Peak(s):  Mt. Sherman  -  14,043 feet
Date Posted:  07/31/2022
Date Climbed:   07/28/2022
Author:  AMVGOAT
 Mt. Sherman - Southwest Ridge with the kids   

Mt. Sherman with the little ones -

July 2020 was the first attempt in getting my three kids to the top of Mt. Bierstadt. I carried (at the time) my 2 year old daughter, my wife carried (at the time) our newborn son and our four year old daughter hiked. The kids and parents carrying kids only made it to about 13,000ft of Mt. Bierstadt. I stayed with the kids while my wife went to the top (this was her first time). The kids napped and I enjoyed the beautiful views. I wasn't going to give up. So we tried again with a different mountain. This year we attempted Mt. Sherman with my now, 4 and 6 year old daughters - still unknown if they would make it especially with the challenging 4wd road ahead with a 2wd Toyota Sienna. I knew getting as close to the trail head as possible would give these little ones the best chance of reaching the summit. We left Mueller State Park around 4:30am with a temp of 52F. After a quick bathroom break we parked up CR 18 around 6:30am with a temp of 42F. I was determined to get the van past the Leavick parking lot (blue circle). It was tricky but I wasn't willing to go beyond the red circle. I didn't make it very far.

Red circle is where we parked. Thankfully there was a good sized pull off where i could turn around.

The road was definitely an AWD SUV or 4WD (or so I thought until we got to the top parking lot where we saw a Toyota Corrolla! Impressive!). As we walked the road we found pieces of vehicles that probably shouldn't have been removed. Not entirely sure what distance was saved but I was thankful for any shortening since we had the kids with us. We started hiking around 6:45am.

Hard to see in this photo but just behind the van the road gets pretty rocky and narrow.
Long hike to the trail head.

The first half mile was the most difficult for the kids. They struggled with some self motivation. My 6 year old decided she wasn’t going to continue and sat on the road in protest. She finally got up. Once we got to the actual trailed head she was excited once again. Seeing the old mine structures helped distract her.

The walking stick wasn't helping so we left it to be picked up on our return.
My oldest deciding if she wants to continue upward.
First mine. They spied a water cooler stuck behind the metal bars blocking the mine.

We got to the mine buildings around 8:10am. At this point the kids were enjoying the views and goofing off. Stopping for drinks and snacks helped with that too. My 4 year old kept asking, “ when are we going mountain climbing?!”. Even though we hiked about 2 miles at this point she wasn’t satisfied with our efforts. We usually have bouldering mats or climbing ropes, so just hiking to hike was a little foreign to her, I suppose. We hit the first switch back around 9:00am.

After the mines heading to the switchbacks. They are losing some layers.
This is where things started to slow down as the rocks become challenging for the littles.

While the kids were doing great, I evaluated the trail ahead, time, and moods and changed their goal from reaching the summit of Mt. Sherman to simply getting to the saddle - still great views and a great accomplishment. Reaching the second mine debris was fun as they looked around at the ruins and saw some animals, flowers and birds. Once we reached the rocky portion of the trail my 4 year old was VERY EXCITED to finally go MOUNTAIN CLIMBING - she started walking like Mowgli and “climbing” even though hands were not required even for a 4 year old, at this rocky class 1 portion. It was a good laugh.

"MOUNTAIN CLIMBING" - headed to the saddle

We reached the saddle at 10:00am. Took some photos and relaxed. My wife (who is also pregnant with our fourth kid) stayed behind and rested with the girls while I finished to the summit. From the saddle to the summit of Mt. Sherman took me about 50 minutes. I sent the family a text that I reached the summit so they could slowly walk down and I would catch up to wherever they were. We met back up at the large switchbacks around 11:40AM and we continued down the mountain together. Although every one was bit tired descending the mountain they were in good moods, taking in the surroundings, but ready to get back to the campsite. We took our time to enjoy the views and avoid slipping. My 6 year old slipped and hit her bum multiple times - which didn’t seem to bother her.

Taking in the views at the saddle 13,150ft. We were surprised by the awesome views toward Leadville.
Looking out toward Leadville from the summit
I enjoyed the exposure. Didn't realize how steep it would be to the summit.
A challenging but fun section.
Almost to the summit!

As we were heading back to the car my oldest daughter kept asking when she would be able to get to the “tippy top” of the mountain. While the kids didn’t summit this time I’m hopeful that either next year, or the following year my oldest will get to the “tippy top”. We’ll keep trying! We will definitely be back to Colorado for some more 14ers (This was only my fifth 14er summit)! Kite Lake is on the agenda! Thanks for reading! We want to encourage young hikers and parents to bring their children on these awesome trails. It definitely adds time, and may cause you not to reach your own time goals, but they will enjoy the experience. It’s also good to know what they’re capable of. I often designate one day for trying to get my kids to the summit, and another day where I can just summit on my own. We reached the car at 1:30pm.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Great Report
07/31/2022 19:30
Thanks for the detailed write up! Can‘t wait to get my kids up there. At 7, 5, and 2, I‘m not sure they‘re ready yet, but the oldest is close. Great to see other folks trying and showing what‘s possible.

Keep Trying
07/31/2022 23:12
I see summits in everybody‘s future. In a few years all six of you will stand on top.

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