Fear and Learning to Lead Climb – My Daughter’s Perspective

Experiencing Fear, But Safely…

My tiny 9 year old daughter cruising Golden Dream, Peter's Kill, the Gunks, on top rope.

My daughter as a tiny 9 year old, cruising Golden Dream (5.9+)

In 2012, my younger daughter expressed the desire to learn to lead climb (trad). She was always a very cautious child, so of course, it surprised and thrilled me. First step was to get her used to following multi-pitch and seeing how to use trad lead climbing gear and how to build safe climbing anchors. She had already lead sport a handful of times, but it was easy stuff, nothing harder than 5.7. She has always been a natural climber with excellent technique and was following 5.10 at the age of 10, eventually getting up a 5.11 when she was 12. So learning to lead climb should be easy, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://cliffmama.com/blog/fear-learning-to-lead-climb/

Missing Potrero Chico, Mexico

Fond Memories of Potrero Chico, Mexico.

View of the El Toro cliff. Potrero Chico rock climbing area, Mexico

El Toro, Potrero Chico, Mexico

  • Soaring limestone cliffs over 2,000 feet tall.
  • Warm pleasant temperatures in February.
  • A laid-back international climbing community ready to make new friends. Generous and friendly locals happy to see us year after year.
  • Delicious homemade burritors barbacoa at Checo’s place.
  • Stray dogs that follow you to the cliff and spend the day with you as your temporary crag dog.
  • Being greeted at my casita by a family of cats.
  • Swilling a giant caguama cerveza after a hot day in the sun, and passing around a bottle of El Compadre tequila late in the evening. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://cliffmama.com/blog/missing-potrero-chico-mexico/

A Mother’s Plea to Women’s Activewear Clothing Companies

Please Make Activewear for Women Climbers Like Me

I love those sexy camisole type tank tops that brands like Patagonia, Prana, Stonewear Designs, Athleta, etc.., sell all the time. Beautiful colors and prints. Great way to show off the shoulder and back muscles when climbing. When I look through the catalog, they look fantastic on the lean and strong bodies who wear them. But what about those of us who aren’t so lean anymore? Where can we find athletic and sexy clothing that isn’t skin tight and revealing more than we prefer? Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://cliffmama.com/blog/womens-activewear-clothing-companies/

MOM – Job Description

This has been circulating around the internet for years, but worth sharing again with all the moms who may not have seen it.

POSITION:Cliffmama with her children back in 2001.

Mother, Mom, Mama, Mommy


Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://cliffmama.com/blog/mother-job-description/

Family Climbing Tips – Making Climbing Time Family Time

How to Make Climbing With Kids Successful and Safe

Cliffmama helping her kid climbing at the Gunks in 2001.

Cliffmama & daughter, climbing at the Gunks 2001

Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you can’t still get out and climb! This Guide to Family Climbing is meant to help climbers with children get out and climb and find other friendly families to climb with and make life much easier. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://cliffmama.com/blog/climbing-with-kids-family-climbing/

Restaurants – An Overview

Where to Eat (and Drink) Near the Gunks

The main climbing areas of the Gunks are in the town of Gardiner, which has a small number of restaurants. Most of the “nightlife” is in the town of New Paltz, a fun and funky college town, home of the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz. There are some other nearby towns with notable restaurants, like Rosendale and High Falls. It’s a good idea to know about these other towns, as on busy fall weekends, the traffic back into New Paltz can be a nightmare. This list is by no means exhaustive, but I’ve only listed places that I’ve actually gone to eat at.


(Feb 2023: I owe this page a major update, as many restaurants closed since the pandemic and many others opened. Feel free to send me your recommendations using my contact form.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://cliffmama.com/blog/restaurants-an-overview/

Land Stewardship is Like Dating, or How I Fell In Love With the Gunks

Gunks Lovers – Romancing the Stone

Cliffmama on the top of a climb at the Gunks

I love this place!

I recall someone at a Mohonk Preserve event mentioning how Gunks climbers evolve over time. In the beginning they try to cheat and get around the ranger so they don’t have to pay for a day pass. Later they understand the need to help pay to maintain the preserve so they are willing to buy a day pass. As time goes on, they feel a stronger bond with the land and a stronger responsibility to take care of it. They become members, they donate more money and volunteer. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://cliffmama.com/blog/land-stewardship-gunks-love/

Mother climbing with toddler in a backpack sparks controversy

Climbing Mom, Menna Pritchard, Climbs With Toddler On Her Back – Big News?

This story is all over the news, apparently starting in the UK, now in the US and worldwide.  A British climbing mom, Menna Pritchard, posted a picture in her blog of her climbing with her 2 year old toddler in a baby carrier on her back. How this picture made it from her blog to international news outlets and why it’s so popular is a mystery to me. It certainly is something worthy of commentary in the climbing community especially those of us who go climbing with kids, but I guess it’s provoking outrage in the general population. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://cliffmama.com/blog/mother-climbing-with-toddler-controversy/

Finding Beauty With Our Children – What Else Are We Missing?

News: Joshua Bell Plays Violin and No One Notices

There was an article being shared around Facebook that really caught my attention. It came from an article in the Washington Post called Pearls Before Breakfast. What was posted on Facebook was actually just a summary of the main points which was posted on Jeff Bridges’ website. Take the time to read the original article, or if you’re in a hurry, get the summary from Jeff Bridges. Basically this ordinary looking guy plays classical music on a violin in a Washington DC subway station for 45 minutes. Just about everyone passes by, only a handful of people stopped to listen, and a few tossed money in his violin case and didn’t even stick around to listen. He made $32. The fascinating part is that the violinist was no other than Joshua Bell, one of the greatest living musicians playing on a violin worth over 3.5 million dollars and it was shortly after a performance where seats went for about $100 each. If the commuters bothered to stop and listen, perhaps they would have realized that they were listening to something special. Perhaps if they had known they were listening to a master and someone famous, they would have considered it of higher value. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://cliffmama.com/blog/finding-beauty-wonder-great-outdoors/

Ice Climbing Articles – Bogus Information

Climbing Ice and Bogus Climbing Articles

Ice Climbing Suggestions in Places Where Climbing Ice is Prohibited

Screenshot of Yahoo! Sports web page with bogus ice climbing article displayed.I was browsing around for interesting climbing articles on the internet, and came across this ice climbing article: Where to Go Ice Climbing and Winter Hiking in the Gunks of New York.  Sounds interesting, especially since I never hear about any ice climbing in the Gunks, so let’s see what the author suggests. I start to read it…. WTF???   Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://cliffmama.com/blog/ice-climbing-articles-bogus-information/

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