Greatest Outdoor Dynasties: The Raboutous

Can you say “good genetics”? These six clans own their fields generation after generation.

    Photo: Courtesy of ABC Climbing

What happens when a four-time World Cup champion and a member of the French national climbing team have kids? They get hooked on the sport straight out of the crib. That was the case for Shawn and Brooke Raboutou, the children of climbing royalty Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou and husband Didier.  “Both Shawn and Brooke began climbing as toddlers,” Robyn says. “We just took them along, set up top ropes, and did giant rope swings.” The early start seems to have paid off: Shawn, now 15, climbed his first 5.14b two years ago, and 12-year-old Brooke is a regular contender at youth nationals.


The family is competitive with each other, but Robyn and Didier try to keep it positive, and put the kids in situations where they have room to grow their own talents outside of their parents’ shadows. “Keep it fun, and try to surround your kids with other kids,” advises Robyn. “Look for climbing clubs and teams.”

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