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Preschooler knows the (climbing) ropes
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — When Adlore "Addy" Lou Hamling was still in her mother's belly, she made 15 treks up mountains and rock faces. Now that she's 4, she has climbed more times than she can remember — at least 12 times this year alone.
"When I learned how, it's the best thing in the universe — at least to me," she said.
When Addy climbs, she uses harnesses, ropes, a helmet and the smallest rock climbing shoes available — which are still a few sizes too big for her feet. She's climbed the Black Hills in South Dakota, Red Rocks Canyon in Nevada, Joshua Tree in California, and the local Organ and Franklin Mountains. One of the more fun climbs has been up Levatron - 300 feet - in South Dakota's Black Hills, she said.
"The hardest was Patience," she said about an 80-foot rock face.
Some of these hikes can be a bit scary, "but I'm brave," Addy said. The reward for climbing such arduous heights — and the most fun — is rappelling down or being lowered from the top by her parents.
Her mother, Becky, started climbing after she moved to Las Cruces, N.M., 11 years ago.
"There was nothing here to do, so we started climbing," she said. "I like spending time with my husband and Addy."
Every summer, the Hamling family packs the "Daddy Van" for a two-month climbing vacation.
Addy went on her first road trip at 6 weeks.
Addy started learning how to wait patiently at the bottom of a rock while her parents climbed — and it wasn't long before she started climbing after them. She was 2 when she started climbing at Chloride Canyon, west of Truth or Consequences.
For Thanksgiving break, the family camped at Cochise Stronghold National Monument in Arizona and baked their turkey underground. They plan to take spring break at Red Rocks Canyon.