Trip Planning & Weather


Mt. Washington in the Rain

Sunday is the start of our week long family vacation.  We’ll be going to New Hampshire to climb at Pawtuckaway (bouldering) and then on to Rumney for some sport climbing and bouldering (at the Black Jack boulders) when needed.  We’re hoping to get in a bit of roped climbing but since it’s just the two of us plus the kids, we expect that we’ll be limited.  I’m even excited to get our 4 year old up a pitch of superslab that I recall seeing on a previous trip.  We’ll see how that works out (best laid plans and all that).

I’ve checked the weather on Climbingweather.com and it looks like we could be hitting some rain early in the week – let’s hope it’s sporadic and manageable, otherwise our tent camping trip could turn into a whole lot of hanging out at the movies.  Good thing that Cars 2 is out this weekend.  Which leads me to the post of this blog post.  Given the potential for unfortunate weather, I’m identifying some back up plans.

Ideally we’d spend all of our time climbing and hitting the water at the local lakes/rivers/waterfalls etc., then camping each night (and cooking out with our camp stove).  But just in case things go wrong, our back up plan is to Priceline a hotel (when absolutely necessary) and abbreviate the outdoor time as needed.

Back up activity #1: Mt. Washington Cog Railway  – We’ll go here if we have a number of wet days strung together.  The trip is pricey ($60 per person) so we’re saving it as a backup.

Back up activity #2: We’re probably going to take a hike either way, but bad climbing weather is still reasonable hiking weather, so we might shift our outdoor time to hiking Arethusa Falls and/or other local (short) hikes.   Oh, and when looking for information about kid friendly hikes, the website (linked above and at http://family.go.com) was extremely helpful. I also found some cool “hot day” things to do including “Whale’s Tale Waterpark” and a helpful trip planner.  Click here for the planner.

Back up activity #3: Movies (as already mentioned).  Cars 2 is playing.  Enough said :)

Any other ideas for a contingency plan, should weather be an issue?

Altitude Sickness and Kids

At this time of the year, families across the country (and world) are taking vacations. They head to the beach, the mountains, to the lakes & the deserts.  In the United States in particular, many east coasters head west to see our National Parks, our majestic mountain ranges, and our still-wild frontier.  The effects of moderate to high altitude on children should be considered when planning your family trip to the mountain ranges of the west.

At the summit of Mt. Sneffles (Telluride ski trails in the background)

I recall quite distinctly my first trip to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  We flew into Denver (from PA) and drove immediately up to meet a friend at Estes Park, camping on BLM land in RMNP.  Sleep was tough to come by that first night. As I later realized, the 8,000 foot change in altitude (from sea level to RMNP) in less than 24 hours was not an example of good planning.  We should have spent the first night in Denver (around 5,000 feet) and then taken the trip north.  We didn’t.

One symptom of altitude sickness is difficulty sleeping, others are headache and nausea.  Water helped to minimize my headache and I woke up in the morning ready to get started despite a restless night of sleep (another symptom).  We hiked into the Monastery, a one hour hike down to some great sport climbing.  We carried water, climbing gear, rope, & food.  The hike in was time consuming and a bit strenuous with our gear. Activity/exertion can bring on altitude sickness symptoms and as the day of climbing wore on I found myself with a headache, some nausea and a bit of breathlessness as my body tried to adjust to the change in oxygen and altitude.  By the time we hiked out, our friend (a Denver resident) was carrying my pack and I was stopping every few feet to throw up on the side of the trail.  It was not the best start to our two week vacation.

Looking back, I know all of the things we did wrong or could have done differently and I’m glad that we had this experience so that we would remember what not to do for our next trip.  I’ve found that I’m susceptible to altitude sickness (apparently if you get it once you are likely to get it again under similar circumstances). Example: When we hiked a 14er later in the trip, (Mt. Sneffles) near Telluride/Ouray, I found myself acting confused/irrational (I ran down the mountain at a pretty fast and unsafe pace).

