Rock & Ice Ascent – Words to Live by

In the 2012 issue of the recently revived “Ascent” newly under the Rock & Ice publication umbrella, one particular article provided the perfect combination of literary strength and personal relevance.  It was beautiful, poignant, and real all at the same time.  The following excerpt from an article (“The Ones Who Go High”) by John Long made me think of the many ascent photos I have with my husband both before and after kids (much more in the former than the latter category).

Plain as day. We were five days clawing up El Capitan.  I put the camera on timer and set it on a rock for a summit photo, an age-old tradition in climbing.  We both were lighter, emptied out by the adventure.  Moby Dick, the great white pig (haulbag), weighed more than Jill did. I fell 30 feet on the final headwall.  Whether we smiled from joy or relief is an excellent question, but an action shot could never show us like this.  Later that year we got married.  Then came jobs, titles, fights, barbecues, miscarriages, beer, mortgages, ski trips, twin girls, wine, flings, separations, bankruptcy, reconciliation, windfalls, awards and commendations, graduations, funerals, bourbon and those desolate times stuck in traffic, wondering what if and how come, moments when we struggled to recognize our own lives.  But in two or 20 years, or whenever we dig out this old summit photo, we know one thing immediately and for sure: That’s us, plain as day.

Thank you, Ascent, (and Rock and Ice), for reminding me that our experience, as a climbing couple living in the real world with jobs, and kids, houses and more is not a solitary existence.  This is not an experience for the masses, but there are others like us.  When we travel to Red Rock Canyon this week – without the kids (for the first childless vacation in 6 years),  I’ll be sure to get a photo of the two of us. . . showing that we can do some really great things together, both on and off the ground.

New River Gorge with Kids

New River Gorge Climbing Trip We finally made our way back to the New River Gorge in West Virginia for a weekend of climbing.  It has been years (pre kids) since we had been to this area as it seemed to be a bit less kid friendly than other areas that we had been to.  Our app was showing predictions of snow on Friday night - and it wasn't far off.  The drive took us eons, especially in the Appalachians with the travel trailer.  We … [Read More...]

Hiking in a Creek

Have you ever started out on a day hike with children only to have it turn into something completely different that what you planned?  Ha. Of course you have. Many of our adventures start out as one thing ("I want to climb X route" or "sleep at X campground". . . "I want to relax in a tube on the water", or "I want to sleep in the sand") and end up as something completely different ("The route had a group staked out on it for the day" or "I couldn't … [Read More...]

Climbing Gym Etiquette With Kids

Tips for taking kids to the climbing gym. There are few things more troublesome than going to a new place and not knowing the spoken and unspoken rules.  Add to the uncertainty the presence of children, and it can be quite intimidating to enter into unknown territory.   For those new to indoor climbing and/or new to indoor climbing with kids, here are a few tips for bringing your kids to the gym. Those that know me will laugh at the irony. . . My … [Read More...]

Stand Up Paddleboarding

The best rock climbing areas tend to be located in or near wilderness, national parks, mountains, and forests.  There are exceptions, of course!  Still, when we took a family trip to the jersey shore this summer, there was no rock to be found.  As usual, my husband and I sought out something both "active" and "family friendly" to try with the kids. Surfing, Kite Surfing, Kayaking Ryan has wanted to try surfing for years, but that's a solo endeavor, as … [Read More...]

The Mount Rushmore Dilemma

Visiting Mount Rushmore with Kids Our summer trip to Wyoming and South Dakota was amazing.  We combined climbing with family time, history, geography, science and more.  When we planned the trip, climbing was the main focus, but hitting some of the National Parks and National Monuments were also a must.  Mount Rushmore is one of those locations that combines both.  There are amazing climbing opportunities in the shadow of the National Monument.  There are … [Read More...]

About Laura Boniello Miller

Laura Miller is a internet marketing professional and a mother of two. Her interests include sport climbing, bouldering, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She believes that playing outdoors is integral to health and well being, and that if your kids aren't dirty, they haven't had enough fun.


  1. It was beautiful, poignant, and real all at the same time