South African National Team 2018 Selection Event

Rock Moms E-Vent 2018

MCSA Montagu Youth Camp 2018

Rock Moms 2018

ROCK MOMS!

 

 

Their kids climb… well.  In fact, so well that most of these kids are already Protea Athletes but we’re not here to focus on these kids. It’s time to put some attention on those mums out there who enjoy the sport of climbing just as much as any other climber.  Without any further ado, we’d like to introduce you to the following Rock Moms in celebration of Mother’s Day this month:

 

  • Colette Rodrigues
  • Greta Pegram
  • Linith von Ahlefeldt
  • Sandy Eberhard

 

 

 

What sets the above mums apart from other climbing mums is that they all started climbing at the same time as their children or shortly thereafter, as Colette relates, “I never climbed until my kids got exposed to it at school by one of the WCC coaches who was a teacher. About six months after they started on an outdoor trip I was encouraged to give it a go. I’m not very good but I’ve never looked back!” 

Greta seems to be the only one of the mums who was introduced to climbing at the same time as her son, reflecting, “I was introduced and started climbing in December 2013 on a summer holiday to the Cederberg. My son, who was 13 years old at the time, and I, started climbing at the same time. It was a fantastic introduction to climbing and the reason we still climb today.” 

Sandy started out with a very different sport before her kids got onto climbing, as she explains, “I wasn’t a climber at all before being a parent. The most climbing I’d done was when a housemate took me up the granite boulders below Lion’s Head and I bravely worked my way up in his old size 11 climbing shoes. Not the most impressive climb, but it was enough to give me a sense that climbing was serious fun. I was a runner before my children came along, though, and it remained really important to me throughout the early years of parenting and to this day. Running in the mountains keeps me sane and happy and energized enough to manage all the new complications of my life as a mom.”

While Linith got into climbing more because of her husband as she reveals, “I did a belay course to support dad’s climbing and that was how I started. I hadn’t so much as stood on a rock before the children. They started climbing 6 years ago at the ages of eight and ten and I started a year later. The older they get the easier it is to go climbing for oneself.”

 

 

We all know how tough it can be being a mum and we really wanted to know how much of their climbing these mums have to sacrifice.

“In relation to my running and trail running, my husband was pretty supportive,” Sandy tells us. “He understood my need for exercise and time in the mountains; he had his own need of those things, too, though it was sometimes a source of tension to make sure we each got out enough.  My new immersion in climbing came about because my son’s climbing gym moved that much further away from where we live, at the same time that he became that much more determined to train hard and often so that he could be in a better position to try out for the SA team later this year. I decided that the best way for us as a family to deal with the demands of getting him to his training sessions was simply for me to start climbing properly myself. Delaney had already given some of us moms a few coaching sessions to get us more comfortable on the walls but I hadn’t ever learned how to lead climb. So before Luke and I could climb together on his extra training days, he had to become my ‘coach’ for a while. It was a complete eye-opener and a delight to experience him in that role. I didn’t realize he would be so patient and encouraging as a coach and so skilled as a teacher, because I wanted explanations for how everything was done, especially the rope management, so that I could understand and remember it all. He seemed rather proud that I was able to get my lead belay licence at the end of the first lesson: he said approvingly that it was because I was such a ‘dedicated’ and ‘enthusiastic’ student. As a result he was willing to take me up Jacob’s Ladder, which involved a whole lot of trust on both our parts. This is why I’m so motivated – it was a huge adventure.

   “These days he’s less easily impressed and can be quite a taskmaster. He’s decided I have potential and need to work hard to become a stronger climber, so he cracks the whip.  I can’t wait for my daughter to get back from her college so that we can go climbing together.”

 

“We climb together often and it’s a great way to stay connected as family,” Greta elaborates, “You know the adage ‘those who play together stay together’ – for us it’s important and it’s time outdoors that we enjoy too. In our family it’s all positive as we share the interest in climbing and outdoor activity,” Greta speaks of the impact climbing has on their lives.  “Maybe, it’s that my son is a far more accomplished climber than I am and so finding routes at the crag for both of us is sometimes a challenge.”

For Linith, climbing has had a very profound impact on her life and that of her family as most of their trips are climbing trips. “It has gotten us outdoors together, discovering magical places,” Linith expressed. “We are much fitter and healthier than we used to be. We are all much more confident people because of it.   The children are less keen on outdoor climbing than the adults, so occasionally we have to sacrifice climbing to do something else that they want to do.”

