Rockin' It On The Rock Wall at Bretton Woods
After two years of walking past the Bretton Woods Slopeside Climbing Wall on the third floor of the base lodge, my five-year-old daughter was finally big enough to try on a harness and rock shoes and give the climb a try.
Steve Nicophor, Climbing Programs Director, welcomed Bridget with a big smile and immediately helped her into an indoor kids' harness and the smallest climbing shoes they make, while I filled out some short paperwork. Steve started out at Bretton Woods with the Canopy Tour, and for the last two years has been developing an adventurous but approachable climbing program at Bretton Woods that naturally appeals to the the allure of the mountains for those of us who come here to play.
Climbing shoes aren't required, but I knew they'd help her start to get the real feel for the sport, and although sneakers would have been fine, clunky snow boots would not have been a option.
James, Steve's assistant, took Bridget right over to one of the easier of the many routes that spans the 624-foot indoor wall. He attached his rope to her harness with carabiner and let her at it. I have to admit I was a bit surprised that Bridget didn't immediately move right up the 26-foot wall to ring the bell at the top. She made it about half-way up and asked to come back down. Her timidity was unexpected, but I once again found myself balancing that fine line between encouraging her to try something beyond her comfort level and pushing her so much that she wouldn't want to try it again.