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Risky Trade Climbs on Family Vacations – La Croix Climbing Magazine

Risky Trade Climbs on Family Vacations – La Croix Climbing Magazine

James Pearson and Caroline Ciafaldini prove once again that young children don’t have to negatively affect climbing ability – quite the opposite. While on a family holiday at Rhoscolyn in North Wales Caroline takes the first female ascent of Olwen (E9, 6c), James repeats the infamous and dangerous Prisoners of the Sun line (E10, 7a). And they also have an answer to the question of compatibility of young children and dangerous trade lines.

This is what a family vacation for Caroline Ciafaldini and James Pearson looks like: You make short work of Easel-EE (E7, 6c), only to complete only the second iteration and first women’s ascent of the slightly safe Commercial Route Olwen (E9, 6c). fetch. He tries to light Olwen and secures walking the infamous Prisoners of the Sun line, fearing it will run out (E10, 7a).

I think for both of us, a big part of the decision to take the risky trade routes is because parents know when to say “no.” We both find it difficult and make our decisions much more carefully than before our children were born.

Caroline Ciafaldini

Caroline Ciafaldini back and forth on the painted wall at Rhoscolyn Olwen (E9, 6c) secures the only third climb and the women’s first ascent from the infamous line. Photo: David Simonet/Once Upon a Time

James Pearson and Caroline Ciafaldini found their projects on the painted wall in the Rhoscolyn climbing area. James dealt with the captives of the Sun (E10, 7a) directly. The Trad line only has three gear positions along its entire length. Due to bad conditions at the beginning of the family vacation, the inspection had to be on the second day.

Following Caroline Olwen (E9, 6c), the toughest trade streak since being a mother, James attempts a rapid climb armed with his partner’s beta. Unfortunately, he misses the move on the last tricky move and hits a big run. Everything fell into place the second time around.

Small children and dangerous trade routes – isn’t it a contradiction?

Caroline Civaldini knows that James’ attempts to launch a dangerous E9 or climb very difficult trade routes can be irksome to some, especially since they have two young children. However, James is an experienced trade climber. “And although from the outside it may appear that his climbing style has not changed, the truth is that he is training a lot more now and has a greater margin for error than he used to.”

Some of his previous decisions were a bit reckless, but now he really calculated what he could do and had a deeper understanding of himself and his capabilities.

Caroline Ciafaldini

“for the right reasons”

As far as she’s concerned, she’s now climbing routes she may not have climbed before, says Caroline Ciafaldini. “I may not have been able to adequately assess the risks and consequences of a possible fall in the past.”


“I’m a parent, but I’m also Caroline, and making that kind of decision is about choosing to exist, not just as a parent.”

Caroline Ciafaldini

With Olwen, the second E9 of her climbing career, she made her decision to climb the route very carefully. “I wanted to do it for the right reasons. Not for the attention, not for the sponsors, just for me. Olwen has a relatively tough section where you can’t fall and I wanted to learn how to get the right stance in a situation like that.”

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Credits: Cover Photo by David Simonet / Once Upon a Climb