• TNB: Climbing's Big Mistake
  • TNB: Trad Dads and Dad Bods
  • TNB: Do the Right Thing
  • TNB: Big Wall Soloing Sustenance – Cookies vs. Bugs
  • TNB: When Your Rope Falls Off—and 5 Ways to Prevent the Nightmare
  • TNB: Before I Die - What Would Climbers Think?
  • TNB: Raphael Slawinski - Firsthand Account of Everest Earthquake
  • TNB: Point Break - Sharma, Andrada on the Big Screen
  • TNB: Muscle Shoals - Rock and Soul
  • TNB: Naked Soloist is Saner Than Me
  • TNB: The Hard Climb to Heaven
  • TNB: Summer Camp
  • TNB: Suicide in Our Sights
  • TNB: Ethan Pringle's 10 Tips for Sending Your Project
  • TNB: Hawaii Rocks - Totally Aloha
  • TNB: PointGate - Why Comp Climbing Is Not The Future
  • TNB: My First Epic
  • TNB: Eight Ways to Avoid Braking Bad - The Art of the Soft Catch
  • TNB: #Dawnwall and The Creation of Alex Honnlove
  • TNB: Vision Quest - Benji Fink and Mexico’s Steepest Big Wall
  • TNB: The New Dawn (Wall) of Climbing
  • TNB: The Top 5 Weekend Whippers of 2014 (Plus the Comments)
  • TNB: 10 Tips for Jolene Kay, Professional Climber (and Hot Actress)
  • TNB: The Story Behind the Craziest of Rescues
  • TNB: The Risk of Climbing
  • TNB: How to Get Stronger by Doing Nothing for 5 Minutes a Day
  • TNB: Eight Ways to Improve Your Footwork
  • TNB: In Praise of the Weekend Warrior
  • TNB: Joe Kinder Visits the World's Hardest Cave
  • TNB: Celebrating Insomnia in Chamonix
  • TNB: Run, Rabbit - Hermann Gollner, 71, Cranks Pump-O-Rama (5.13a)
  • TNB: Five Best Photos of 2014
  • TNB: Clip Like A Pro - 5 Tips from Sasha DiGiulian and Sean McColl
  • TNB: Five Things Every Gym Climber Must Know About Climbing Outside
  • TNB: Still Jeff Lowe
  • TNB: Moving Over Stone With Doug Robinson
  • TNB: Wheels Up—The Top 5 Climbing Rigs
  • TNB: Is K2 The New Everest?
  • TNB: Things—Besides Us, That Is—That Fall
  • TNB: When Homemade Gear Works, Sorta
  • TNB: The Outsiders
  • TNB: R.I.P. Homero Gutierrez Villarreal - The Padrino of El Potrero
  • TNB: A Short Talk with Sierra Blair-Coyle
  • TNB: Ian Dory, Ninja, or The Craziest Thing I Ever Seen
  • TNB: The Best Crag Dogs of All Time
  • TNB: 5 Ways to Make People Love Your Routes
  • TNB: Hudon and Jones, and Don't Forget It!
  • TNB: Climbing's Tribal Rites
  • TNB: Sasha DiGiulian and Alex Johnson On How to Be a Modern Pro
  • TNB: Is Dean Potter A Bad Father?
  • TNB: Silly Places We’ve Slept - Tales of Unplanned Bivies
  • TNB: Forgotten Hero - Frank Sacherer 1940-1978
  • TNB: The World-Class Weekend Warrior – Martin Keller Climbs V15
  • TNB: Everest Sherpas No Longer Willing to “Grin and Bear It”
  • TNB: Hardheaded Helmet Lesson Learned
  • TNB: Six Most Awesome Jobs for Climbers
  • TNB: The Coolest Climbing Deal Breaker
  • TNB: Sharma and Glowacz Send World’s Steepest Rock Climb
  • TNB: An Encounter with a Legend - Patrick Edlinger, Plus A Whipper Vid
  • TNB: Six Things Every Climber Should Do Before They Die
  • TNB: Falling from the Top
  • TNB: Weekend Whipper
  • TNB: Band of Crushers
  • TNB: Charlie Porter, We Hardly Knew You
  • TNB: Climbing's Greatest Route Names
  • TNB: Hot Women Die and Have Sex on Everest
  • TNB: The Great Tragedy at Carderock
  • TNB: Thoughts On Death, and Last Words
  • TNB: Climbing's Next Big Story
