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Belay Coupons, Cliffside Charcuterie: What Climber Moms Want

As Mothers' Day approaches—May 8, don't forget—we asked.

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May 8 is Mother’s Day, a time for honoring and giving, and we asked some climber-moms to tell us what they would like. A piece of gear, a warm jacket or other technical wear? A meal out, a climbing day (for themselves with friends or for the family, whether that is a family of two or many), a hike, a book, a shared film? Flowers or wildflowers? Or maybe just, if you venture to express it, time alone?!

What did they want? Mostly, to climb, duh. But the answers, of course, varied greatly. The big connector was a wish for time. Or maybe a break.

If we may make some requests, we ask all to recognize single mothers, and for your consideration—and perhaps a call or note—to the bereaved, who are ever mothers or who remember theirs.

Let’s hear it too, with great appreciation, for all the aunts, cousins, friends, and other loving villagers who are mother figures. You are so important.

Enjoy the day. And springtime, too. Spring is here!

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Leanne Sakamoto (Los Angeles, California), pictured above with Mari: The best Mother’s Day gift would be to spend the day multi-pitch trad climbing with my daughter. She’s my adventure buddy. We both started climbing four years ago and got hooked. Never too old to learn something new!

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Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou (Boulder, Colorado): My favorite Mothers’ Day gift is a day of outdoor climbing with my kids.

Erbesfield-Raboutou is the program director of ABC Kids Climbing. Here, she tackles Andromeda (7C+/5.13a) in Kalymnos, Greece. (Photo: Chris Winter)

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Mary Moon Burnham (Reno, Nevada): I’m hoping to get what I got last year from my daughter—a coupon for belays!

climber mother and daughter
Mary Moon Burnham and Julia Burnham, age 15.

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Jessica Whinery (Austin, Texas): What I want most for Mother’s Day would be a whole day of climbing outdoors with (adult) friends and then going home to cuddle my daughter for bedtime!

Jessica Whinery and daughter Jasper, age 6.

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Mina Leslie-Wujastyk (Sheffield, United Kingdom): Mothers’ Day is an odd one for me. If I’m honest, I don’t really want anything, I’m just really happy to be a mama. Maybe a card from the little one (obviously made by my husband at this point!)? The reason I say this is because Mother’s Day has always been a tough time, as my own mother died when I was a teenager. So until this year it’s been a day that I need to “get through” and try to avoid all the Mothers’ Day messaging. This year, it felt lovely to think of it differently.

Mina Leslie-Wujastyk with her 1-year-old boy. (Photo: Hazel Findlay)

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Nikola Kisko Chappell (Las Vegas, Nevada): As a mom, I’d simply love a day spent with my daughter and partner outside—time is so precious and the best gift of all!

climber mother child
Nikola Kisko and daughter Brynn, age 3.

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Bety Lebewitz (she/her) (Texas/Maryland/Colorado), mother of 7-month-old: Reproductive justice, including culturally sensitive and trauma-informed maternal care for Black and Brown people; also, a pregnancy harness with actual gear loops for chalk bags and hardware would be nice.

climber mother baby
Bety Lebewitz and baby.

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Dr. Carrie Cooper, DPT (Salt Lake City, Utay): My kiddos have their own passions and physical endeavors. For Mother’s Day I’d love for them to, willingly, go bouldering with me!! … Oh, and a fresh pair of La Sportiva Theories!

Carrie Cooper and a fave bouldering buddy.

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Christine Haight (Hermosa Beach, California): I have two kids that I love sharing the outdoors with anytime! What I’d like most is a weekend camping and climbing with my family, ending with star gazing and a nice adult beverage while snuggling with a child on my lap (regardless of size/weight)!

Christine Haight and daughter Arianna (she also has a son, Dylan).

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Kimberly Samuels (Wappinger Falls, New York): Mothers’ Day climbing with my girl and some cliffside charcuterie would be the perfect day!

Kimberly Samuels and Piper James, 6.

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Elizabeth Darovic (Monterey, California): I’d love a day to climb with friends or with my son again (he stopped a couple of years ago) and a simple thanks or recognition of the years of hard work of being a truly single parent (no family, husband died in 2011).

Elizabeth Darovic.

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Debra Beattie (Brewster, New York): To take my son climbing again (but on an easier climb so he has fun this time).

Debra Beattie, Brendan.

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Dierdre Wolownick (Sacramento, California): Mother’s Day is always special, but this year, mine promises to be extraordinary! This Mother’s Day weekend, a filmmaker in Philadelphia will meet me in Yosemite to begin filming a documentary about my adventures and how they might inspire other seniors to get outdoors and live a healthier, more adventurous life. The icing on the cake—I’ll get to see and hold and sing to my brand-new, first granddaughter, while her parents go adventuring in Yosemite.