So what are the symptoms of altitude sickness and how can you prevent it?  What altitudes are safe for children and at what ages?  Here are some of the things I’ve found with the relevant sources linked for more information.

Symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Restless Sleep
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Tired/Fatigue
  • Not hungry/little to no appetite

Factors that increase likelihood and onset of altitude sickness:

  • Dehydration
  • Faster you climb/ascend altitudes, more likely you’ll have symptoms
  • Live at sea level
  • Have had it before

Things to decrease likelihood/onset of altitude sickness:

  • Stay hydrated/drink lots of fluids
  • Sleep at lower altitudes
  • Ascend slowly (2,000 feet per day)
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Eat regularly, particularly meals high in carbs

Link for above: NIH/NCBI

Young children are unable to communicate their symptoms and many of the symptoms (lack of sleep or appetite for instance) are typical issues for young children without altitude sickness.  Because of the difficulty in understanding a young child’s symptoms, many sources recommend that children under the age of 1 should not be taken to high altitude locations (locations above 8000 feet).  Children under 3 should ascend extremely slowly and should be monitored closely for signs of altitude sickness.   There are many types/degrees of severity with regard to altitude sickness.  Become familiar with what to look for and begin descent immediately if the symptoms are severe (carrying the child so as to minimize their exertion).

  • Children can be taken to 8000 feet but should ascend past that height gradually.
  • Children who can not communicate their symptoms should be monitored closely and/or not be taken to altitudes above 3000 meters.
  • Children under 1 should not be taken to high altitudes (above 3000 meters).

General information from Wilderness Medical Society.

Studies of people at moderate altitudes (1890 – 2910 meters) indicate that altitude sickness can occur at those moderate heights so it is important to note that just driving your car to the top of Pikes Peak or any number of mountain locations can cause some level of altitude sickness in you and/or your child.  Know the symptoms and consider that children can’t (or won’t) communicate that they aren’t feeling well.  Keep them hydrated and fed, and be sure to descend (when possible) to avoid more serious symptoms.  While this post discusses primarily the symptoms of mild altitude sickness, there are many degrees of severity and variations of altitude sickness.  Click here to read more about the different types of symptoms and severity of sickness.  Here’s a research article about Acute Mountain Sickness and Pre-verbal children (for your reading enjoyment).

Thinking Cool Thoughts


As I sit here sweating from my run, I thought I’d share a fun winter picture to cool everyone off.  I’ve been so looking forward to getting outside to go climbing that I forgot how the Northeast humidity comes in and wets that excitement down!  So here’s something to lower your temperature a bit.  Plus there’s the cute factor. She had just turned two in this photo. And no, she isn’t climbing, but we skiwithkids, too.  Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Roadside Closure at Red River Gorge

Reading the many comments on this week’s closure of the Roadside Crag at the Red River Gorge (see post by Planet Granite and article by Climbing Narc) I’m compelled to write about our fall climbing trip to the Red River Gorge and my own view on these access issues.

We visited the Red over Thanksgiving with our two kids.  Our first day we climbed Military Wall. When we first arrived, no one was around, however, the traffic on the easier routes quickly picked up.  A group of people set up three ropes and camped out there for a few hours as everyone in their group (8 people or more), ran up and down the routes.  It made for a bit of a frustrating day, as we would have liked to climb on that wall a bit more but we moved to a less populated area with some harder climbing so as to keep the kids from bothering others.

The second day, we climbed a bit at the Roadside crag. We found the drop off a bit scary for our young kids so we only stayed for a few climbs.  While at Roadside, we hung the hammock between two boulders in the shade so that C could take a nap.  Traffic to the area was relatively low because the weather was quite cold.  As far as I know, we (there were four of us plus two kids) weren’t bothering anyone while at Roadside.  No trash was left.  The hammock was out of the way. We carried out biological waste etc.  Still, we only ran into a few other people. . . more climbing traffic would certainly have made things different (and difficult).