  • TNB: Next Level? Honnold Pushes the Game on El Sendero Luminoso
  • TNB: Jeff Lowe Invented the Sport
  • TNB: The Most Popular Weekend Whippers of the Year
  • TNB: If Ondra Isn't The Best Climber In The World, Who Is?
  • TNB: Storm Years or Typhoon? The Biggest Issue in Climbing
  • TNB: Jim Bridwell Speaks
  • TNB: Honnold's Biggest Solo
  • TNB: Death on Forbidden Peak - Was the NPS Complicit?
  • TNB: Ice Climbing Goes to Sochi Olympics
  • TNB: When Gear Attacks
  • TNB: 8a.nu: The Best Climber in the World is the One with the Most Points
  • TNB: Shutdown: Illegal Climbers in Yosemite—Ninjas or Criminals?
  • TNB: Who is the Best Climber in the World?
  • TNB: The New Courage in a Rucksack
  • TNB: Unsolved Mystery - The Ten Sleep Shooting
  • TNB: The Pad Problem - Honnold, Kehl on Headpoints and Highballs
  • TNB: Travels with Delaney Miller - National Champ Turns to Rock
  • TNB: Jail Food and Booty
  • TNB: Love on the Road
  • TNB: Is Pakistan Safe for Climbers?
  • TNB: Flash Floods, Climbers and How to Get Out of the Way
  • TNB: Climbing's Next Level
  • TNB: Best in Show - Brand New Gear from the Outdoor Retailer Show
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  • TNB: Under Pressure - Trotter and Honnold On How Bets Can Help You Send
  • TNB: The Tragedy of Tito Traversa
  • TNB: DR's Crazy Brain Puzzle. Get It Correct or Else.
  • TNB: What Happened To Climbing Films?
  • TNB: Cry of the Colorado Fussy Snivel
  • TNB: Mystery Solved!
  • TNB: The Mystery of Moses Tower - Help Answer a 25-Year-Old Question
  • TNB: No Such Luck
  • TNB: Erasing Midnight Lightning
  • TNB: Mayhem - Crawling, Balling & Brawling on the Evere$t Soap Opera
  • TNB: Watching the Boston Marathon
  • TNB: Chasing the Devil's Snort
  • TNB: Born-Again Gumby
  • TNB: Super Unknown - Austin Dark Horse Establishes 5.14d in Random Texas Cave
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  • TNB: The Big Freaking Deal, Ain't Bouldering
  • TNB: Honnold's Achilles' Heel
  • TNB: He's Either Crazy or a Poet
  • TNB: The Fish Cheat and the Prince of Climbing
  • TNB: A Letter from Santa... I mean Sharma
  • TNB: Traveler's Advisory - El Potrero Chico, Mexico
  • TNB: A Year Ago - Athol
  • TNB: Gun Control
  • TNB: What's the Problem?
  • TNB: Derek Hersey's Magic Carpet
  • TNB: The Apprentices
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  • TNB: What Would Warren Harding Do?
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  • TNB: Reality Pro
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  • TNB: Project FAIL
  • TNB: The Backwards Future of Climbing
  • TNB: The Death of Progress
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  • TNB: House Rules
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  • TNB: Metro-Pointing
  • TNB: Beast in the East
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  • TNB: Self-Destruction
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  • Video Spotlight
    The Full Send Footage of Ethan Pringle's Jumbo Love (5.15b) Ascent
    The Full Send Footage of Ethan Pringle's Jumbo Love (5.15b) Ascent
    Whipper of the Month
    Weekend Whipper: Chris Sharma's 100-foot Pont d’Arc Deep Water Solo
    Weekend Whipper: Chris Sharma's 100-foot Pont d’Arc Deep Water Solo

