Peak(s):  Mt. Sherman  -  14,036 feet
Date Posted:  08/27/2012
Date Climbed:   08/26/2012
Author:  epende
 My 4 year old hiked his first 14er (Sherman) without being carried!  

My 4 year old son, Henry, and I camped out Saturday night at 10,700'. The next day, we got up and started on the Fourmile trailhead.

I've carried him up most of Bierstadt before in an Osprey backpack child carrier. He weighs about 30 lbs.

We've done similar hikes on Crosier Mt. and Flattop Mt. Usually, he gets tired after 1/4 mile of the ascent and wants to be carried. He will often do the down hike by himself. I fully expected to do a lot of uphill 4 year old carrying.

We started out and he was enthralled by all the old mining ruins. We stopped and looked at them and then continued. When we got to the first real switchbacks, the rocks began getting loose and I thought he'd get too tired to climb. Instead, we just rested periodically and I bribed him with marshmallows (bad parent).

Before I knew it we were above 13,000' at the saddle. He was doing great and said he felt great.


We continued north toward the summit. He saw lots of dogs, and the owners were gracious enough to let him stop and pet almost every one.

Everyone we met was really excited for him and cheered him on. That probably helped a lot. He was beaming with pride.

I was concerned about the parts where the exposure increases, so I held his hand tightly here, but did not carry any weight. We had to rest a lot until about 13,800'. Then, for some reason he turned on the juice and we powered all the way to the summit in one push.

I was amazed. Not sure what was different about this time and all the other hikes. When we got to the summit we relaxed and he devoured a Snickers donated by a fellow hiker.


The down hike was a little harder because of the loose scree. We had to take it slowly, but he walked all the way down without support (except for hand holding for safety reasons).


The rest of the hike was enjoyable, with regular marshmallow stops and discussions about how the mining buildings might have been destroyed. We kept running into uphill hikers who would ask, "Is that Henry?" Apparently word was spreading on the mountain about our hiking party.


The hardest part of the hike was the final portion that is a road hike. He got sick of it, probably because it is just boring hiking.

I'm very proud of my son. Henry, you rocked Mt. Sherman!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Jeff Valliere

08/27/2012 17:23
Congrats to Henry! Sounds like you both had a great time. I have twin daughters who are almost 2, yet I am chomping at the bit to get them out for hikes like this (when they are ready of course). Thanks for posting.

James Scott

08/27/2012 21:25
This makes me happy! No, you're not a ”bad parent” for the marshmallow bribes. You're a great parent. My son is five next year and I'm already looking forward to this with him! Thanks for the pictures of a very happy little guy!


08/27/2012 21:28
Some of our hikes have been slogs, but this was just the perfect storm (clear day?). I could tell he enjoyed this one.

Good luck hiking with your son. It's fun even if you have to carry them.


a record?
08/28/2012 00:05
If he truly hiked with no help this must by near some kind of record. What is the youngest age of a 14er summit? Very impressive young man, he'll probably have all of them climbed before he gets his drivers license.


I think
08/28/2012 00:15
a 3 year old has done one. That's what someone in a forum said. I held his hand on some parts and he also held onto my backpack for balance going down the scree, so it wasn't entirely unassisted.


Way to go Henry!
08/28/2012 05:23
Sounds like you gave your dad a run for his money! How many marshmallows did you have to bribe him with?

This is great encouragement for me, my son is seven, and he is almost the same way with hiking. Gets bored and wants to stop a lot. I want to take him up Bierstadt in September but have been fairly apprehensive about it. I think with the proper encouragement and a bag of goodies, I'll give it a shot! Thanks for sharing.


Congrats little man!
08/29/2012 03:24
That is so cool. Way to go Henry Totally worth the hike to get a snickers bars on top.

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