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 Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
 Post Date:  08/14/2011 Modified: 10/10/2012
 Date Climbed:   08/13/2011
 Posted By:  HarknessHooligans

 Baby on a 14er - 14 months old   


Yes, we took our 14 month old up a 14er! It was an awesome experience that we have been curious about for quite some time. This report is for those wondering about taking a baby up a 14er.



Disclaimer: We talked to our doctor and got approval from him before attempting this. Because we have hiked both Grays Peak and Torreys Peak before, we were familiar with the area and felt comfortable taking him up Grays because we knew the terrain and knew what to expect. Knowledge is key. Our little boy Tyler has been hiking with us several times, one of which was a peak at 12,000 ft. We also researched the weather everyday for a week prior to the hike to make sure that we would be hiking on a good weather day.

Start time: 8:40 am
Summit: 1:00 pm
Left summit at: 2:00 pm
End time: 4:00 pm


Most people would think we were crazy. Honestly, it was actually one of the coolest experiences we have had because it was such a big accomplishment. Although it was a great day, it was also one of the most challenging hikes physically, which is why it was such a big accomplishment. We had no expectations of summiting Grays. We thought it would be cool to make it to the top, but felt no pressure since we had already done it in the past. I didn't want to have that high of an expectation because I feel sometimes you get wrapped up into trying to reach your goal no matter what the circumstances are. I would never want to put my child at risk, so we were just out for a family adventure.

We took are subaru forester up to the top. We usually do not like to start our 14er hikes any later than 6:30 am but because we had our little boy with us, we chose to start later so it would not be as cold. On a side note, those who did not have 4WD had to hike an extra 1-2 miles (one way) depending on how far down the line you had to park. Be prepared for a longer hike if you are not able to make it to the top in your car.

The start of our adventure...family photo at the trailhead sign.
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Grays Peak Trailhead


We hiked through the willows and then were greeted with an amazing view of Grays and Torreys peak. Of course we had to take another family photo.
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Grays (left) Torreys (right)


It was a rude awakening at the beginning of the hike. My husband carried Tyler (30 pounds) which meant that I had all the gear. My overnight pack weighed about 25 pounds and I wasn't even sure if I was strong enough to hike today. The first part of the hike was a consistent elevation gain. Not too steep, but definitely took our breath away with all that weight. Once you get past the willows it levels out. This is where we sped up the pace. We past a short boulder field and then decided it was time to take a "baby break".

We fed Tyler a banana and some milk and then let him sit on the rocks and relax for a bit. Here we took an awesome photo of him with Torreys Peak in the background.
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My little stud


With Ty fed and us rejuvenated from the break, we felt strong and headed up the mountain at a faster pace. We got several comments on the way up about how impressive it was that we were able to hike with Tyler. My favorite quote was a gentleman describing how cool it was that we were hiking as a family and saying "that is what makes America so beautiful". I was surprised that most of the comments were positive. I guess I was expecting to get some evil looks as if we were being irresponsible for take our baby up this peak. We were as prepared as we could be and I monitored Tyler very heavily on this hike. My biggest concern was the altitude, so we took this hike one step at a time ready to turn around if there were any signs that he was not doing well. Tyler was loving it and chattering the whole way up. He loves the outdoors!

The trail was great through the valley. The views of Torreys and Kelso ridge were amazing.

The trail gets tougher and a little steeper. This was the roughest terrain of this hike. Not too bad, but you still need to be careful.
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Tyler fell asleep in the pack. I made sure he was really sleeping though and not just passed out from the higher altitude.
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Tyler passed out (not literally)


The trail starts heading left and places you atop a hill with an amazing view of Kelso mountain and the entire valley you just hiked through. The tundra was so green.
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Kelso mountain (left) Tyler is asleep.

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You will see a cool rock outcropping to the left of the trail. I thought it would make for a sweet picture with such steep exposure so I headed for the top.
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Me atop the rock outcropping

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zoomed out pic of the rocky cliff with Kelso in the background.


The next few pics are more family pictures. Might bore some of you....but I wanted to throw them in for my own records.

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Me and Ty

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Another family pic with Ty awake

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Tyler in the pack

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The weather was awesome with no clouds in sight, Tyler was happy and we felt great so we continued up the trail. On the way we were greeted by a mountain goat.

