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Mount Massive with a 9 month old!

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pingen

Mount Massive with a 9 month old!

Postby pingen » Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:00 pm

Recalling several posts about negative experiences with regard to comments from other hikers that people have had while climbing fourteeners with their kids (I recall some comments on Grays & Torreys, etc.), I decided to briefly post about my positive experience.

Ever since my son was born last October, we have taken him on almost all our hiking/climbing trips, starting with RMNP snowshoe hikes in December to hikes up Green Mountain in Boulder, the Indian Peaks, Engineer Mountain up to 12400feet, and finally Mount Massive this past Sunday. (The only trip our son had to miss was our Pyramid Peak trip in June!!!) He seems to enjoy all outdoor activities and usually either sleeps or makes happy noises/smiles while on the trail.

Obviously we started at the Mt. Massive trailhead, ready to turn around whenever our son would show signs of altitude sickness or simply not enjoying the trip anymore. Prior to the hike I had no idea how he would do, however, I figured that it would not hurt to give it a try. After all, being outdoors has to be better than watching "Baby Einstein"! It turned out that he smiled the whole way and showed no signs of altitude problems.

While hiking, I was impressed with the complementing and encouraging comments I received from all the other hikers (not a single negative comment was made). Everybody seemed excited to see a 9 month old on the trail.

Based on this experience, I am looking forward to our next 14er attempt in a couple of weeks. I see only 1 downturn of taking an infant up into the mountains: the extra weight! Carrying a 45 pound bag with child, diapers, wipes, extra water, food, etc. made for quite a 4500 foot slog up the hill, but it was worth it. Besides, this should get me into shape for winter backpacking!

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Postby LuLuLuv » Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:14 pm

Wow that is great...So you made it all the way up? Do you have any photos? Were you sore at all?

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Postby jason415 » Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:26 pm

I am no expert on this, but I would be concerned with developmental issues due to lack of oxygen. Just because the child seems to be OK with the altitude doesnt mean that there isnt something going on within the brain or anything.
There has been studies that show that kids that have spent time at higher elevations are smaller then kids the same age at normal elevations.
Kids that do strenous exercise at a young age can experience an enlarged heart. Lack of oxygen would cause the heart to work harder than it normally would.
I recently took my 8 year old up Bierstadt and he was fine but I still worried the whole time.
I am glad that you are getting your kid out and exposing him to nature, I am just not sure that hiking him up a 14er is a good idea. I think that there are enough dangers in hiking by yourself without a kid strapped to your back. If you slip he slips with ya!
Good Luck and Be Careful!
If I had a dollar for every time I heard "My God! He's covered in some sort of goo," I'd be a rich man.

pingen

Postby pingen » Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:48 pm

Thanks for the concern!

However, I hardly think that 8 hours on a trail will have an impact on his long term development! It's not like we are pitching a tent at the summit to settle down!
Even then, there are people who spend their whole lives living above 14k feet! However, it is a proven fact that babies born at altitude generally weigh less than those born at sea level.

Georg

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Postby jason415 » Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:01 pm

I doubt as well that 8 hours on a trail would do significant harm. But clearly that is a risk that you want to take with your child. Is taking a child that was probably what 2 months old out snowshowing in December a good idea? Just seems like alot of unnecessary risks with a young baby. Taking a child out in December with a newly developed immune system is just asking for problems. I fully understand wanting to get out in the mountains and enjoy the summer, but not if there is any kind of risk to my kids. If weather turns bad and you are forced to get to lower elevation you are hampered by the extra weight of a child. They mountains will always be there!
If I had a dollar for every time I heard "My God! He's covered in some sort of goo," I'd be a rich man.

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Postby ClimbandMine » Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:06 pm

I'm always psyched to see people with their kids in the mountains, whatever the age. It is great to be raised in the outdoors, to see and experience as much as possible, be curious, and learn about it all.


jason415 wrote:I am no expert on this, but I would be concerned with developmental issues due to lack of oxygen. Just because the child seems to be OK with the altitude doesnt mean that there isnt something going on within the brain or anything.
There has been studies that show that kids that have spent time at higher elevations are smaller then kids the same age at normal elevations.
Kids that do strenous exercise at a young age can experience an enlarged heart. Lack of oxygen would cause the heart to work harder than it normally would.
I recently took my 8 year old up Bierstadt and he was fine but I still worried the whole time.
I am glad that you are getting your kid out and exposing him to nature, I am just not sure that hiking him up a 14er is a good idea. I think that there are enough dangers in hiking by yourself without a kid strapped to your back. If you slip he slips with ya!
Good Luck and Be Careful!


People worry too much. You question pingen, yet you took your own kid up a 14er. Hmmm. anyway, are Tibetans or Andean natives dumber or otherwise underdeveloped because they grew up at 15,000 feet? Do you have any studies on this?

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Postby grizz » Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:10 pm

That's cool. Congrats!


My brother lives at 10,000 feet and his daughter is showing no signs of brain damage compared to the kids that live at sea level.

I think it has a lot to do with how honest the parents are during the test. He and his wife told the truth when asked about drinking alcohol during the pregnancy. Answer no.
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Postby cw » Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:46 pm

That's pretty cool to know there is someone else out there brave enough to take their kid along.