“The kids’ climbing always comes first,” Colette admits. “I can only climb when they are climbing as their school and other needs come first. I value the opportunity I have to climb when they are climbing. The climbing has offered me some very special time with my children as we now have a sport we can all do. We go away on trips together and connect in ways we never did as I understand what they are talking about and get the lingo.

   “Unfortunately having two kids with very different abilities and strengths there is often some struggle with feeling inferior by one of my kids and living under the other’s shadow,” Colette speaks openly about these challenges.     “Climbing has however allowed many more camping trips, days and afternoons away from technology, fun outdoors and in our beautiful surroundings. There are some stresses about what we value more and whose activity always gets the priority, for example, travelling with one and / or missing another’s other functions. But this is seldom.”

“Climbing has introduced a rich new facet to our relating and has helped us sidestep the patterns of resentment that can be a feature of family life,” Sandy talks to us about the impact of climbing on her family. “It’s brought delight and an ongoing sense of connection, even through the dreaded teenage years, so I’m doubly grateful for it.

   “For Luke, climbing has taught him invaluable lessons about taking care and being dependable and about the rewards of working hard and tolerating discomfort in pursuit of something extraordinary. For many years, now, Luke has had incredible climbing mentors who have generously taken him under their wing and introduced him to the joy of ‘trad’ and taught him how to be safe in the mountain and honour the space and the community. Rolfe and I are very grateful to this community for what they’ve invested in our boy.”

 

 

 

So juggling one’s own life as a mum and that of your kids can become quite a challenge, as Colette explains, “The expectations placed on children in terms of school work and projects and school activities causes a lot of stress as time is limited to get out a climb, or in terms of juggling coaching and what the schools requires.  Mom cannot go climbing when she wants to or with her people until plans have been made for the kids. Tons of juggling! Also the places mom wants to go is not where the kids want to go. So mom ends up going where the kids want to go.”  Fortunately, Linith and Sandy seem to have a different perspective on the juggling act as Sandy puts it, “It’s not difficult. It’s a gift to be able to experience this together.”

 

It’s a question that we had to ask of our mums, especially in this month of Mothers’ Day: What is the most rewarding thing about having kids?

“Their love, their spirit, their zest for life,” Colette enthuses. “Their fresh ways of seeing things and teaching you not to take things for granted.”

“Fun!” Greta exclaims. “They are so much fun! And they make your life take on a whole new dimension and possibilities for your own growth and development.”

“The rewards that stem from being a parent are profound and incomparable to anything else I’ve experienced,” Sandy tells us. “I love my work, too, and often find it rewarding, but having children has made me feel grounded and connected to an even deeper sense of shared humanity. It’s an extraordinary privilege to experience at close quarters the ongoing unfolding of these small people (who are really quite big and independent now). It moves me to think that my caring for them in the most constructive way I can manage, has had something to do with the fact that they are so well in the world.”

“I would probably never have discovered the extent of my capabilities without them,” Linith admits.

 

 

And so finally, we wanted to know what each mum found the most rewarding about climbing itself.

“I love the workout, exhilaration and outdoor combination and sharing it with your climbing partner, someone who has the same passion and idea of what constitutes fun,” Greta explains.

“I had no idea it would be possible to become so strong and proficient so quickly,” Sandy smiles. “Climbing really seems to reward the time and effort one puts into it. What seemed absolutely impossible to do six months ago, is now a warm-up route. I love the satisfaction that comes from being able to trust my body’s strength and agility and its surprising sense of balance mid-motion, and the thrill of moving through space on this crazy vertical plane in ways that seem to defy reason.”

“Being in gorgeous mountain surroundings,” Linith admits, “Getting up a vertical face still seems like magic. And being strong.”

“Pushing your boundaries and getting out there!” Colette tells us. “I have to say the climbing community for me has been a life saver! Post-divorce, just being accepted for who I am, being included and getting a sense of belonging, receiving encouragement and having fun has got me through many a dark day. I have never met a better group of people than climbers and they are so diverse in every way but all so accepting.”

 

We’d like to finish this ode to Rock Moms everywhere by just saying that we absolutely salute you!  Incredible women doing incredible things in incredible places while raising incredible children: well done and keep on climbing!

 

 

 

Montagu Rock Rally 2018