Outdoor Rock Climbing With Kids
This trip was arranged for us by Rock Odysseys in Utah, but all opinions are our own.
Have you always wanted to go rock climbing with kids but just didn’t know how to make it work? So many families tend to shy away from this amazing outdoor activity because they just aren’t educated on how easy it can be to rock climb together as a family.
When our little family headed to Utah to visit the National Parks, we knew we would have to be creative with our plans and do more than hike for four days to keep our 4-year-old daughter’s interest.
She’s a ball of energy and has proclaimed her future career as a “rock climber girl” but her life experience with rock climbing consisted of going to an indoor recreational climbing gym two times.
Related: Looking for family-friendly things to do in Utah? This list will not disappoint.
Even though her confidence level was mountain high we knew we needed to find an experienced guide in Utah to make sure we could have a fun experience but more importantly a safe adventure.
We searched around and found the company Rock Odyssey’s and knew that based on their rave reviews and high ratings, this was the one for our family.
Rock Odysseys: Canyoneering & Rock Climbing Tours
We didn’t have to look any further than Rock Odysseys to know we’d found the perfect answer to our rock climbing needs.
The owners are local to the area and our guide, Jake, was a vault of knowledge about the area as well. We met up with him just outside of Springdale near Zion National Park and we rode to our starting point called Lambs Knoll.
After weighing our options, we ended up signing up for the 1/2 day trip which included rock climbing, rappelling, and canyoneering.
We thought that for this being our first time, it made sense to try the 1/2 day versus all the other longer (yet just as awesome!) options.
After getting outfitted for our trip with the proper harness, climbing shoes, and helmet, we started our adventure. This was our first guided trip ever so we weren’t sure what to expect…but whatever expectations we had were far surpassed and our 5 hours with Jake was definitely a highlight of our amazing trip to Utah.
5 Tips When Rock Climbing With Kids
While our time with Rock Odysseys was amazing and eye-opening about all the adventures that we can accomplish together no matter the age of our children, there are some tips that we learned from them as well.
These rock climbing with kids tips will turn any type of trip into one that you and the family will never forget.
1. Don’t set any expectations of your child before you go other than to have fun
Our little girl had so much confidence going into our trip with Rock Odysseys because like I said she’s a “future rock climber girl.”
However, the great outdoors is quite a bit different than an indoor climbing gym. Even though she did amazing there were times when she was apprehensive about going any higher or just got tired and needed a break.
As parents, our instinct was to push her to try harder or keep going but Jake (our guide) reminded us that we need to keep it fun and positive no matter what.
She was in a new environment and those big rocks are even bigger in their eyes. Each time she took a break he encouraged her to try again when she was ready and each time her confidence grew a little more and she climbed a little higher.
(I was honestly blown away by the patience that Jake (the tour guide) from Rock Odysseys had with our daughter. He had a way of calming her and convincing her that she could do anything, all at the same time.
2. Have a talk about safety before you ever start your adventure
Some kids naturally stay next to their parents’ side but our kids have always been a little more free-spirited and have a tendency to run ahead or wander off.
We stressed the importance to our daughter before we even arrived that she stay with us and that nature is beautiful but has no boundaries to keep us safe.
We were outfitted by Rock Odysseys with climbing gear to keep us safe but that doesn’t help with steep ledges, uneven ground, or wildlife such as snakes and spiders. We always tell our kids that the rules are to keep us safe. We love adventure but safety is first always.
Rock Odysseys also did an amazing job of stressing this point too and in such a way that the kids didn’t feel like they were being “bossed” like they do by their parents. (How is it that kids always listen to everyone else but us, even though we literally just said the same thing?!)
3. Bring plenty of water and snacks
Our 1/2-day adventure with Rock Odysseys lasted 5 hours. So water breaks and snack breaks are essential, especially with children. It’s easy to have so much fun that you forget to take a break but staying hydrated is so important.
We brought backpacks with water and snacks and took several breaks during our adventure so that we had the energy to keep climbing. Sometimes kids don’t realize they are thirsty so make sure to give reminders to keep drinking!
Our guides understood that as well and we paced ourselves based upon what the kids could do. Because if the kids get overly exhausted and tired and hungry, then the entire rock climbing excursion very well could be altered.
4. Take time to enjoy the scenery and learn with your children
Rock climbing is a wonderful opportunity to stop and take in the view. Most likely, if it’s your first rock climbing adventure you will be in a new place you’ve never seen before. Jake pointed out different plants, rock formations, and explained to us how nature has impacted the area we were climbing.
We took plenty of pictures of us climbing but also of the beautiful landscape we were fortunate enough to be surrounded by. Our daughter is a sponge and constantly learning so we considered our adventure with Rock Odysseys a learning experience on so many levels.
5. Celebrate small victories
Keep encouraging each other! Throughout our adventure, we had so much fun cheering for one another as we climbed a little higher, rappelled a little faster, or got a little braver.
It’s not only the kids that need encouragement….hearing my husband and daughter root for me from the ground as I climbed made me push a little more to get to the top.
Our guides from Rock Odysseys were some of our biggest supports! They were hooting and hollering and pushing us all every single step of the way.
Everyone needs a cheerleader now and again and our adventure with Rock Odysseys was a great bonding experience for our family. We even celebrated with ice cream when we got finished!
If you’re looking for a rock climbing experience with a company that you can trust, give Rock Odysseys a try. You’ll be impressed by their knowledge, their patience, and their ability to calm anyone to try new things, no matter what their age might be.
These simple rock climbing with kids tips can help turn your first family rock climbing experience into one that none of you will ever forget.