Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Interview with a Mentor: Christine Millbern

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on my last interview with Aimee Roseborrough – I think its definitely safe to say that this segment of my blog is definitely worth continuing!  Today’s interview is with someone who in some ways I consider to be the “Original Cragmama.”  Christine Millbern was the first woman I ever saw climbing while pregnant, and her family was the first I ever saw take a baby to the crag.  I always loved running into them out at the crag, and we had the pleasure of taking several trips with their family – it was obvious that their whole family was always having so much fun.  When I found out I was pregnant I remember Christine’s husband Scott telling me that continuing a lifestyle of adventure after kids was easy – but everything took a lot longer and required a lot more gear.  Since Cragbaby’s arrival we have definitely found this statement to be true!  Their family unfortunately (for us anyway) moved to Germany almost a year and a half ago.  In fact our last time hanging out with them was at a brunch just a couple of hours before I went into labor!  And my Cragbaby has Christine’s Cragboy (he’s hardly a baby anymore!) to thank for the majority of his outdoor wear from his first year!  Here’s what Christine had to say…

Christine crankin' on Up Yonder (5.11b) at the Red River Gorge in Kentucky


Christine and an almost 1 year old Finn

Name: Christine Millbern
Age: 35
Cragkids/Ages: Finn, almost 3
Currently from: Cologne, Germany
Climbing for: 10 years

Favorite Climbing Area: North Carolina, because you have so much variety… but I do love the Alps, as that is what I grew up with…and
more and more I like the Pfalz with its sandstone towers

Proudest Climbing Achievement: Not quite sure, probably that I finally started leading again after my pregnancy.

How old was Finn when he first went to the crag?  1 week old – we had bright sunshine and you could see the Alps from the bedroom, so I had to get outside…

Does Finn climb?  Yes, everything!  I think he climbed the kitchen table when he was 8 months.  He even climbs the slide on the overhanging side now…But he asked for climbing shoes not too long ago, and last weekend he said that he wants a rope for his birthday, so he can climb by himself!

Finn sending his own projects at Pfalz, Germany

Has your attitude with regards to the risks in climbing changed at all since having a child?  I think I am even more careful. My biggest problem is still pushing myself and comitting, as I didn’t do it while climbing during the pregnancy, but it is slowly coming back.

What is the most challenging aspect of family climbing trips?  Most of the time we get to climb less than we would like to, but we are getting there.  It is so much fun to see everybody much happier outside – we have a good time and everybody is happy and satisfied by the end of the day!

What is the most rewarding aspect of family climbing trips?  Seeing how much fun Finn has playing outside on the rocks and getting dirty, and seeing the smile on his Daddy’s face when he finally gets to climb again.  I think it is so nice to show your child at a young age what you like the most… being outside, camping and climbing.  And luckily he likes it so far!

If you could offer one piece of advice to other mama’s out there what would it be?  Always pack enough food and make sure your child is dry. Enjoy everything you did before – it is much easier to have fun with kids outdoors than you think it would be. Be patient, but you can do almost everything with a child.

Anything else you would like to add?  Never forget that your child is much happier when you are happy, so don’t give up your life for a child.

Finn, Christine, and Scott - another awesome Crag-family!

Christine takes the idea of introducing baby to adventure at an early age to a whole new level – 1 week old!!!  Kinda makes me wonder why we waited til 6 weeks…oh yeah, because I was still recovering from the hardest thing my body has ever done, both mentally and physically!  Props to Christine for such a bold committment to staying active and for agreeing to let me interview her – she’s an amazing woman for sure!  If you were inspired by her story, let her know in the comments section!


8 Responses to “Interview with a Mentor: Christine Millbern”

  1. Christie

    Love It! She and her family are truly inspirational and for myself too she is the original cragmama/cragfamily. I remember Finn from the early years; they did a great job of climbing hard and being mindful parents. So happy to see Finn growing and the family doing great 🙂 Miss you guys dearly.


  2. An inspirational post about such a beautiful family and Mom!


  3. Interview with a Mentor: #Christine_Millbern via @cragmama


  4. Today @cragmama introduces us to another #kickass #climb mom, Christine! #inspiration


  5. All of this sounds so familiar! I have a kiddo that will be 16 this friday…it’s been a journey and not always easy. I feel fortunate that I have been able to maintain a level of fitness and have climbing be a part of my life the last 16 years. Kudos to alll moms getting it done!


  6. Awesome interview. Women like this make me so proud to be a Mom!


    • Lisa – Congrats on the kiddo turning 16…Cragbaby will be 16 months next week…16 years seems so far away, but I’m sure it will be here faster than I want it to be!

      Lindsey – Agreed – I’m always inspired by moms that keep their spirit of adventure alive!

      Thanks for the comments guys!

  7. scoTt

    5 years later and Finn still loves climbing.
    He is now leading and gets supper excited for a nice onsite lead!
    The family still climbs together often. Recently in Arco, Italy with older brother Zachary showing us how it is done in the Red!


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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN