Weekend Warm-Up: New Life

Climber and North Face athlete Caroline Ciavaldini is used to taking risks. Calculating her next moves, testing her skills on each climb was a way of life that she couldn’t imagine herself without. But a sudden pregnancy forced her to reevaluate.

To Caroline and her partner, fellow climber James Pearson, parenthood was the riskiest thing they had ever done. In particular, it is one of the biggest struggles for female athletes: when and if to have children.

Caroline Ciavaldini. Photo: The North Face


This determined mother-to-be continued climbing with a baby boy bouncing around in her belly up to seven months. To her, climbing was already a risk, and climbing while pregnant was no different. While most people she knew called it irresponsible and selfish, she decided to trust her instincts.

A screenshot from the film of Caroline Ciavaldini pregnant and climbing. Photo: The North Face


After their son Arthur was born, Caroline and James decided to get back into the game. Arthur began sharing his parents’ expedition lifestyle at just a few months old. He accompanied them to the rock walls and small mountains close to their home. In between naps and feeding, Caroline managed to find her place in the world again, as both a mother and climber. She underwent some postpartum retraining to rebuild her foundations on small walls and boulders after a five-month sabbatical.

Although she and her partner were unable to travel often, she found happiness in exploring new territories and routes close by, while spending lots of time with her son. According to her, a happy parent equals a happy child. That was the ultimate goal.

As Arthur began to explore the world around him (even doing a bit of climbing himself), Caroline and James decided that their lifestyle was a good way of teaching him the importance of taking risks, discipline, freedom of choice, and patience — their own “hands-on” approach to life.