Again, we would have left so that we weren’t disrupting others with our hammock or the kids.  I think that this desire to avoid the bottleneck areas, the areas that are high in traffic and socializing is a viable solution to the overcrowding encountered at some crags.  When too many people are in an area at once, the area becomes the equivalent of a climbing gym.

Contrary to the loud music and the large crowds seen at some areas (in this case, at Roadside) the crags are not our local gym.  They are wilderness and nature.  Climbing is not a right in those areas, it is a privilege.

Here’s a link to the Roadside Crag owners’ original post with a list of the reasons for issuing this closing.  I’ll summarize below:

The landowners are climbers.  They are trying to protect the crag and the land.  They are not predisposed (like many non-climbing landowners) to disliking climbers.  The basic reasons for the closer are (according to their post) as follows: 1. Someone has hung homemade permadraws.  And not even good ones.  The fix – as requested by the owners – take them down.  2.  Someone else has bolted a new line.  And apparently a chossy one at that. The fix – take it down.  Those are the easy items.  No more permadraws, no more new lines.

The third point that was raised upon the closure of Roadside had to do with climbing traffic and a lack of respect for the land.  Here is a quick summary of that issue (as I see it).   Three things combine to make areas attractive to the masses.  1. Large climbing areas with lots of bolted routes.  2. Easy accessibility (no approach) 3. High volume of classic but easy routes.

Instead of waiting until landowners restrict and/or cap the number of climbers in an area, can’t we expect climbers to self-regulate and move on when they arrive at a crowded crag?  That’s what we do.  We have our own reaons: We don’t want to disturb people with the kids and we don’t want our kids to hear the cursing and random conversations that may not be kid friendly.  We don’t ask others to edit, we just move on.

I completely understand that dogs, hammocks, erosion etc., can be problematic at crags.  But they are particularly a problem at crowded crags.  So my solution is to avoid the crowds.  Still shoot for “leave no trace” but hike a bit further or climb a route that isn’t quite as popular.  Save the popular areas for a random weekday or a different (less popular) season.

That’s my solution for the third problem at Roadside (and other popular crags).  I think that’s what the owners are trying to get us to do.  Too bad they had to restrict access to accomplish that.

Now I’m off to research best practices for “Leave no Trace” hiking/climbing as I’m pretty sure that I need a brush up.  I really want to hang my hammock. . .

No risk, no reward. What are “appropriate” risks for your children?

What is “appropriate” risk? I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately as I read other blog posts about risk taking for the adventurous adult (example, Amy Christensen’s Expand Outdoors).  Adults in general, and parents specifically, are constantly evaluating risk as it relates to themselves and their children.  Getting in a car, going to an amusement park, and even buying groceries (organic), require parents to determine risk and reward before making a choice.

When we start to plan a family vacation that includes climbing, we run through an analysis of risk factors before a decision can be made.  For our children (ages 2 and 4), we consider the following four factors “deal breakers.” If a climbing area has any one of these characteristics, we choose not to bring the kids.

1. Exposure – Does the climbing area (or the approach) have a risk of falling for a mobile child?  What is the risk and the fall? Is it everywhere or only in one (avoidable/controllable) location?

2. Rock fall – Is this area known for rock falling from above?

3. Water – is there an abundance of accessible water in which a young child might drown? Is it right near the crag? Is a river crossing required upon approach?

4. Hunting – is it hunting season and is it a location where hunting takes place?

There are other risk factors that seem either less catastrophic or that we believe can be minimized with proper preparation or knowledge.  These risk factors include:

1. Bugs & Reptiles – In Pennsylvania, ticks seem to be the most serious threat in our home climbing crags such as Governor Stable, Haycock, Mount Gretna etc.  Today’s day trip ended with baths and showers as we did a search for the hard to find burrowers and found one starting to dig in on our four year old’s back.  The greatest risk is that deer ticks carry Lyme’s Disease which if left untreated can cause serious neurological damage.  To minimize the risk, we use bug repellent (Picaridin) and the kids wear clothing that covers them as much as possible (pants, socks etc).  Near PA (nearby WV’s Cooper’s Rock and New River Gorge, for instance) poisonous snakes abound.  Similarly, any of the desert states have the same concerns.  Staying on alert and allowing children only in areas that have already been disturbed is our way of minimizing their risk.

