Families — Parents — Kids

Brooke, adventure parentBecoming a parent can (and oh it will) happen to anyone - that goes for any whitewater lover, big wall climber, backpacker, ultra runner, damn good frisbee tosser, and, well, you. One day you're hang-dogging a 5.10b or admiring those tan lines left by your Chacos on the tops of your feet and the next you're hearing, "We're pregnant."  And you think, "My life is over. Goodbye kayaks, so long Chamonix summer adventure, hello minivan."
Maybe it's not over. Maybe you don't need a minivan.  Unless you want one.
Check out these parents and families who set the stage and take their kids outside.

Mother & Wife Willow Rockwell Retires from Pro Mountain Biking

The news dropped today that Willow Rockwell is retiring from professional mountain bike racing.

The 34-year-old mother and newlywed effectively says she's hanging up the jersey in favor of spending more time as a wife, mother, and, in her words, a woman.

She explains it far more beautifully in her personal blog "Freedom" that she published today, which you can read by clicking right here.

 "Racing owned me.  I was it’s gladiator slave. And I was a good gladiator at that. One of the best. But it did not bring me much joy. What it brought was always closer to relief. Relief that I made it out alive. Relief that I didn’t suck. Relief that my body didn’t have another scar. Relief that maybe the prize money would pay the rent. Rarely joy. Rarely peace. Never stillness."

But still, it appears she has no regrets about racing. "I am thankful for the bike.  It has been the vehicle to this moment."

The decision had to be a difficult one, and we congratulate her.

Check out what she has to say at her blog, WillowRockwell.com

Climber Parents Talk Climbing and Babies and The Lifestyle

It's so, um, funny to look back as a parent with a 4-year-old (or of any age methinks) and realize how easy those babies are. Well, sure, I'll admit they're slightly more significant than the first climbing trip to Indian Creek for a week of hand jams and whippers under blue skies with good friends; babies flip your world upside down, no doubt. But babies, bless 'em, have yet to learn how to vocalize their opinions with pouting, and fibs, and all the I DON'T WANNAs and I'M TOO TIREDs that you can handle. Their needs are so simple and crystal clear (sleep, eat, play, repeat) and they communicate so well compared to that aforementioned turd-year-old. Babies eat and sleep and, yes, they cry but they're infinitely easier to take along on an adventure. You gotta hand it to 'em, they're nice and light.

Family of Five Goes Around the World in a Trick Land Rover Defender 110


Hello? Yes, hello there. Eyes down here please. You can't seem to stop staring at that Land Rover, can you? This is the Jelinksi family, Igor and Rachel and their three children Sarah, Charles, and Eléonore, who, in 2009, left their home in France for a 21-month roam around the globe. In that. That beautiful Land Rover 110 Defender. They planned their trip around the world with flexibility in mind, as sometimes they parked their truck and traveled like backpackers for weeks without wheels. Then, on the leg home, they traveled by freighter across the Atlantic in 26 days from Buenos Aires to Emden, Germany. Neither cruise ship nor yacht, but cargo ship, and if you know anything about traveling by cargo ship it certainly qualifies as dirtbagging. Around these parts, we consider dirtbagging as a family a good thing.

To give you the overview, they drove the classic Africa route Cairo to Capetown, then flew to Southeast Asia for a bit, and shipped the Defender to South America to hit some highlights like Machu Picchu, and parts of Boliva, Brazil, Argentina, and so on. Their Defender is outfitted with the usual, and not-so-usual: a rally suspension set up, 170-liter (45-gallon) fuel capacity, and not one but two roof top tents. Applaud that.

Mom and Daughters Bag 48 Summits Together

"Girls are, of course, strong," says Trish Ellis Herr. She's not flinging around the usual lip service, either. Trish is the mother of two girls, and together they've hoofed it to the summit of 48 of the tallest peaks in New Hampshire. The highest of which is Mount Washington, a lofty 6,288 feet. It's not exactly a nosebleed, but it doesn't matter. The miles do. And 48 high points racks up a mound of miles with their own elevation.

Trish's oldest daughter, Alex, was 5 years old when she started hiking and by the time she rolled her 6th birthday, she'd already made her way to the top of those 48 summits. Sage, the younger sibling, had also accomplished the same when she was 6 years old.

Today in History: Rock Climber Dan Osman

Photo via

On February 11, 1963 Dan Osman was born. He spent the 1980s and most of the 1990s making incredible marks on the sport of rock climbing, especially with his legendary feats in free soloing and a wicked thing called "rope jumping."

In 1998, when he was just 35 years old, he made a free fall leap from Leaning Tower in Yosemite National Park, his rigging failed, and he fell to his death. At the time, his daughter was 12 years old.

You can read a nice article at Outside Magazine's website about his life, achievements, and how his death illuminated a debate about taking care of the people in your life and how the risks you take do affect others. The debate about how much risk is too much risk carries on today, and it's one we all calculate for ourselves. However, there is no doubt that he was as much a dedicated father as he was as an athlete. Today his daughter curates a website dedicated to her dad she calls Dan Osman by Emma Osman.


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