What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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bpko
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby bpko » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:13 pm

I saw a 7 year old on Missouri Mountain last weekend. I was thoroughly impressed since it's a tougher mountain than just a walk. I was going to ask if he had hiked others but I think if I had tried to squeeze out words in between breathing I would have passed out :-"
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby PKelley » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:16 pm

If your kids want to hike peaks, and they are not forced to do so, I think that they can start pretty early. Here is a photo of my son and his best friend leaving the summit of Redcloud. They hike several 14ers every summer, as well as several 13ers. They have a great time, and getting them to bed at night is never easier.
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The Dalai Lama when asked what surprised him most about humanity:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby edhaman » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:15 pm

PKelley: Great photo!

300daysofsun: Thanks for the article debunking what I had read years ago about children being more susceptible to AMS.
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby kaiman » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:27 pm

PKelley - Nice shot!

BTW - I climbed my first 14er (Holy Cross #-o) at age 8 and I'm still kicking so I guess I wasn't too young...
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby Mtn Geek » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:47 pm

Scott P wrote:The proper answer might be whenever they are ready. Condition them earlier and they will be ready earlier.



Thats about right. My son is 4 and I would not take him up a 14er. He's just not ready for it. I'll take him when I know he's ready.
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby jaymz » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:15 pm

I have no kids, but from what I've observed on my own hikes, it just depends on the kid. I've seen 7 and 8 years olds fly past me on 14ers with smiles on their faces, and I've seen 13 year olds cry the whole way up Chief Mountain having what looks like the worst day of their lives.
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby mtn_hikin » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:05 pm

I took my 4 and 6 year olds up Bierstadt. They both did fine but the 4 year old ran out of energy at when we got to the boulder near the very end. He never showed any signs of issues with the altitude and had fun all the way up and back down.
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby CO Native » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:20 am

CO Native wrote:Two of mine started at age 5 and one won't hike mountains with me yet (He hikes he just won't do a 14er).


Update on this. My son Isaac decided he wanted to try for his 14er this weekend too. We went and did Mount Sherman. When he reached 13,200 he decided he was just out of gas and wasn't going to make it. We took a break and talked about it for a while, but I told him it was his decision. After giving it some serious thought, he chose to push on and finish the mountain. I'm so proud of him for making that decision. It's lessons like those that I believe will make children stronger in life, not just in mountaineering.

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Almost to the summit and all smiles.
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby Fisching » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:22 am

CO Native wrote:
CO Native wrote:Two of mine started at age 5 and one won't hike mountains with me yet (He hikes he just won't do a 14er).


Update on this. My son Isaac decided he wanted to try for his 14er this weekend too. We went and did Mount Sherman. When he reached 13,200 he decided he was just out of gas and wasn't going to make it. We took a break and talked about it for a while, but I told him it was his decision. After giving it some serious thought, he chose to push on and finish the mountain. I'm so proud of him for making that decision. It's lessons like those that I believe will make children stronger in life, not just in mountaineering.

mount_sherman_031.jpg


Congrats, Josh! It's great to read about his perseverance at such a young age.
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby SeracZack » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:24 am

CO Native wrote:
CO Native wrote:Two of mine started at age 5 and one won't hike mountains with me yet (He hikes he just won't do a 14er).


Update on this. My son Isaac decided he wanted to try for his 14er this weekend too. We went and did Mount Sherman. When he reached 13,200 he decided he was just out of gas and wasn't going to make it. We took a break and talked about it for a while, but I told him it was his decision. After giving it some serious thought, he chose to push on and finish the mountain. I'm so proud of him for making that decision. It's lessons like those that I believe will make children stronger in life, not just in mountaineering.

mount_sherman_031.jpg


I suppose that was you in the Teller County SAR jacket then, with your family? I was taking my cousin up her first 14er when you guys were coming down. There were quite a few young ones on Sherman that day.
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby CO Native » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:31 am

That was us. I just got the new unit jacket and wanted to see how it performed.
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby spiderman » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:27 am

IMHO age 1 would be too young for ordinary kids to climb a 14er on their own power. Each kid is so different so there may be an exception to this rule. I started Arthur hiking at age 2 in New England doing peaks that are quite comparable to some of the easier 14ers. We had an agreement that he would climb up the mountain by himself and I would carry him down; he often would take a nap on my shoulders as we bounced down the trail. Lots of sugary snacks and a "magic" stick helped keep him going for 2-3 hours. He usually ran low on power on the flat sections and picked up steam and excitement when the climbs became rocky. I think that he would have been bored to death on Sherman. He still is this way a decade later: he was running low on interest while doing the Tour de Sherman, but his energy never waned on sleep-deprived trip up Little Bear. It does though take longer for kids to acclimate than grownups. I have to make sure that we get up to a 13er or 14er almost every weekend during the summer to maintain his strength. It is such a hardship to have to go on so many hikes :roll: Great job Isaac!

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