2.  Poison Ivy/Burn Hazel/Poison Oak – Certain areas have an abundance of poisonous plants such as poison ivy.  Today’s trip at Governor Stable was a comedy of “don’t touch” and “leaves of three, leave it be” sayings as we tried to keep the kids from playing in patches of poison ivy (which were everywhere).  Pants and knowledge are our only weapons – that and a bath as soon as we get home!  So far, it’s worth the risk, but I imagine that depends on the severity of your child’s allergic reaction to the itchy plant.

3. Tenuous footing – Many climbing areas have unstable rocks, dirt, felled trees etc. to scramble over in order to trek to the climbing.  The risk of a fall is high, but there is little danger of serious physical harm.

4.  Traffic – Whether it’s climbing near the road at Smuggler’s Notch (VT) or hanging out near a high traffic four wheeler trail, keeping the kids away from motorized vehicles is a serious priority.  Evaluating our ability to protect from this danger is a component to accepting an area as “kid friendly”.

For younger children (not walking), some of these might not be important.  Similarly, as the kids get older we expect things will change and adjustments will be needed. With a thirteen year old summitting Everest, 10 year olds sending 5.13s, and families biking from pole to pole with their children, parents seem to be considering both risk and reward as they raise their children to be adventurous citizens of the world.  Some risks can be reduced and others can be considered as worthwhile.  What risks do you deem acceptable for your children?  What are your lines in the sand?

Climbing competition brings appreciation of women climbers & serves me some humble pie.

Lauren in her boot

Things I learned from Saturday’s Top Rope/Lead Competition at PRG.

1.  Tammy Opalka from Practical Climbing is a rock star.  She ended up placing second in the Advanced Women’s division.  Tammy and I formally met for the first time on Saturday.  I reviewed her fun chalk bags a few posts back but we hadn’t actually met before.  Tammy and some of the women she climbs with seem to have taken a page right out of ChicksClimbing as they are outdoor female climbers who seem to climb primarily with other women.  They hang out with one another across ability levels, and cheer as loudly for the woman climbing an 80 point comp climb as for the woman sending a 700 point comp climb.

2.  Lauren (from PRG) can climb really well for a woman with one leg in a boot.  She had a fluke belaying incident late last year and ended up with a shattered heel (I think) which required surgery.  She is now is in a boot which she proceeded to climb in.  She didn’t actually use her bad foot – she just jumped her good foot up the rock in a half campus/half hopping style.  It seemed to work for climbs up to 300 points.

3.  I am a red point 5.11 climber.  I’m not a 5.11 climber. BIG difference. This was the biggest lesson of the day for me.  I previously didn’t realize quite how big of a difference there is between the two.  Indoors or outdoors, when I fall from a route, (or just sit back on the rope for a rest) I always start from my last place on the climb.  I do not lower and start over.  So the reality is that I don’t often send 5.11 routes without a fall or without sitting on the rope/at a bolt for a rest.  Ratings shouldn’t matter, but I still had an idea in my head of what a hard climb is for me.  For a clean send and no sitting on the rope I’m a 5.10 climber at best.  And I SO need to pay more attention to my style of climb vs. the ratings. 

Me climbing the white route (I fell on the next move).4.  I need to rope up more (or I need to stay out of rope climbing competitions.  Read #3 then add that I’m a one route wonder.  I sent one 5.11 ish climb (485 points) and then was within one move of completing three other 450-600 point climbs.  By the top of each of my routes I was barely holding on.  Lesson: I can cleanly climb at a certain level – once.  I need to get on a rope and run some laps because I have absolutely no stamina.  And by “no stamina”, I mean I’m a hot mess.

