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Preschooler knows the climbing ropes

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By Andi Murphy
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — 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 years old, 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,” said the 4-year-old.

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, a 300-foot climb in South Dakota’s Black Hills, she said.

“The hardest was Patience,” she said about an 80-foot rock face that proved to be the most difficult to overcome.

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.

Addy’s passion for climbing started in the womb. Her mother, Becky, started climbing after she moved to Las Cruces 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 to Arizona, California, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado and back to New Mexico.

At first, after Addy was born, it was hard to go hiking, but they took her on road trips when she was just six weeks old. Babysitters were always needed, but they have three sets of grandparents: Peggy and Tom, Janis and Joe in Oregon and NaiNai and “Daddy Les” in New Mexico who are always more than happy to take care of Addy. There are also good climbing friends in South Dakota who don’t mind letting the Hamling couple take long hikes by themselves.

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 years old when she started climbing at Chloride Canyon, west of Truth or Consequences.

The family also goes hiking and backpacking closer to home, too; just recently they went camping at White Sands National Monument.

For Thanksgiving break, they camped at Cochise Stronghold National Monument in Arizona and baked their turkey underground. They also plan to take their spring break at Red Rocks Canyon.