East Rampart with the Girls, 8.3.2012

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The intergalactic Adler-Gearin father-daughter climbing force!
The intergalactic Adler-Gearin father-daughter climbing force!

Just before our Boundary Waters trip last week (which was heavenly), I had the honor of taking the Adler & Gearin girls rock climbing at Devils Lake. Dan is a good buddy of mine from Long Beach, and he just happens to bring his family up to WI/MN every summer for a wonderful week at the fantastic Camp du Nord, a YMCA camp in northern Minnesota. The Adler and Gearin clans have become close friends at camp, and since these five girls were all available for a few days before camp began, it only made sense to get everyone out climbing. So we did.

Lindsay shows how to simultaneously wear a helmet AND completely expose your forehead.
Lindsay shows how to simultaneously wear a helmet AND completely expose your forehead.

We hit the East Rampart, sticking close to the top of the CCC trail since nobody was around and Boy Scout (5.3) is always a long, lovely way to begin a climbing day. The Spine (5.4) and The Grotto (5.4) fleshed out our starting line-up, then we scrambled down to make a basecamp and start climbing. Dan and John turned out to be old hands at belaying, so we quickly manifested a strong belay team and got down to it.

Zoe stemming it up on The Grotto (5.4)
Zoe stemming it up on The Grotto (5.4)

This very athletic bunch jumped on everything I threw at them, even completely unreasonable route variations they had no business climbing as beginners. Great work, ladies! Tasha climbed beyond everyone's expectations, and Zoe recovered from a cold, windy, miserable first climbing experience in Joshua Tree (sad!). As the eldest climber, Mackenzie easily became the best belayer in the group, when she wasn't otherwise busy sending routes. Seeing she needed a stiffer challenge, I set up Briton's Buttress in the afternoon, which Mackenzien scaled with much trepidation, but few actual problem. Mackenzie's performance inspired Lindsay to give it a go... and, of course, a little sister can't let her big sister show her up.

Tasha squeezes through a narrow chimney below The Spine (5.4)
Tasha squeezes through a narrow chimney below The Spine (5.4)

I love climbing with happy families. More please.