5.  There are some awesome female climbers in the gym – and they are ALL nice, fun, and supportive.  No kidding.  As my self awareness changed with regard to my own climbing, I found that I enjoyed climbing with the other women more.   I could see that their self awareness seemed more accurate. . . many of them knew exactly their flash ability levels (whatever they may have been) and were happy with them.

6.  The teenagers climbing the open competition were strong.  And nice.  Which might be surprising for teenage girls, particularly with regard to speaking to a woman technically old enough to be their mother (seriously warped that I’m that old, by the way).  Zoe Steinberg (here’s an article from her at Five Ten) won the Junior girls section but couldn’t stay around for the evening and it was great to hear about how her day went.  Seems like the team climbing aspect of the PRG system has done a great job of keeping these kids mentally & emotionally level while encouraging their love for climbing (and their abilities).

All in all I’m glad that I did the comp.  I got to hang out with some female climbers I hadn’t previously gotten to know.  I was reminded that one of the best things about climbing is the sense of community across age, gender, and ability.  I learned that my self perceived notions of my climbing abilities were inflated.  And I discovered that I have a lot of work to do if I want to keep getting better.  Or I just need to remember that it isn’t about the grade, it’s about the love of the climb.

Thanks to my cheering section, Schantal and Jorge! (Schantal & I shown here).

Rest assured, my climbing ego is now properly deflated. Go ahead, feel free to kick me while I’m down – add your comments below.

Kids Summer Shoes – A shopping adventure

The Pediped Amazon shoes on Ry’s feet
Both of my kids have climbing shoes and good sneakers for our climbing expeditions.  There aren’t a ton of options for kids climbing shoes but I figure that’s a different post.  Given that summer is fast approaching, I went to the local kids shoe store yesterday to find a pair of hiking sandals that would be rugged enough for climbing approaches/trails as well as comfy enough (and cool enough) for daily use.  Here’s the summary:

  • Kids will rarely pick the shoe (or anything else) that you want them to pick.  In this case, neither of them picked the Keen or Northface sandals, my top choices.  Why Keens? They are sturdy, comfy, and. . . ok, I just like them for myself.  I’ve held off for years, as I can’t believe people spend that much on sandals for their kids, but then I can never find them at the local consignments.  I was hoping my kids would pick the Keens which pretty much guaranteed that they wouldn’t.
  • Finding shoes that are both supportive and are great for summer time is a challenge.  You don’t want your child walking around in Crocs on the trail (and they are generally not great for riding bikes/scooters/running according to some podiatrists), nor do you want them in flimsy flip flops or sandals.  That being said, sneakers aren’t a great option in the heat, nor are they great for use in the water (or when wet).  Socks are usually a necessity with sneakers (to avoid blisters) and in the heat, socks aren’t always a “fun to have” for kids.  That limits the selection to a small number of brands/styles.
  • I came up with the following summer shoe requirements: tread, support, breathability, washability, comfort & toe coverage.  Again, the list of brands and styles gets quite small from that list.

So we ended up looking at kids “sandal” shoes in Keen, Northface, Teva, Geox & Pediped.  Ultimately, the Teva and Northface were too much sandal and not enough shoe to replace sneakers for biking etc.  They just didn’t have the toe coverage that I wanted to see from a safety standpoint (toe stubbing & banging, catching against the bike/scooter etc).  The Geox (seen here in girls at Zappos) fit the criteria, but they were over $45.00 – my own personal “this is crazy” line in the sand.  So on to the Keens (which the kids liked but didn’t love).  They worked well, but seemed to be a bit less comfortable to the kids.  I was really disappointed and totally played the “they are like Mommy’s” card, which was less than effective.