    TNB: Trad Dads and Dad Bods

    By Andrew Bisharat

    I never realized just how many people didn’t want me to climb hard until my wife got pregnant.

    You get some pretty strange responses from friends and acquaintances when they find out you’re on deck to becoming a parent. It’s funny ... in a way.

    Most climbers, with their social skills of autistic hermits, are only truly comfortable having conversations about project beta, personal fitness, or how many muscle-ups Alex Puccio just did in her latest Instagram. Few climbers know how to respond appropriately to the news that a baby is on the way.

    Illustration by Meg Bisharat. “This is the best thing that’s ever going to happen to you!” my friend Julie exclaimed. “It won’t even matter that you won’t be able to climb hard anymore.”

    Wait ... what?

    That’s the main trope, isn’t it? Have a kid, and life as you know it is over. It’s as if the ghost of gumby future appears with a chorus of crooked-helmet-wearing bards, and they all start rattling hexes at you while chanting:

    No more redpoints, no more sends. Goodbye Spain and hello, Bend!

    Retire those kneepads and downturned shoes,

    Welcome to strollers and diapers and poos.

    Now you’ll climb just juggy slabs,

    Yesterday’s sport climbers, tomorrow’s Trad Dads.

    Sport climbers who actually have young children themselves can barely contain their schadenfreude, sure that you, too, will soon be joining them in the purgatory of performance plateaus and diminished time to whittle away micro-beta on the mega proj.

    They offer half-hearted congrats, while inside bursting at the seams, thinking: Now you’re gonna know what it’s really like to be me! Let’s see how hard you climb after the first month without sleep, Daddy!

    Even climbers who don’t have kids perk up at the thought that there will soon be one less person competing with them for honors at the crag on any given day.

    “Well, I guess it’s time,” my friends would say solemnly, as if I were being put out to pasture, my climbing jersey hung from my last project. “Maybe we could even try to get together once or twice a year.”

    The best reaction, though, was from Tommy Caldwell. “Congrats on the new addition!” he texted me, adding, “You’re fucked!”

    Tommy and his wife, Rebecca, just had their second child: a girl named Ingrid. Their firstborn—a son, named Fitz after the Patagonian mountain Fitz Roy—made a cameo in last year’s REEL Rock Tour. In the film “A Line Across the Sky,” Tommy wrestles with being both a dad and a cutting-edge alpinist. He then hugs Fitz and sets off on a five-day “extreme backpacking” trip with Alex “Honnlove,” in which they tag the summits of all seven peaks in the Fitz Roy range.

    A year later, Tommy completely bone-crushed his 10-year project: the Dawn Wall of El Capitan (5.14d, 3,000 feet). He showed up to the biggest stage the climbing world has ever known in the best shape of his life. The only crux for Tommy, it seemed, was all the downtime he endured while waiting for his partner’s flapper to heal.

    See? Becoming a dad doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to start sucking at climbing! There’s hope, after all! I’m sure seeing Tommy bone-crush the Dawn Wall was inspiring to many other dads out there, too—at least up to a point. After all, no one on earth has ever uttered the phrase, “Well, if Tommy Caldwell can do it, so can I.”

    Many of my peers seem to be having children. It’s weird how that switch flips once you reach a certain age. Having kids spreads like a virus, decimating entire populations of otherwise happily self-absorbed folks in their 30s whose main concerns are whether their current hangboard routine will actually pay off come Sendtember.

    My friend Chris Kalous, of Enormocast fame, and his partner, Steph, just had a son, Miles, a.k.a. the “Enormobaby.” Miles is two weeks older than our daughter, Piper. During the pregnancies, Chris and I planned our offspring’s future wedding. That is, until Kalous found out that Tommy Caldwell has a daughter, and now Piper is out of the picture.

    “You understand, right?” Kalous said. “We have to do what’s best for the Enormobaby.”

    Dogs and babies together outnumber actual climbers at many crags these days, particularly my home crag, Rifle. Those without dogs and/ or babies will inevitably be more annoyed by this fact than the bearers.

    “Rob’s kids were screaming their freakin’ heads off the other day,” my friend Joe said as we drove out for an afternoon of pitches. “Three years ago, I would’ve been really pissed off. But now that I have my own kid, I barely flinched.”

    Dads have it easy, of course, in terms of maintaining some semblance of climbing fitness during the pregnancy and after. I admit to putting on, as my wife’s pregnancy progressed, some “sympathy weight,” even though I prefer to call it “training weight.”

    Hence in time I realized I should pay some attention to warding off the dreaded Dad Bod. In advance of our daughter’s birth, I went through my own “nesting” phase, which manifested itself as building a midlife-crisis training dojo.

    “Do you think you could put together the crib now?” Jen would ask. “Just as soon as the campus board is done, babe,” I’d reply. I explained this plan to my friend Josh Wharton, like Tommy a badass dad who continues to crush.

    “Nice work on the baby preparations,” he said. “A home gym and a baby monitor are lifesavers. I think men are genetically programmed to explore new hunting grounds and kill shit when there’s a new mouth to feed. In climbing this translates to a letter grade or two. For me, being a father has been really fun and rewarding, like adding another passion to your life. It’s also been good for my climbing. I’m home and training more, and more focused with the time I do have to get outside.”

    Of course, the best part about having a kiddo is that it’s a chance not to take yourself or your climbing too seriously. But if, as Wharton says, it also translates into some higher climbing performance, that’s OK with me, too.


    Andrew Bisharat is a proud papa in New Castle, Colorado.

    This article was originally published in Rock and Ice issue 236 (August 2016).

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