She still loses her score card occasionally and she's joked about putting it on a clipboard with a helium balloon attached to it so she always knows where it is.
When Bella was little, there were much older kids on her team that took her under their wings and were great mentors for her. Now that Bella is older, it's great seeing her help the younger kids who are the same age as when she first started.
How do you keep your daughters motivated without pressuring them too much during competitions?
Katie: This is a tough one and one that I'm always re-evaluating. I try to help her set reasonable goals and support her however I can. She wants to be be pushed. I never tell her she has to practice, because she's never not wanted to go. I know that climbing means a lot to her, so when she may need to be pushed during a workout or training session I just remind her of her goals and what she's working so hard for and that's generally all it takes. I'd hate to ever take the fun out of climbing for her, so it's something I'm always conscious of and try to take my cues from her.
Jennie:My husband and I always emphasize that all we care about is that she does her best, not where she places.
Describe your day as a mother during a climbing competition.
Katie: I think parents are usually more nervous than the kids at comps, so they can be pretty stressful. You know your child wants to do well and has put in so much time and effort into preparing that it can be a lot of pressure on them, and so you worry. Early morning drives or nights in a hotel are usually involved so I try to keep a little bit of a routine and get her a good night sleep the night before.
For onsight comps, once she's checked-in to ISO on time, there isn't much you can do, other than cheer them on and take photos or videos. I'm also usually judging or volunteering in some way when she's not climbing, so they can be pretty long days.
Redpoints are a little more laid back and you can have more interaction with your child. I try to help her stay relaxed and refocus if she gets frustrated. I'll watch and give her some pointers about what climbs to try if she needs it. But ideally, comps are the time to sit back and watch all the hard work pay off. Once she's done climbing, I hardly see her since she's off hanging out with her friends! Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Mother's Love - An Interview With Moms of Two Competition Climbers
Arabella climbing to bronze at the Youth Pan American Championships in Mexico City, 2014. Photo credit: Ika Jariel
Jennie:Get up early, eat breakfast, make sure Bella has everything she needs, then check her into isolation. Once she's in isolation, I'm usually running around taking photos of all the kids when I'm not watching her climb. I take and post photos of kids for our region of USA Climbing. Not only do I love watching and supporting the other climbers, it helps to keep me busy so I'm not stressing out as much.
How involved are you with training? Are you more hands-on or do you leave it to the team coaches to provide the guidance?
Katie: This one depends on where we live. With my husband in the Army, we don't always get to live close to good gyms with competitive teams. Long drives to practices means I'm generally not able to just drop her off and go back home, so I spend a lot of time in the gym with her. She is also not currently on a team, so most of the daily training falls on me right now. I've been trying to get her to practices with coaches and other kids several times a month so that she can get some good training and to take some of the pressure off of me. Since we homeschool, it is very difficult to be mother, teacher, and coach all in one. The more I can get her to team practices, the better. For the big comps and trips, I definitely prefer to hand the reins over to her coaches.
Jennie:I leave most of it to the coaches.I do try to get her any additional tools she needs—whether it's sending her to training camps, getting her additional coaching if she asks for it, etc.The one thing that I'm pretty adamant about is making sure she's doing antagonistic training. Climbers tend to have strong pull muscles but weak push muscles (chest, shoulders, upper arms, etc.), which can lead to injury. I tried to work with her on this but that didn't turn out so well—antagonistic training just isn't fun for kids. What has worked is getting her involved in activities outside of climbing that works those muscles. She was just doing parkour, but has now fallen in love with aerial silks at the parkour gym we also go to. It's a win on many levels. She's having fun and is getting her antagonist and flexibility training in as well.
What are the challenges involved with balancing school and climbing, from a parent perspective?
Katie: We homeschool, so we have a little more flexibility when it comes to balancing climbing and school. We travel a lot for climbing, so the freedom to rearrange schedules has been very helpful. When we have long drives during the week, she will normally get most of her school work done on the road and at the gym before practice. However, the benefits of homeschooling is also what can make it more challenging. It can be easy for us to put off school for gym or crag time. I've learned to be flexible and to use a loose, year-round school schedule in order to get everything accomplished.
Not all of these competitive climbers are going to end up as professional athletes. It's more about the life lessons they learn through climbing and competing that are helping shape them into the adults they'll someday be. As she gets older and into high school, I can see the balancing act getting tougher and tougher, but these kids are so driven that they find a way to get it all done.
Jennie:Obviously school comes first. The biggest challenge is getting her homework done on practice nights since practice is two and half hours long and is a little over a half hour away during non-rush hour. I have to pick her up from school and drive straight out to the area our gym is in so we don't get stuck in traffic. We eat before practice at a place that she can get her homework done before practice.
Do you have any advice for other parents (or future parents) of youth competition climbers?
Katie: Learn what you can about the sport and take part in it. Take them outside and keep it fun. As far as how much to push them, take your cues from your child. You don't want to put so much pressure on them that they burn out and start not enjoying climbing. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A Mother's Love - An Interview With Moms of Two Competition Climbers
Arabella and Jennie on a cold day out at Red Rocks.
Jennie:Get your kids climbing outside! It's important to give kids a break from the constant grind of training indoors and competitions, which can be stressful. Climbing outside is a totally different experience, is more recreational, and is something they can transition to when they age out of youth competition.

And last but not least, what foods do you feed your kids to make them much stronger than the adults at the climbing gym? (Okay, this one's just to be funny, but these days are beasts!)

Katie: Anything she wants! Ok, no, she really eats pretty healthily. :-)

Jennie:Bella is a total foodie and has been since she was little. When she was 6 she'd watch the Food Network and wanted Morimoto and Giada cookbooks. The challenge is feeding a foodie that's growing like a weed. I can't just pack peanut butter and jelly in her lunch--I have to pack things like chorizo, asiago cheese, rosemary crackers and roasted red peppers.
Thanks so much to Katie and Jennie for taking the time to answer some questions for me!
Climb On, Sister! Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news A picture for ClimbiA picture for Climbing passion by Davide Lucchelli Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Alex Honnold ❤️❤️ ThAlex Honnold ❤️❤️ This is the only thing that I could spend my life doing; climbing is my love and life Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Alex Johnson - The PAlex Johnson - The Pro Life and Growing Up as a Climber Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Alex Johnson na InstAlex Johnson na Instagramie: „shade seeking @rayanythingg The North Face EVOL Foods @evolvusa”