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Taking Kids hiking

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Taking Kids hiking

Postby Delorean_Man » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:29 am

I'm just curious if any other parents have taken their younger kids with them. My boy is 6 and keeps asking to go climbing with me. Obviously it would be class 1 right now. I don't think he would quite be ok enough yet.
I would rather sit on a mountain and think about God than sit in church and think about the mountains.

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Re: Taking Kids hiking

Postby USAKeller » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:40 am

You will find a lot of people on the site take their younger kids with them hiking - Scott P for example. My parents always took my brothers and I at a very young age, and yes, it was kept at Class 1. Are you looking to do a big peak now? Or in summer?
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Re: Taking Kids hiking

Postby Delorean_Man » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:53 am

It would be in the summer late June probably. Some friends and I were looking at hitting mount Elbert and my boy hasreally been asking about going

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Re: Taking Kids hiking

Postby Scott P » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:23 am

I don't think he would quite be ok enough yet.


Why? Unless he has some physical deformity, kids that age really need to get outdoors and excersize. Some kids that age have already climbed hundreds of mountains. It's your decision, but I think that it would be sad if you didn't at least try and take him.
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Re: Taking Kids hiking

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:31 am

I've taken young kids up peaks and have seen many others with young (5-8 yr olds on peaks). Most stop before summitting. Depends on the kid.

Sounds like you know what you're doing and you know you son, but I'll throw this out....

Plan on LOTS of: breaks, water/gatorade, and bathroom stops...far more than you would think. Bring their favorite snacks, a ton of patience and encouragement.

How determined is your son? Of course, training hikes with him are a must to get his legs used to the mileage and walking uphill on trails. What seems to kill kids (and adults) enthusiasm the fastest are the uphills. That's where I see kids (and adults ;) ) crying, whining, and even saw a few curled up on rocks. The little guys! :)

Given my experience, Elbert seems like a long one, with a lot of uphill for his first 14er (at the age of 6). Any thoughts to Sherman, Bierstadt, or Grays? But again, depends on the kid.

I wish you the best...and I hope his first trip in the mountains is a positive one!
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Re: Taking Kids hiking

Postby tlerunner » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:32 am

Let them set the pace, look around smell the flowers, enjoy it. They grow up fast and there are no do overs. Oh yea, bring lots of snacks.

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Re: Taking Kids hiking

Postby Delorean_Man » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:53 am

After reading all the post, I think I will go ahead and take him. I know he'll have a lot of fun hiking.

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Re: Taking Kids hiking

Postby steelfrog » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:54 am

They weigh like 30 pounds or less so their power/weight ratio is insane; however, calories are always an issue; take lots of little snacks, what he likes; take lots of breaks; set "mileposts" with rewards there (food, candy); try to enrich the experience by taking some sort of book--flower identifier, trees, rocks, whatever; above all be flexible and don't try to get him to go 20 miles the first time. Give him a little hiking pole.

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Re: Taking Kids hiking

Postby captainp » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:22 am

Absolutely take him. One of the biggest hurdles has already been surmounted. You have piqued his interest and he is motivated to try. My kids started to actively climb 14ers at 7 years old (they were active hikers before that), and it was at their insistence. They are now almost 10 and have climbed a number of 14ers. It has definitely given them a lot of confidence in their physical abilities and stamina. I agree with a number of the other posts as well, let them set the pace, and plenty of their favorite treats. Also, involve them in navigating. Their own compasses and copies of the map of the peak you are on give them a great sense of responsibility and they have a lot of fun with it. Good luck and remember to have fun!

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Re: Taking Kids hiking

Postby scootmanjones » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:26 am

My 9-year old and I hiked Huron this summer and had a blast. I would only add two things:

1) Schedule a trial hike. Pick an easier trail in the foothills or to a mountain lake. Observe how many breaks you take. Assess which food/snacks works and doesn't work. Determine if a 14er is really feasible and make your time adjustments accordingly.

2) Pay close attention to his/her shoes. My son hiked in his everyday sneakers and had quite a bit of trouble slipping on loose dirt on the descent. I gave him my adjustable hiking poles which helped. He was in his "old" shoes because mom didn't want his new school sneakers to get dirty. Make certain there is plenty of grip.

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Re: Taking Kids hiking

Postby Scott P » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:46 am

Perhaps many are already tired of seeing these, but just for the heck of it, here are some of our trip logs for thise ages.

Kessler age 5-6 and Shaylee age 3-4 (both birthdays in May):

http://www.summitpost.org/2008-trip-log/375607

Kessler age 6-7 and Shaylee age 4-5:

http://www.summitpost.org/2009-trip-log/477971

Kessler age 7-8 and Shaylee age 5-6:

http://www.summitpost.org/2010-trip-log/590857

Kessler age 8-9 and Shaylee age 6-7:

http://www.summitpost.org/2011-trip-log/690759

Kessler age 9-10 and Shaylee age 7-8 (incomplete; will finish soon):

http://www.summitpost.org/2012-trip-log/770043
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Re: Taking Kids hiking

Postby summitbound » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:09 pm

Delorean_Man wrote:After reading all the post, I think I will go ahead and take him. I know he'll have a lot of fun hiking.


By all means take him!! My son did his first 14er at age 7 and is now 13, an avid hiker with 20 plus 14ers under his belt including Snowmass, Mt Wilson and the entire Chicago Basin, not to mention last weekend he did the Barr Trail as a one day push, no small feat for anyone. No comparison to Scott and Kessler..;) but same idea.. get them out if they are interested..

For his first few hikes I carried all his stuff and just had him hike. After a while I add a backpack with an extra layer, and have moved now to him carrying his own stuff. To keep him motivated and engaged back when he was 7 was to play the rock cairn game where he would find and count up the rock cairns. I bought him ice cream for finding 50...lol i would have bought it for him anyway but he sure was motivated to find them after hearing the deal..

Scott- I never get tired of seeing kids out enjoying the outdoors, especially with their family :)
"The mountains are calling and I must go." John Muir

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