Climbing with kiddos

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
User avatar
Posts: 160
Joined: 7/2/2006
14er Checklist Not Entered

Climbing with kiddos

Postby colopilot2002 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:37 pm

Its been a long time since I have posted since life got in the way of the summit.

So here I am nearly 5 years later and with a 3 year old now. So thus I need advice from all the others climbers with little ones out there.

My son just getting ready to turn 3 has been hiking with me in a backpack until a year ago when he wanted to hike on his own. We hike often around around the house (between 9K and 11K) here in the foothills and few weeks ago spent an hour at the summit of Evans hiking around to see how he did with the alt, which he did awesome with and no sign of any alt issue.

So my question is to all the other climbers with little ones out there, any advise for a fellow climber that is now a novice when it comes to climbing with a little ones?

Many thanks in Advance...
Tread light, leave only foot prints and take only memories...
User avatar
James Scott
Posts: 332
Joined: 3/30/2006
14er Checklist (58)

Re: Climbing with kiddos

Postby James Scott » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:42 pm

It varies so much from kid to kid and parent to parent. I made the decision early on that I wouldn't ask them to do a 14er until they were five, and my number one rule is that it's about fun for them, not accomplishment. One of my sons climbed 9 14ers before age 10, and one of his teachers actually asked me if it was true he'd done Quandry, because she knew it wasn't possible. Proud Dad moment.

There was a recent trip report of a 4 year old on Sherman which made me happy, and Scott Patterson is maybe the best to give advice because his kid climbed more by the age of 8 than most people will climb in a lifetime. As is true with so many things, do what YOU are comfortable with, and never turn it into a negative experience by pushing too hard. That said, enjoy. I have great memories with my kids on mountains!
"Some climb... to get to Terrapin."
User avatar
Posts: 137
Joined: 8/18/2009
14er Checklist (58)
13er Checklist (2)

Re: Climbing with kiddos

Postby mtndude3737 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:08 pm

My son started climbing them when he was 9. He is 17 now and has climbed 41 of them, and is an avid mountaineer, snowboarder, and 5.12 rock climber. My daughter is 13 and has climbed 14, and my younger son that is 10 has climbed 6. I started them around 7 or so when they actually really wanted to go with me.

Reinhold Messner started climbing the Dolomites when he was 5, and grew up to be one of the greatest mountaineers of all time.
What is there, beyond the mountain, if not the man? - Walter Bonatti

The simpler you make things, the richer the experience becomes. - Steve House
User avatar
Posts: 213
Joined: 5/28/2006
14er Checklist (55)
13er Checklist (35)

Re: Climbing with kiddos

Postby turbocat » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:17 pm

Advice from a Dad who had his daughter on Huron @ 3 (some carrying required), Quandary @ 6, and Elbert @ 9. We had one failure on the SW Slopes of Massive @ 7, the lesson coming off that one was that the mountain will always be there and that a day out in the mountains was never a failure if you didn't reach a still got a day out in the mountains.

Gummi bears...lots and lots of gummi bears and snacks, games, stories help. Make it fun and you will have a hiker/camper for life who will share your passion. Kids definitely pick up on what you are passionate about.

Camping high the night before helps...even getting into the upper basins cuts most summit days in half. The summit is always optional with little ones. Pay close attention to their fitness/conditioning/hydration along the way. The most important lesson and first they should learn is that the summit is a roundtrip proposition (thanks Ed Viesturs)...they must be able to make it down under their own power...getting to the top is only half the battle.

Enjoy and most of all have fun!
Less cowbell...more CAIRN!
User avatar
Scott P
Posts: 6527
Joined: 5/4/2005
14er Checklist (46)
14ers in Winter (16)
13er Checklist (30)

Re: Climbing with kiddos

Postby Scott P » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:37 pm

Have fun with your kid. It's much better to hike/climb with them than let them watch TV or play video games.

The below might be useful.

Article, though it hasn't been updated in several years:

Quick examples:

Trip logs ages 3-4 and 5-6:

Trip logs ages 4-5 and 6-7:

Trip logs ages 5-6 and 7-8:

Trip logs ages 6-7 and 8-9:

Trip logs ages 7-8 and 9-10:
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.
User avatar
Posts: 74
Joined: 9/15/2007
14er Checklist (52)
13er Checklist (6)

Re: Climbing with kiddos

Postby moff » Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:40 pm

In the early years of these hike with my kids (4 was the earliest - carried most of the way), it was about making it fun. Like Turbocat said, bringing their favorate snacks and camping was alway a great idea. Now they're 12 and 13, and they love it. There's not many other activies where you can spend 6 or so hours of good quality time together.

Return to “Just Starting? Info for 14er Beginners”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests