| Beirstadt - Son‘s Number 2 and a little scare
Hiking Partners – Brennan Bates, Purplepaddler (Lauren), Lindsey, and Guinness
Distance – ~ 8 miles (based on GPS tracking)
Trailhead – Guanella Pass
Class – 2
My son did his first 14er on June 30th 2007. Just happened to be almost one year to the date when we attempted his second. Along for the ride was Lauren, her sister and dog (both doing their first). In 2007, Brennan joined me on a few higher altitude hikes through June. 2008 proved to be too busy and he didn't get out much. One thing that took up his time was a G&T (Gifted and Talented) class at Colorado College. By pure coincidence, Lauren was one of his teachers. Before class one day, we decided it would be good to get out and do something. We chose Beirstadt.
We left Colorado Springs about 4:30am planning to get to the trailhead by 6:30. Got there a little late, but the parking lot wasn't too bad, yet. As we geared up, took pictures and put on sunscreen the crowds began to arrive. I must say, I don't like crowds. After this mountain, I chose to take less crowded routes or went mid week to avoid the crowds on future adventures.
Teacher and Student ready to go - by the way that is his very own 14ers.com shirt
Heading for the Willows
We made our way through the willows (thank you for the wood platforms) and towards the first uphill section. This was probably the easiest first 1 mile of any climb. We got to one water crossing where I helped my son and the two ladies across. Guinness, however, ended up taking an unplanned swim. From here, we started the ascent.
Father and son heading on up
Taking a look at the Sawtooth
Pointing out the difficult sections
Now, my son and I have looked at 14ers.com together many times. We will refresh the main screen so he can name the different peaks (and he is getting pretty good). He is very much into my adventures and more often than not, wants to join me. I look forward to the day where he can on a regular basis. After seeing the famed "Sawtooth" on this trip, he was mesmerized. We spent quite a bit of time looking at the details online and this trip gave him an opportunity to see it live.
Brennan heading on up and looking strong
A Photo op in the Evans Wilderness Area
Lindsey working hard…She just came in from a lower altitude
When we reached ~12.5K, we stopped to add some layers and take in some fuel. We let the crowd pass us as we began to move slower with the three rookies. Lauren focused on Guinness and her sister while I focused on my son. He was slowing down at this point and we started to search for small goals being the different cairns marking the route.
Making our way up
Just past 13.4K, Brennan started to act a little funny. Not really bad, but not normal. I was wondering if he was just getting tired. This happened last year on Grays and after he took a 10min cat-nap he was perfectly fine. Not sure what was happening, so I quizzed him at certain points. He could answer my questions and at points showed his annoyance with my questioning.
Lindsey and I quizzing Brennan
Probably my favorite picture…I was quizzing him and Lauren took this shot. Lauren has a talent for taking some good candid photos
Still heading up
Approaching the crowded summit
Father/Son summit shot
Lauren and Guinness
Lauren, Lindsey, and Guinness had summitted about 15 minutes before us. Just prior to our summit, Brennan began to feel nauseated. This concerned me but we were soo close so we hit the summit, but only spent about 10 minutes. In that time, Brennan fell asleep briefly. We began to descend rather quickly at this point leaving Lauren and Lindsay behind. At about 13K, we met back up. Brennan began to show significant signs of improvement and as we descended, his energy levels came back.
The Myers Sisters in front of the Sawtooth
Father and son on descent
For such a trivial 14er, this one concerned me. I knew by son could do it, but now understand what preparation can do. I believe Brennan was experiencing AMS on the summit. In hindsight, there were signs of this on ascent and we probably should have turned around. Our big plan for the year was to finish Elbert together, but after this experience, I felt is should wait. We did not go out again together this summer on a climb (however we did still go out on a few camping trips). Between the G&T program and summer sports, we just couldn't get together enough. I am planning to change some things next summer so he can prepare and go with me on more climbs.
Thank you Lauren for taking most of these pictures, as my camera battery did not get charged. More importantly, thanks for joining in on this experience.