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What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

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

Postby 300daysofsun » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:44 am

Hi everyone, I am a Colorado native and came across this great blog post by a sports medicine expert from Children's Hospital Colorado about what age is too soon to let your kids hike a fourteener. Thought I might share...http://youthsportsblog.childrenscolorado.org/for-parents/what-age-can-my-child-start-hiking-fourteeners/

Enjoy!

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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby Chris P. » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:52 am

Something tells me Scott will be chiming in on this one soon - which is good because the "decidedly undecided" nature of the article doesn't really put a lot of effort into answering its' own question. Yes, there's some good basic information that everyone should know (not just for children, but for themselves as well) but in the end it really doesn't say much.

Edit to note that I don't consider the blurb about summiting by noon to be good advice. The mountain doesn't turn back into a pumpkin at 12:00 noon, and "lightening" (S.I.C.) and wet slides don't care whether it's noon yet or not. This is one "rule of thumb" that I believe (based on experience) does more harm than good.

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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby flybeyes » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:18 am

My son started at age 7. He now is a teenager with 25 summits. Pick a great mountain with good weather. Go slow and make sure he has fun and he'll want to do another.

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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby pmonday » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:07 am

My son did Mt. Sherman at 9, Bierstadt at 11 ... honestly, at 7 I don't know if he would have been ready even though I've seen many younger on the mountains. My experience is simply, teach good habits and every child is different. He needs to want to do it (I had asked him years before and he didn't care to, but at 9 he suddenly wanted to do a 14er with me, then he didn't the next year, then at 11 he wanted to do another).

I am very conservative on my own peaks so I stressed enjoying it, being smart about it, and bringing a friend (and the friend's Dad so I wasn't babysitting) to enjoy the journey and being safe. I'm also very careful to do mountains once or twice myself so I can sort of let him know what's coming up and know ahead of time where the tough points are and how long they are so I can give the right encouragement.

I also never stress summiting with him, he puts that pressure on himself, I try to take it off of him and teach him it's not a failure to not summit, there are so many things that can stop a summit. Instead, I try to teach him it's a failure to not enjoy your time outdoors and enjoy the clean air ;-)

Those are my thoughts .... mileage may vary ;-)

Paul

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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby Scott P » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:19 am

The proper answer might be whenever they are ready. Condition them earlier and they will be ready earlier.

Age 3:

http://www.summitpost.org/kessler-s-first-14-er-attempt/170276

Age 4:

http://www.summitpost.org/three-generations-on-windom/208495

I think 3-4 is a very reasonable age to start climbing the 14ers. Generally the earlier the better (as long as you do it safely), but it takes patience. You are not going to move as fast with a three year old than you would without.

Anyway, now my son Kessler is 8 years 2 months and my daughter is 6 years 2 months old.

Kessler has climbed 313 mountains, many of them higher and harder than any of the 14ers. Shaylee has climbed 180 mountains.

Just practice and condition and you will be surprised what they can do. Both kids walked 2000 miles last year, but if they were sitting around playing video games, watching movies or TV, than the result would be different.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby CO Native » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:58 am

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).
Remember what your knees are for.
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby Project Ralphie » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:15 pm

I have two daughters, ages 5 and 8, that I am trying to get interested in hiking 14ers. It's been tough going, but I think I almost have them convinced.

But from a 14er Ethics standpoint, is it wrong that I told them there is ice cream, an American Girl store and a perfect replica of the Disney Castle, complete with princesses, at the top of Quandary?

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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby Lemmiwinks » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:40 pm

Project Ralphie wrote:I have two daughters, ages 5 and 8, that I am trying to get interested in hiking 14ers. It's been tough going, but I think I almost have them convinced.

But from a 14er Ethics standpoint, is it wrong that I told them there is ice cream, an American Girl store and a perfect replica of the Disney Castle, complete with princesses, at the top of Quandary?


If you had said that about Pikes then it would have been more of a fib than a straight up lie.
“If you're bumming out, you're not gonna get to the top, so as long as we're up here we might as well make a point of grooving." -Scott Fischer

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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby SilverLynx » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:46 pm

Lemmiwinks wrote:
Project Ralphie wrote:I have two daughters, ages 5 and 8, that I am trying to get interested in hiking 14ers. It's been tough going, but I think I almost have them convinced.

But from a 14er Ethics standpoint, is it wrong that I told them there is ice cream, an American Girl store and a perfect replica of the Disney Castle, complete with princesses, at the top of Quandary?


If you had said that about Pikes then it would have been more of a fib than a straight up lie.


LOL!!!!!
"Find out who you are and be that person. That's what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come."
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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby MatB » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:33 pm

@Scott P

Just read those trip reports... AWESOME! I would have never imagined that was possible at such a young age. Sounds like some quality time with the kids.
"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,'"
- Dalai Lama, when asked about what surprises him the most about humanity

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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby SikYou » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:32 pm

Took my 5 year old daughter out for her first today. We went for Democrat but she got cold and we turned around. I wish we would have had better weather because she was super excited and I think she would have had no problem with the terrain or altitude. We will go back at it again and again until she doesn't want to go any more. She loves hiking so far and she has no problems doing some decently tuff hikes in boulder and RMNP.
"Is it an up hill hike all the way to the summit?" Brian L.

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Re: What Age Can My Child Start Hiking Fourteeners?

Postby Markwise » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:51 pm

Started my oldest at age 5 with Democrat. He's 7 and has now also done Bierstadt and Sherman. He's done really well on all three (with a little patience). Its been great teaching him trail etiquette and the finer points and safety of hiking. He really loves it.

My second son was five this summer but he just wasn't ready, not mentally into it. So I'm finding each kid is a little different and they really have to want to try it to be able to go. My youngest will be just shy of 5 next year and I'm certain he'll be ready and wanting to go.

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