‘Baby Steps’: Caroline Ciavaldini Provides a Roadmap for Climbing Through Motherhood

The La Sportiva athlete is no stranger to blazing trails. Can she find a dual identity as a parent and a climber?

As a climber, Caroline Ciavaldini has pushed limits in multiple styles from lead competitions to heady trad ascents, and fiercely chipped away at archaic ideas of what women in the sport are capable of.

Now, as a mother of two rambunctious tots, Ciavaldini’s on a mission to dismantle the notion that motherhood comes at the price of one’s identity as a climber.

“Society says you’re supposed to forget yourself and just be a mum. Yes, I’m a mum, but I’m also a climber. I wouldn’t be Caroline without either one of them,” she says in The North Face’s new film she stars in.

She intends the short documentary, “Baby Steps,” as a roadmap for other adventurous parents out there.

Refreshingly, Ciavaldini and her husband, James Pearson, don’t sugarcoat the pitfalls. And that’s perhaps what makes the film so poignant and tractable. For the well-traveled couple, their connection to climbing is not only feasible in parenthood — it’s remarkably important, and comes second only to the integrity of their family.

Runtime: 18 minutes

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Jilli Cluff
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Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.

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