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Mountain goat

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Torreys Peak


The trail splits off so you can either head towards Torreys or left towards Grays. Torreys is a Class 2 and much steeper with looser rock. Grays was the safest mountain of the two with much better trail all the way to the summit. We started up the switchbacks and then took one more "baby break" to feed Ty because we were not sure how windy or cold the summit would be.

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Matt and Ty on the switchbacks with Torreys in the background

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"baby break"

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Me and Ty


We made it to the top of Grays Peak with our 14 month old! It was beautiful weather!!! What an accomplishment The first thing we did was check out the weather around us. The few small clouds that finally rolled in were white and fluffy and did not look threatening. We ended up staying on the summit for about an hour. We just wanted to relax and enjoy this wonderful moment to have our little boy experience his first 14er with us. Many people were surprised that we made it to the top and gave many congratulations for it. Tyler loved being on the summit! He looked like he was doing great and had no signs of altitude sickness. Here are some summit pictures.

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We made it!!!

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1st 14er at 14 months old! Way to go little man.

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He looks so little on such a big mountain


We headed back down at 2pm. It only took us 2 hours to get down including one "baby break". The sun was HOT! I was glad that I had layers on and quickly changed into my T-shirt and turned my pants into capris. The wildflowers were AMAZING! What a treat to see this late in the season. There were also a lot of huge bumble bees.

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Bumble bee on flower

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Red flowers on the hill


We made it back down by 4pm and took one last family pic on the bridge.

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Last family pic on the bridge. Tyler looks like he is ready for another nap.


Overall, It was an amazing day! I can't believe that we actually made it to the top of Grays Peak. Tyler did so much better than I expected and I surprised myself that I was able to do that hike with the weight I was carrying. We were kinda using this as training for our Kit Carson/Challenger hike coming up over Labor Day. It was definitely the workout I was looking for and gave me some insight on how ready I am.

I would not say that I recommend taking a baby up a 14er because everybody's situation is different and everyone's babies are different. It worked out so well for us and we were extremely pleased with how the trip went. Tyler was such a trooper and didn't complain once. He is a great baby and has always been very adaptable. I'm glad we did this trip and I have no regrets. What a great memory that we will cherish forever.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (26)
RJansen77


Coolest thing ever!     2011-08-14 20:54:04
Great to see that this worked out for you guys, and that Tyler was alright with the altitude. I'm sure we'll see him hiking up some 14ers at some point!


jagfoot04


Awesome!     2011-08-14 20:54:06
That's amazing I was trying to hike Grays and Torreys this past wednesday but my truck had to get fixed. LOL 14ers are hard enough. I can't imagine hiking with a baby on my back. I hope he enjoyed it


Kitten


How cute!     2011-08-14 21:19:57
Hey, this baby has already one, counting down...


James Scott


Well done!     2011-08-14 21:27:30
Smart to put the disclaimer at the top or this would turn into a parental-wanna-be smack down. My kids were five and six on their first one. What a couple of wimps! I'm happy for you and I enjoyed the pictures!


juliaf


You have such a cute baby!     2011-08-14 23:40:45
And you two seem like awesome parents! What a fantastic adventure! I'll bet Tyler was only pretending to be sleepy at the end...he was secretly planning his second 14er. I hope I can do this when I have a family someday!


forbins_mtn


cute!     2011-08-15 06:48:30
you get my vote for cutest and coolest family ever....put me on the waitlist for his Tyler's future mountaineering book. He actually called me yesterday, he has plans for Capitol next week...don't let him tell you he has a play date! : )


Artvandalay


Impressive!     2011-08-15 07:49:59
Well chosen peak and day to climb it. Maybe I'll haul my little 22 month old up Pikes with me before the summer is done. Awesome accomplishment Ashley!


rickinco123


How did you do that????     2011-08-15 10:35:12
When my kids were that age I could never get my pack adjusted.... I guess. After 4 or 5 hours max my shoulders would be screaming. I have a Kelty, older model than yours, which I was told by many people was the best for this.

Good job! Congratulations!


EricB

Pack     2011-08-15 12:40:04
What kind of child pack is that? It looks pretty lean and light.


