Scarpa North America Blog

Trip Report: Good Mom or Best Mom Ever? Jill Church and Bishop Bouldering with a Baby

Jun. 21st 2011

Here’s a little update from SCARPA team member Jill Church, a new mom who’s still out there finding ways to get in her training … looks like from that first photo that Iris will be climbing before too long.

So far living in Bishop is incredible! It’s finally gotten too hot for climbing on the Tablelands, but the Buttermilks are perfect in the mornings.  I’ve been really enjoying these high techy boulders- a nice change from the thuggery of Hueco this past winter. I wake up every day amazed that I actually live here.  I also recently attended my very first Mule Days Parade. My daughter, Iris, absolutely loved it. We’re both incredibly psyched to live in a town that’s official mascot is the mule.

Iris and I have developed a very efficient routine here that gets me out climbing and lets her get some fresh air. On the days that her dad goes to work, I have about three hours between her naps to session at the Milks so I’ve been hauling up her play pen and setting up camp at a different boulder each day. I can get in a few warm-ups, then take a break to help her enjoy her picnic lunch, then get in a few good burns on my project du jour.  Mornings are pleasant at the Milks and if we stay in the shade I can climb until noon. I feel a bit ridiculous hauling a massive play pen to the boulders, but the one day I tried not bringing it she promptly put a handful of gravel in her mouth and ended up with bloody gums! I did a weigh-in with all the gear I’ve been carrying and, including Iris, it’s nearly 60lbs. Needless to say, I do most of my climbing as close to the car as possible. I’ve been surprised that other climbers seem to really enjoy seeing a baby at the boulders. Most of the time they just smile at her, but recently I had the good fortune of running into a group of nannies on vacation at the Buttermilks. Seriously- three nannies from San Fran who were more than eager to play with Iris the whole time I climbed. They even thanked me when we left!

If I didn’t have a daughter to wake me up every morning by 6am, I would probably sleep through most of the cool morning temps and not get out climbing nearly as much as I do now. Some days do end up being a total wash with Iris insisting that I carry her around the boulder field, but most days she enjoys being outside as much as I do. I’m not sure how things are going to work in a couple months when she starts walking, but I guess I just have to trust that we’ll find a way for her to continue safely exploring the world and for me to still get in some climbing.

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