Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  12/20/2008
Modified:  01/08/2009
Date Climbed:   06/29/2008
Author:  dcbates80911

 Beirstadt - Son‘s Number 2 and a little scare  

Hiking Partners – Brennan Bates, Purplepaddler (Lauren), Lindsey, and Guinness
Distance – ~ 8 miles (based on GPS tracking)
Trailhead – Guanella Pass
Class – 2

My son did his first 14er on June 30th 2007. Just happened to be almost one year to the date when we attempted his second. Along for the ride was Lauren, her sister and dog (both doing their first). In 2007, Brennan joined me on a few higher altitude hikes through June. 2008 proved to be too busy and he didn't get out much. One thing that took up his time was a G&T (Gifted and Talented) class at Colorado College. By pure coincidence, Lauren was one of his teachers. Before class one day, we decided it would be good to get out and do something. We chose Beirstadt.

We left Colorado Springs about 4:30am planning to get to the trailhead by 6:30. Got there a little late, but the parking lot wasn't too bad, yet. As we geared up, took pictures and put on sunscreen the crowds began to arrive. I must say, I don't like crowds. After this mountain, I chose to take less crowded routes or went mid week to avoid the crowds on future adventures.

Teacher and Student ready to go - by the way that is his very own shirt

Heading for the Willows

We made our way through the willows (thank you for the wood platforms) and towards the first uphill section. This was probably the easiest first 1 mile of any climb. We got to one water crossing where I helped my son and the two ladies across. Guinness, however, ended up taking an unplanned swim. From here, we started the ascent.

Father and son heading on up

Taking a look at the Sawtooth

Pointing out the difficult sections

Now, my son and I have looked at together many times. We will refresh the main screen so he can name the different peaks (and he is getting pretty good). He is very much into my adventures and more often than not, wants to join me. I look forward to the day where he can on a regular basis. After seeing the famed "Sawtooth" on this trip, he was mesmerized. We spent quite a bit of time looking at the details online and this trip gave him an opportunity to see it live.

Brennan heading on up and looking strong

A Photo op in the Evans Wilderness Area

Lindsey working hard…She just came in from a lower altitude

When we reached ~12.5K, we stopped to add some layers and take in some fuel. We let the crowd pass us as we began to move slower with the three rookies. Lauren focused on Guinness and her sister while I focused on my son. He was slowing down at this point and we started to search for small goals being the different cairns marking the route.

Making our way up

Just past 13.4K, Brennan started to act a little funny. Not really bad, but not normal. I was wondering if he was just getting tired. This happened last year on Grays and after he took a 10min cat-nap he was perfectly fine. Not sure what was happening, so I quizzed him at certain points. He could answer my questions and at points showed his annoyance with my questioning.

Lindsey and I quizzing Brennan

Probably my favorite picture…I was quizzing him and Lauren took this shot. Lauren has a talent for taking some good candid photos

Still heading up

Approaching the crowded summit

Father/Son summit shot

Brennan Chillin

Lauren and Guinness

Lauren, Lindsey, and Guinness had summitted about 15 minutes before us. Just prior to our summit, Brennan began to feel nauseated. This concerned me but we were soo close so we hit the summit, but only spent about 10 minutes. In that time, Brennan fell asleep briefly. We began to descend rather quickly at this point leaving Lauren and Lindsay behind. At about 13K, we met back up. Brennan began to show significant signs of improvement and as we descended, his energy levels came back.

The Myers Sisters in front of the Sawtooth

Father and son on descent

For such a trivial 14er, this one concerned me. I knew by son could do it, but now understand what preparation can do. I believe Brennan was experiencing AMS on the summit. In hindsight, there were signs of this on ascent and we probably should have turned around. Our big plan for the year was to finish Elbert together, but after this experience, I felt is should wait. We did not go out again together this summer on a climb (however we did still go out on a few camping trips). Between the G&T program and summer sports, we just couldn't get together enough. I am planning to change some things next summer so he can prepare and go with me on more climbs.

Thank you Lauren for taking most of these pictures, as my camera battery did not get charged. More importantly, thanks for joining in on this experience.


 Comments or Questions

2 4 2
12/21/2008 02:39
Good job Brennan! AMS is a funny thing – I have friends who seem to get it periodically, no matter how high or often they climb. Take your time, buddy – I predict you have many, many years of 14er summits ahead of you!


12/21/2008 03:07
Saweeeet TR Dave! Great photos - I‘ll have to check out your camera next time we hike together. I‘ve gotta get Bierstadt in this next year. Also hoping to get a winter snowshoe ascent up Quandary this year...Cheers!


Terrific Report
12/21/2008 19:02
Great pics with your son that I‘m sure you will always look on with fond memories! Thanks for the details about the symptoms Brennan was showing as you ascended. Something I am going to remember next time I take my kiddos. We haven‘t had an issue w/ AMS yet, knock on wood, on the couple of trips I‘ve had with them. I thought we were one time but it dawned on me that my son is 13, he‘s not going to be normal anymore!!!


Excellent Report, and Congratulations Little Man!
12/23/2008 15:50
Great climb report and nice pictures. I drove from Texas to climb Mt. B in mid August with my 2 sons when a freak snowstorm hit and shut everything down, so we had to abort our plans and wait until 2009. I really appreciated the fine pictures and the nice scenery. Mountain sickness is no fun. My last little bout was nearly 20 years ago on the summit of the Grand Teton and that sort of took the glow off an otherwise great climb. At least it cleared up before the rapelling started. So great job, Brennan. In the future, if you feel that way again, go back down if you can. The mountain, as we say, will always be there.


Great Job
03/06/2009 22:14
I‘m not sure if it is AMS or just tired little boys. My son (12) has done 8 fourteeners now (4 when he was 5 years old). He zonks for about 45 minutes at the top of each one of them. I really do think they need to eat a lot the night before and snack during the climb and drink quite a bit more water. I have a tough time getting my son to do this. Nonetheless, he seems just fine when he wakes up from his naps on the summits. Good luck and let‘s continue getting the next generation involved.


Thanks for the TR
02/12/2010 16:21
My son and I are planning a trip there in July. Thanks for the report it made me feel a little better about bringing him.

   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.