Winter8000m


Awesome     2011-08-15 12:46:47
That's really cool! Great job. I like these type of reports. It's about the friendship/family


Hungry Jack



Really Cool     2011-08-15 12:55:09
Thanks for sharing. Little Hungry will be one year in September, and I always assumed it would be several more years before I take him up Grays Peak (his middle name is Gray in honor of my first fourteener). But maybe I'll haul him up there next summer, though at 25lbs, he's already a load.


colorado yooper


Nice! Recommendation too....     2011-08-15 15:03:03
We were up on Uncompaghre with our 21month old on the 13th! Highest Diaper change in the state? Sarah has 6 summits so far. It's so much fun!
I keep a pouch of goodies-Annies Gummies, fruitbars and pretzels
mostly these tend to keep her happy and she gets her own Camelback tube to drink out of and chew on!
Happy Hiking!


smrcka


Hmmmm...     2011-08-15 15:42:18
Cool report! But are you really serious about taking the little onwe up Kit Carson? That seems questionable to me....


JA_son27


Very Cool!     2011-08-15 17:01:35
I hope that when my wife and I have kids we can do the same thing! Nice report!


docfrance


Well done!     2011-08-15 19:00:21
Planning to take my grandson up an Sherman in a few weeks--much shorter hike.


michelle


Thumbs Up!     2011-08-15 20:29:52
Holy crap, the pic of him with the sign and the ”thumbs up” is TOO MUCH! I love it!


HarknessHooligans


Thanks!     2011-08-15 21:41:19
Thanks everyone for all the great comments! Smrcka, we are definitely not taking Ty on our Kit Carson hike....I meant I am training for myself not training to take him. And EricB, the pack is a Kelty, not sure of the brand though since it was a hand-me-down from our neighbor. It was pretty light and comfortable, just wish it had more storage space. And Colorado Yooper, That is quite impressive that you have taken your little one on so many hikes. Congrats!


colorado yooper


harder peaks...     2011-08-16 08:03:20
Kit Carson- I agree it's a bit much but with peaks that are just more difficult near the top you can leave extra early and stop on safe terrain with the kiddo (cook lunch, popcorn, heat up milk) while one parent at a time boogies to the summit and back. We are going to do this on Wetterhorn in a few weeks. Of course our limit of risk is very low. We didn't do it last weekend because of some sprinkles in the AM. I thought the climb up to Challenger was more dangerous than climbing up to Kit Carson.


mrunkle


I took that picture!     2011-08-16 15:58:47
Haha I was the one who took your family portrait at the trailhead sign! Congrats on getting the little guy all the way up there!


HarknessHooligans


Trailhead pic     2011-08-16 18:11:39
mrunkle, Thanks for taking that pic at the trailhead! It turned out so cute and somehow you got Tyler to look. Who knows, maybe it could be in our x-mas cards this year


EricB

Trailhead pic     2011-08-16 20:10:09
I agree. That's a great photo! I can't wait to take my little one out into the mountains.


nursedeis

!!     2011-08-21 16:41:23
that's awesome!


Lumar


Awesome!     2011-08-29 13:20:46
I can't wait to take my son. He is 20 months and loves the outdoors. He escaped the doggy door into the backyard at 6 months old. =)


usfgal

Awesome!!!     2011-09-04 18:16:10
Wow! We have taken our little girl, now 3-1/2, up 12 (maybe even 13, I don't remember) 14ers. Looking at your pictures brought a huge smile to my face! I am the one who carries her up the peaks, except on looser terrain or really rocky class 2 stuff, then my husband takes her. It is a heck of an accomplishment and just so incredibly rewarding! The memories are so special. It is so much fun to get them water bottles and bring them hiking treats. Our daughter loves ”wishy flowers” and obsessively looks for them on the trails. I thought after last year that we'd have to get rid of the Kelty Carrier, because she'd be too heavy, but we managed to get her on a lot more this year, plus take her backpacking in a fairly remote section of the Grand Canyon, to Kings Peak in Utah, and other places. I love seeing other parents who do this. Good for you and congratulations!! I REALLY enjoyed your report and especially the pictures! Your little boy is so cute and looks like a natural in the mountains.


djkest


Nice Report     2012-06-07 12:03:53
That is awesome. I am going to try to take my son, he will be about 19 months old in June of 2013 so that is probably the youngest he could go. He'll be a heavy load, for sure!


rob runkle


Rock eatin.     2014-06-27 08:44:23
Awesome. How many 14 mo olds get to eat a rock at 14,000 feet!



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