That time when the tiny forest outside our house was infinite. When the road to school reached beyond our eye and the summer vacation lasted a lifetime. That time when even the smallest things excited us and new challenges were met by curiosity and an open mind. The adventurer lives inside all of us, it´s just the definition of adventure that changes.
One who will most likely live up to the definition of an adventurer is Robert Caspersen. As a climbing icon and expedition leader he´s been through his share of unique experiences. We could talk about one of his many expeditions to Antarctica. About climbing adventures in Patagonia or about first ascents of climbing routes. Today, however, is about the very first adventures, and the natural playground that is the outdoors.
"I think being outside is a natural part of us. If you look at the evolution, human beings have spent very little time indoors. I believe that to be in contact with nature covers some very basic needs for us." says Caspersen
Nature has got some new competition over the past years. Internet, video games, TV. Suddenly there´s much more to do inside. At the Caspersen house however, you will not find a TV, and you’ll still find a landline, holding back on the cell phones for the kids.
"Digital entertainment is so present today in every aspect of our community, so our choice to not have a TV was our way of increasing focus on other activities in our home. Our kids love to read for example, and they also spend a lot of time outside."
Robert himself can´t remember anything special that happened to fuel his interest for the outdoors, it was just always there. He climbed trees and rocks until he was 16 when he decided he wanted to climb higher. He thinks it´s about the complexity that the outdoors has to offer.
"It´s not streamlined, there´s no planned playground equipment. The outdoors offers variation that appeals to creativity and fantasy, and it offers challenges that foster knowledge and life lessons."
He also highlights the benefit of children and adults being outdoors together. To spend time with each other is something that can´t be purchased with money and has its own value. Add the outdoors in to theequation and also adults will reap the benefits of that unexplainable feeling of joy you get from being in nature.
Kolsås is a popular climbing crag. Robert often brings his children here, but with the intention of enjoying the trip itself, and not just the climb.
"Climbing is just a bonus activity for when we´ve reached the crag. Half the fun is getting there, and that´s also our goal; to enjoy the walk from the train and up to the mountain. We make little detours on the way, climb smaller rocks. We enjoy the view and our lunch at the top, and the offer stands if someone wants to climb the wall. Sometimes that´s super fun, and other times they prefer different games and explorations. The most important thing to remember is to offer activities on their terms."
Climbing at Kolsås requires basic climbing knowledge. In addition you must know how to make a top rope fixing on the route where your children want to climb. Remember helmets; as you are in the outdoors there are loose rocks that can hit both the climber and the ones on the ground. Climbing is a risky sport, and it´s important to know your way about it before letting your children enter the wall. That being said, climbing offers a lot of fun and new challenges for both you and your miniature selves..
Per(9), Mari (11), Astri (7) have all been climbing since they could walk, and been in the wall since they could get a harness on, around 3-4 years old. Robert still puts great emphasis on the freedom of choice for the kids and letting them have fun without any pressure.
Robert always makes sure to have plenty of food and beverages available, and to dress the kids properly. If you manage to keep the energy levels up and avoid getting wet and cold, you’ll have happy outdoor kids. Remember when you were little and forced to wear that big full body overall that made moving practically impossible? Those annoying mittens that never stayed inside the jacket sleeve? Or that big rain coat that made you all sticky on the inside? Luckily a lot of development has been made in the clothing department since then.
"Even clothes for children have become lighter, softer and more breathable. As a parent you should always make sure to carry a little something extra. Bring spare socks and clothes should one of the little ones get wet or cold, is his advice."
The outdoors is open 24/7, every day, anytime and offers all kinds of weather. There´s still adventures to be found behind bushes and trees, exciting possibilities are waiting in the rock pile and new grounds are ready to be explored right in your backyard. For the small adventurers, adventures are everywhere. And for the adults there´s no adventure like following your children on their way…