Finally, we tried on the Pedipeds (at Olly’s Shoes).  The price was higher than I wanted it to be, but given that the kids will likely wear the shoes for the whole summer, I figure it’s worth it.  Additionally, they are washable (and according to the sales person, can be worn in mud puddles for puddle jumping fun).

All in all, it was a good exercise in identifying criteria BEFORE going shopping and sticking to that list. What are your favorite summer “must have” shoes?  And while we’re on the subject, what are your favorite kid summer clothing items?  Not sure what you’ll need for your summer adventures?  Here are some tips for selecting kids hiking clothing courtesy of Adventure Tykes.

Chalk bags – Do they really need their own?

Spiderman and his Monster kid sized chalk bag

My kids love to put their hands in our chalk bags/pots.  They brush their hands off, touch a wall (or rock), their face, each other. . . then dip their hands back into the chalk bags to repeat. We’ve found that the best way to avoid contamination (good chalk + sticks/dirt = bad chalk) is to provide them with their own chalk bags.

My top two hints for combining climbing chalk & kids:

  1. Chalk balls (like this one at REI) are less messy.  They are also less fun.  I prefer to put a chalk ball in the kids’ chalk bag – it cuts down on mess and waste. . .but it is legitimately less fun for the kids (they like mess).  You decide.
  2. Carabiners do not work so well for attaching said chalk bag to the child.  It inevitably leaves them standing there with their pants around their ankles as the weight of the carabiner is too much for their skinny little bums. The waist strap is more practical (for little kids) at keeping the chalk bag (and pants) on their body while climbing.

Seems pretty basic, but give a kid a chalk bag and teach them to fish – or some such metaphor for keeping them out of your stuff :)

Should you use DEET on kids?

Disclaimer: This post does not constitute medical advise but is a summary of information gathered from the EPA, The American Associate of Pediatrics, CDC, and the National Pesticide Information Center.  This information was gathered through publically available information (referenced below) on the topic of DEET as it pertains to application both on adults and children.  

Each year, as I gather my camping, hiking, and climbing supplies, I struggle with the question of whether or not I should bring along “serious” bug repellent or if I should stick to the more “natural” stuff that may or may not do its job.  In my mind, the serious stuff has DEET in it – and my perception is that DEET is bad.  The alternative – the natural stuff – usually smells better but doesn’t always keep the nasty biters away.

So this year I decided to really do some research to find out.  What exactly do the pediatricians recommend for children and what are the truths behind the usage and effectiveness of insect repellents?  After a quick search on the standard government research sites and the AAP website, here are some of the basics:

1.  The EPA has tested the efficacy of multiple bug repellent chemicals. . .DEET, Picaridin, Permethrin, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.  Other products/ingredients work to a lesser degree. These are by far the most effective. DEET, Picaridin & Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus are the most effective/tested.  Permethrin should only be used on clothes not skin and soy bean oil works but is less effective.

2. Bug repellants containing DEET are similar to sunscreen – the higher the concentration of DEET (like the number on sunscreen), the longer it lasts. Use products with less than 30% DEET as more than that has not been proven more effective.  The CDC explains it best:

DEET is an effective active ingredient found in many repellent products and in a variety of formulations. Based on a 2002 study (Fradin and Day, 2002. See Publications page.):

• A product containing 23.8% DEET provided an average of 5 hours of protection from mosquito bites. 
• A product containing 20% DEET provided almost 4 hours of protection 
• A product with 6.65% DEET provided almost 2 hours of protection 
• Products with 4.75% DEET were both able to provide roughly 1 and a half hour of protection.

Picaridin has similar numbers but for slightly less time, though effectiveness on ticks is higher at a lower concentration.  It is also odorless and has some evidence of being less of an irritant than DEET.

