Peak(s):  Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Date Posted:  07/13/2012
Modified:  07/14/2012
Date Climbed:   07/13/2012
Author:  slackfrapper
 the kind of pride that only a father can experience  

i want to take this opportunity to brag on my two older sons, isaac and noah. isaac is 12 and has asperger syndrom (think autism lite), and noah is 9. i've taken them on short hikes in the foothills, but never on any really demanding routes. this was their first 14er.

i had been planning to do the tour d'abyss with a friend, but he backed out because he can't deal with exposure. my wife freaked out a bit at the thought of me going it alone and suggested (demanded) that i take isaac and noah on a hike instead. after sulking bitterly for a day, i relented and looked for a short class 2/3 14er route with just a little bit of exposure. evans' northeast ridge sounded good, so we headed that way this morning.

upon arrival, we found that the area leading to the east face was closed off, so we changed our plans and headed the other way - the west ridge via spalding. my boys did AWSOME!

the hike kicked isaac's butt from early on, but he never complained. i had to encourage him and even push him a little - "you're stronger than this. get moving. i'm not letting you give up." - and he found that he really did have the strength to reach the summit. here he is on one of his earlier rest breaks:

no man... you can't be tired already.

noah, on the other hand, was highly motivated, and i needed to keep telling him to slow down so he wouldn't get too far ahead. here he is wating for us on spalding's ridge:


once we got to the summit of spalding, we took a break for granola bars and beef jerky. the beef jerky worked great as a motivator for isaac - it's his favorite. and we snapped a couple more photos.


look mom! a 1000-foot drop below our feet!

then it was decision time - do we turn around and go back, or do we continue on to evans? i'm glad we chose to move on.

bierstadt and the sawtooth...the route i could have been taking *sniff*

the first half of the ridge leading up to evans was difficult for isaac. he was so tired... i held his hand for a while, and he held on to my pack for a while, letting me pull him along. we took a lot of breath breaks. but he kept going.

things changed when we got up to the boulders. the trail became boring, so we played and explored for a while. we made our way up to the ridge crest and looked down. exhilaration is the word. screw the trail! let's boulder hop the rest of the way up! so we made our way up along the top of the ridge. the boys had no fear.

my little adventurers

close to the top, isaac began to poop out again. he sat down and refused to move. i tried to encourage him. i begged and pleaded with him to just start moving again, but he wouldn't do it. finally, in my desperation, i did what i think any reasonable dad would do... i bribed him. "look, man... i have a five dollar bill in my wallet with YOUR name on it - if you make it to the summit" CHA CHING! he started moving immediately! and he made it!

we played around on the summit for a while and talked to a few tourists. a nice lady took our picture for us. i wish she would have made another attempt so that isaac could be seen.


then it was time to go. we walked along the road for a while, but i could tell that isaac was done. we ended up hitching a ride down to the parking area by summit lake, and we were headed for home. a few minutes down the road, i became aware of the silence in the vehicle, so i asked noah a question. he didn't respond, so i looked in the back seat to see what was going on, and this is what i saw.


my boys gave everything they had, and i can't tell you how proud i am of them. later this afternoon, isaac gave me a hug and told me that i'm the greatest dad in the world. of course, that was right after i gave him the five dollar bill...

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

07/15/2012 02:27
Way to go dad! The boys will remember that hike for a long time.

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