Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  08/29/2012
Date Climbed:   08/15/2012
Author:  jpfeif001
 Asthmatic 11 year old, Her 1st summit  

Last year my daughter Kelsey tried a couple of mountains, but never quite reached the summit's. She was born premature and as a result has struggled with asthma. Always a fighter though, she has never kept still and has never let her asthma stop her. Armed with inhalers and prednason, she and I headed for Bierstadt, arrival, 4 am. She informed me that she loves starting the hikes when it is still dark outside, who am I to argue. The air held a refreshing chill, its scent fresh in the early morning hours. Kelsey's excitement was contagious. Image
Kelsey in the early morning hours.

The walk through the willows was uneventful in the dark and we made it past them before the sky's started to light up in pre-dawn grey. Image
Moon over the Sawtooth
Her excitement only grew the closer we got to the top, by now we could see a few people behind us making their way up. Kelsey was on her game today, breathing great, no coughing, we were good to go. She was pushing me, not the other way around, which was a good sign. Image
Kelsey goofing around
Not sure what this look is
The higher we got we began to hear the Pika's waking for the day, their distinctive chirps ringing through the air. By now, the sky's were bright enough to make out details at a distance. Suddenly my daughter shouted "Deer". My head snapped up to see and took a minute to register that indeed, I was staring at several Bucks. I wouldn't have been surprised if they were Elk, but they were definitely deer. Oh yeah, its hunting season, these guys were up high to avoid the hunters. Image
Last look at the Deer
We continued on as the deer were not sticking around to find out what we were. On up into the steepest part of the climb, which considering other mountains, is not bad at all. We started to see the Pika now, cute little critters and they were in abundance. Image
Pika posing on a rock
We got a little further up the trail and stopped for a short breather, not bothering to sit down when my daughter asked me "what is that?" My response, "what is what?" Apparently her eyes are a lot sharper than mine because it took a few for me to see what she was pointing at. A Ptarmigan, perfectly camouflaged. Image
Ptarmigan camouflaged
Hunger started to show up, our stomachs making some odd sounds, so, at the suggestion of my daughter, we stopped and ate one of our sandwiches, giving us a boost in energy. Image
Kelsey happy to be close to the top
Within minutes we were at the top ridge just before the summit boulders, the sun breaching the ridge line. Image
The sun over the ridge
Kelsey with the sun behind her
We continued on up into the boulders, by this time we saw two guys heading up towards us. Image
Heading up through the boulders
Surprising to me, we were the first on the summit for the day, my daughter taking the lead. Image
Kelsey's victory pose
The summit
We held the summit to ourselves for about 5 minutes which seems to me to be a long time for Bierstadt. The two guys made it up and were nice and took a photo for us. Image
Myself and Kelsey
They headed for the sawtooth as we headed back down. Image
Back down the mountain
We saw the last of the Pika before they remained behind us. Image
A last look at the Pika
We finally spotted what was to be the only Marmot we would see on this hike. Image
The only Marmot we saw
Here come the people, more and more, the mountain turning into a busy metropolis, people of all ages enjoying the outdoors. We started hearing reports of a moose in the lake below. This would be the best photo I would get, as it vanished into the willows before we ever got close. Image
The moose
We made it, the summit and back, arriving back in the parking lot at 9:45am. My daughter never had an asthma attack, her strength and attitude making this day memorable for both of us. A great day!!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Kelsey did GREAT!
08/29/2012 19:51
And her Dad didn't do all that bad either. Congrats on your summit! It was WELL earned!


Congrat's Kelsey!
08/29/2012 20:45
I'm an asthmatic as well. I used to have it really bad with cold/allergy/exercise induced. So hiking 14ers used to be really hard. Now, with proper medication to reduce inflammation, I have few problems.

So keep at it Kelsey!


08/29/2012 20:51
Very inspirational story and hike! Keep at it, and with that kind of determination, anything is possible!


08/29/2012 22:04
1 down, 53 to go! I sure wish my parents had gotten me started on climbing at 11. Dead right about starting out before the sun, too.


Hits home
08/29/2012 22:17
Having 30% lung capacity myself this really resonates with me. Great job to both of you! Kelsey: excellent work overcoming what life has given you and best of luck in your continued journey.
Welcome to a community of people who climb mountains not only for enjoyment but also for self-fulfillment!


Kelsey is blushing
08/29/2012 22:58
She loved the comments and she loved the climb. She really wants to get into technical climbing as well so I am in the process of getting us both enrolled in a class. Soon enough she will be outdoing me, which means probably next week.


Well done!
08/30/2012 04:12
This is so cool. Kelsey looks very happy and her determination is really inspiring. Very neat that you guys were the first on the summit, too.

What a great experience for you and your little girl... nice work to both of you!

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.