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shortfatoldguy


Jan 8, 2003, 11:29 AM
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Father - daughter issue
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I hope this is an appropriate venue for this question. I could have put it in Community, but I'm interested specifically in women's responses--although I'm open to hearing from anyone, of course. (Apologies in advance for the long post.)

All three of my kids (boy 11, girls 14 & 16) like to climb in the gym, and the younger two have climbed outdoors on sport routes and enjoy it. My oldest, though, is fairly severely acrophobic--although the gym environment feels safe to her and she's okay there.

My dilemma, given her acrophobia, is that she wants to climb Mt. Hood. I've told all the kids that when they were at an appropriate age, if they could jog 5 miles, I'd take the necessary steps to try to get them up Hood. (I don't do much mountaineering anymore, but I've done enough that I'm quite able to tend to a beginner, one on one, on the dog route.)

To give you an idea of the extent of her physiological response to heights, last summer on a standard family backpack trip in the OR Cascades, we took a day hike and walked up a 300-400' cinder cone, on a trail up a scree slope of approx. 18% (I measured it afterward with my clinometer). She was extremely uncomfortable on top--a huge summit--and had to be "short-roped" w/a dog leash on the way down.

She's been running and asking about the climbing season on Hood. I've several times gently discussed with her my concerns about her response to heights, but (to her credit) she apparently wants to conquer this fear. And she's a little stiff-necked, like her old man. I respect her desire to do this.

I'm very much afraid, though, of putting her on a mountain, any mountain at all, this year. I know the best thing would be to give her the opportunities (plural) to work on this slowly. But we have an absurdly busy household; all three of the kids are very active in a number of things, and spending multiple weekend days working on this with her over the next several months is just not an option. The Mazamas club here in Portalnd has a great Basic Mountaineering course, but it's more of a time commitment than she's in a position to make. She's in our house for one more spring after this, and then it's off to college someplace.

Obviously, her safety comes first. But I also want to be sensitive to and respectful of her desire to climb and to conquer her fear, and I have to do it under the circumstances I'm given. Suggestions for dad?


esimhs99


Jan 8, 2003, 11:53 AM
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are there any smaller places you could go first to see how she reacts to them. maybe she is fully ready to conquer this fear. as for time constraints would it be possible to do it in the summer? she probably really wants to share this with you, and share this time with you, but it may be something that she cannont overcome. if that is the case, maybe there is some other trip that the 2 of you could do that is more condusive to her.


katydid


Jan 8, 2003, 1:03 PM
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Have you taken her up South Sister? How about the stairs around the "back" of Smith Rock (past Red Wall)?

The first one's a nice little hike with some altitude attached to it, and the second one is also safe as houses, but is a bit exposed. I suppose you could also wander around the rim of Crater Lake, as you get both altitude and (safe) exposure there.

Oh -- a "lower height" sort of situation you might want to think about is the bridge across Multnomah Falls, or the summit chair at Mount Bachelor (or at whichever ski area at Hood has the summit chair there -- can't remember which it is), if you guys ski.

I'd suggest a weekend at Smith -- do the stairs a few times, and let her come down when she just can't take it any more. Then make her go up a little higher the next time, until she can make it up to the top and back down again without freaking out. This may take more than a couple of days if her fear manifests itself in hysterics or panic attacks, but it's a nice, safe way to get used to heights, since, after all, they're just stairs, and you can remind her of that.

Once she's managed that, maybe try a little easy multi-pitch if she wants to climb. You might also want to see if you can talk therelic (Bill) and machiavellian (Linda), another father-daughter team, into hooking up with you -- they're good folks, and Linda's your daughter's age, as well. Sometimes peer pressure will go a long way toward getting over fears.

Good luck!

Kate
native (and homesick) Oregonian


shortfatoldguy


Jan 8, 2003, 2:24 PM
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Kate, these are wonderful suggestions. I'd thought of taking her (w/the other two) to Smith, and the Misery Ridge trail would be an excellent place for some safe "in vivo exposure." And S. Sister would be a good substitute, or introductory, peak. My wife and I had been talking about a family climb of St. Helens, as well. We should think about doing that this summer.

Best,
David


whitenight


Jan 10, 2003, 10:25 AM
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I am not really sure of a great solution to your problem, I think the above are great suggestions. But I just have to tell you that you should try to do whatever you can to take the trip together. I know how busy schedules can be with kids of that age. But it only gets worse. I have been trying to make whatever time I can to be with my family. That trip will not only be exciting to have conquered a fear, but it will also be a lasting memory to carry into college (and life). I will never forget the trips that I have taken with my father. I hope that your trips are memorable and positive. Good luck.

L.Whitenight
~Life does not wait for you, embrace it~


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