Mum and Daughter Climbing

Jacqui’s little Spider Monkey. Photo by Vũ Ngọc Quang

Jacqui’s little Spider Monkey. Photo by Vũ Ngọc Quang




There are all kinds of combinations of climbing partners, but there’s something special when you see the bond between family members who climb together.  Jacqui O’Hara and daughter Ivy (8) can often be seen on the wall at Push so we caught up with them and asked how they started.

“To be honest it was kind of by accident” laughs Jacqui. “I had heard of Saigon Outcast and saw on Facebook that they had a movie night.  I wanted to see the movie so I earmarked it and said to Ivy ‘let’s go’. As it happened I enjoyed the movie and she enjoyed the climbing.”

Having seen the bouldering wall Ivy was off, and Jacqui was happy to watch her enjoy it but the bouldering gave Ivy such a taste for it that pretty soon daughter upped the stakes on mum. “After the bouldering she said please can we come back and try the big wall?”

If you’re new to Push the 15m top roping wall can seem a bit daunting at the best of times.  But if you also have a fear of heights then it turns into a true test of motherly love.

“I was nervous as some time ago I had dislocated a shoulder and I have a fear of heights so I said ‘maybe’.”

The following week they were back and in the face of Ivy’s enthusiasm Jacqui gave it a go.

“I got up, ooh, about a metre and a half and thought ‘that’s enough’, but then over the next few months I found myself climbing higher and higher.  It was slow progress, maybe only a half metre more at a time. Of course all the while my little Spider Monkey was really nailing it so in our own different ways we both found it really challenging and doing something together is always a delight.”


Jacqui showing, ooh, not a lot of fear of heights here

Jacqui showing, ooh, not a lot of fear of heights here

When we caught up with them Jacqui’s fear of heights was less than obvious as she scaled the wall, but the initial enthusiasm was still as fresh as ever for both of them.

“It’s a bit of fun and what I like is that you can do as little or as much as you like on any given night so it’s a great workout. You do a few climbs and before you know it it’s time for a beer for me and a hamburger for her then home, bathtime, and bed by eight.  So that’s pretty much the perfect night out with an eight year old.”

Steve Shipside