3.  Bug repellent (any bug repellent) should not be used on infants 2 months or younger.  No definitive studies identify what higher levels of DEET are safe to use on children so stick to that under 30% level. Here’s the full “insect repellent” write up from the American Association of Pediatrics.  Here are some of the scientific tests results for those readers that are chemists/researchers.  The CDC says not to use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus on children under 3, but I’m not sure of the source for their recommendation. . . DEET ok, but Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, not? The AAP doesn’t say anything about a minimum age for Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus in their original piece or their follow up.  Odd.  

Instructions:

 

  • Apply sunscreen then repellent, in that order. Do not use products that combine the two because you often need to reapply sunscreen (after swimming for example) and should not be reapplying bug repellent as often (or at all according to CDC).  
  • Do not combine different types of repellents as they may have other side effects when combined.
  • To apply on children, first apply the repellent to your hands, then apply onto your child’s face & exposed skin (avoid mouth area).  
  • Apply on clothes when possible.  
  • Do not apply on children’s hands, cuts or open wounds. 
  • Shower/wash to remove each evening.   

 

Here are some links to help you choose:

US EPA  Site: Search for a repellant that is right for you

Appalachian Mountain Club debate DEET vs Picaridin

Another blog post from Fodor’s on DEET vs Picaridin



Camping food and/or Quick food for the road (climb with kids)

I was running through my repertoire of easy meal options for climbing, hiking, traveling with kid etc.,  and thought I’d share my short list in hopes of getting some feedback (and an expanded selection) for quick and easy food options.  Please read my list and add your favorites in the comments.

Caveat: Refrigeration can be a challenge (adds to the amount we carry) so I try to think of things that won’t spoil quickly.  Some of the options on my short list, however, probably require refrigeration.  We use these for short day trips and/or the climbing gym.

1.  Gogurt.  I know, I know. . . you pay for the packaging.  Brand doesn’t matter, and there are some organic options out there.  If you freeze it, gogurt is easy to travel with and is a healthy fun snack for the kids.  No knife needed to open.

2. Frozen peas.  My kids love to eat frozen (or still cold) peas.  Not sure of the appeal (I don’t usually even cook them at home, to be honest).  Peas are healthy finger food for little hands.

3. Breaded chicken legs.  This is the “should be refrigerated” food item that requires some prep, but I must say it is worth it.  We love to eat cold breaded chicken legs out at the crag.  Wipes are a must with this one (a bit of grease/oil left on your hands doesn’t help with climbing).  Again, finger food that doesn’t require additional effort while outside or away from microwaves and camp stoves. Carry this one in a baggie (baggie is perfect for the bones when you are done and any other waste you are carrying out).

Chicken for the road. Serve cold :)

4. Applesauce in single serve containers.  You can use your own reuseable containers for this one or just buy the prepackaged ones.  Spoon recommended (if you use the prepackaged applesauce, the foil top serves as a handy spoon in a pinch).

5.  Dried fruit.  Again, you can do this one on your own or just buy it packages (expect some extra sugar with your fruit).  Raisins are a hit in this house as are dried mangoes and pineapples.  Oh, and the kids like them, too.

6.  Bagels.  Filling and finger food.  Cream cheese optional (depending on your time away from a cooler)

7.  Flavored tuna fish.  In the packets. . .low mess, no mixing required.  Crackers/bagels for serving.

8. Apples.  Not cut.  Ryan and I eat the skin off (since the kids are still a bit too young to chew the skin properly) and hand the rest to the kids. . . You can use your handy pocket knife on this one if you have it (optional).  Oranges are a good second option yielding more mess. Grapes work too.

Other options. . . Tried and true: PB&J.  Messy.  Not a hit at our house.  Granola/trail mix.  OK but tend to include chocolate. . .my kids will just pick out the good stuff so I avoid the mix and the candy.  Bananas make a mess if not carried properly.

What are your favorite day hiking/climbing/bike riding/travel foods?  In particular, I’d love to hear options for bringing something with protein to the crag. No refrigeration or on-site cooking required (pre-cooking I’ll do).
Thoughts?