Our daughter is 10 months old and we have completed 5 14ers with her on my back. We scrutinized all the data we could find on AMS and possible effect on infants/toddlers - no negative data to be found. Essentially, there is no greater risk of AMS in children than there is in adults and actually there is less chance because they are not physically exerting themselves. Additionally, our pediatrician had no problems when we told him our summer plans to hike 14ers every weekend (I think he was more concerned with our mental health :lol: ).

The down side is that we're pretty much stuck to climbing only class 1/2 peaks. But that will leave plenty of Mountains to bag when our daughter is old enough to climb on her own.

45 lbs is a heavy pack, what kind of pack are you hauling? After trying about every pack on the market we settled on the Sherpani Superlite - it's 4.5 lbs, has a compartment just big enough for the baby essentials and my layers (with baby it's only 25lbs).

Let me know if you've got any questions about the routes we've completed.
CW

"Put your mind to it, and your body will follow..."

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Postby jason415 » Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:50 pm

"Hmm, Anyway?" Are you kidding?

There is a big difference between an 8 year old and a 9 month old developmentally.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard "My God! He's covered in some sort of goo," I'd be a rich man.

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Postby Viking4Life » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:09 pm

Now, I do not have a problem with you taking your child up on those mountains, just be careful. I also imagine he will grow up and be just fine, but, there are definately some risks involved. I am no expert, but, I know a little bit about the body and altitude.

You cannot compare your child to kids from the Andes and Tibet. Alot of that has to do with their ANCESTRY. Most of those kids have generations of their families who lived up there at those high altitudes. It's in their genes.

It is still unclear whether exposing infants and toddlers to altitude when they usually live at much lower levels has anything to do with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), so hopefully it doesn't, but, it's possible that a lack of oxygen can screw up their respiratory system and cause severe problems or death. It does not take long for an oxygen deprived body, of ANY age, yet alone a 9 month old, to start shutting down and permanent damage can happen pretty quickly.

I have read that things such as hypertension caused by high altitude (I forget the long name for it) has been found in children from low, or semi-low altitude ancestry who spend time at altitude quite often, and is known to be a cause of cardiac failure.

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, when the lungs fill with liquid when adjusting, can happen even just at 9,000 feet, and the younger you are, the more suscetible one becomes.

I would guess the chances of anything happening are very low, but, their is a risk involved. Infants are fragile, and everything shows they are more suscetible to altitude problems than adults. Whether altitude gain effects a child in the long term, I do not know, but, I know there are many things that can happen quickly that will effect your child forever.

Just be safe, be cautious, and have fun!
Last edited by Viking4Life on Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby cw » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:22 pm

Viking4Life wrote:Now, I do not have a problem with you taking your child up on those mountains, just be careful. I also imagine he will grow up and be just fine, but, there are definately some risks involved. I am no expert, but, I know a little bit about the body and altitude.

You cannot compare your child to kids from the Andes and Tibet. Alot of that has to do with their ANCESTRY. Most of those kids have generations of their families who lived up there at those high altitudes. It's in their genes.

It is still unclear whether exposing infants and toddlers to altitude when they usually live at much lower levels has anything to do with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), so hopefully it doesn't, but, it's possible that a lack of oxygen can screw up their respiratory system and cause severe problems or death. It does not take long for an oxygen deprived body, of ANY age, yet alone a 9 month old, to start shutting down and permanent damage can happen pretty quickly.

I have read that things such as hypertension caused by high altitude (I forget the long name for it) has been found in children from low, or semi-low altitude ancestry who spend time at altitude quite often, and is known to be a cause of cardiac failure.

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, when the lungs fill with liquid when adjusting, can happen even just at 9,000 feet, and the younger you are, the more suscetible one becomes.

I would guess the chances of anything happening are very low, but, their is a risk involved. Whether altitude gain effects a child in the long term, I do not know, but, I know there are many things that can happen quickly that will effect your child forever.

Just be safe, be cautious, and have fun!


Ischemia is one term used for a restriction in blood supply (and therefore oxygen supply) to an organ or section of the body, generally due to constriction or blocking of blood vessels. Generally, old age tends to reduce the efficiency of the pulmonary system, and can cause the onset of hypoxia symptoms sooner (so we really need to worry about those 71 year olds beating us up to the top :lol: ).

I'd like to read more about what you wrote on possibilities of SIDs and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema caused by Hypoxia and the 'possible' negative effects - is this your own personal opinion? Or do you have some sources I can research?
CW

"Put your mind to it, and your body will follow..."

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Postby cojeep » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:47 pm

cw wrote: After trying about every pack on the market we settled on the Sherpani Superlite - it's 4.5 lbs, has a compartment just big enough for the baby essentials and my layers (with baby it's only 25lbs).


Here's a second for the Sherpani superlight. Our little one is 20 months old and has been out in the mountains more than 3/4 of the weekends she has been alive. Now that she is a little older we just have to plan to let her "hike" a little on her own. She goes about a 1/2 mile before she says "up peas" and points at her Sherpani. The only thing better than being in the mountains is getting to share them with Meadow (our daughter).

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