On July 26th my wife, daughter and myself left Orange County
with plans to climb Split Mt.
We arrived in Big Pine and checked in a motel by 10pm.
Next day we're at Split mountain trailhead ready for action.
I've done Split twice and remember the trail as not maintained and easy to lose at times.
We got to the first bushwhacking section with overgrown wild rose bush and other sharp and thorny plants. I made a valiant effort and came out looking like I lost lost a fight with 10 feral cats.
It was no place for my daughter, so we returned to the car and went to Lone Pine.
To our surprise there were 3 overnight permits available, so we took the opportunity and decided to try Whitney.
By 1 PM we were on the trail, the latest I've ever started a hike.
My daughter was excited at first but soon the difficulty of the hike started to get to her.
We ran into a couple with a 4 year old coming down. The mom had a child carrier and the little girl was walking. They made the summit and with that news my daughter got more ambitious.
It was around 5:30 PM when it became to much for my daughter.
We were about 30-45 minutes from Trail Camp and with temperature dropping we decided to camp just above Trail-side Meadow.
After the tent was set, she wanted to play as usual, and her energy level came back up. Things were looking up.
During the night we all slept soundly and at 5 AM we got up, had a few snacks and we were on the trail by 5:30AM.
Counting the switchbacks helped at first but that got boring
after a while. That was the biggest factor in her attitude.
It was just to boooooring. Still we pushed on, trying to come up with different games that kept her interested. We made Trail Crest by 9AM.
Throughout the hike, we stopped every hour or so to eat and hydrate and to enjoy the amazing views. I am in awe every time I'm there.
The back side was a little windy, about 5-7MPH, and my daughter was " afraid she was going to get blown off the mountain".
The final push, her energy level was high, moving better then some adults on the mountain.
We made the summit at 11:55AM.
I carried a treat for her, a small carton of Horizon strawberry milk. She said it was the best!
We spent about one hour on the summit, in perfect conditions, with a lot of great people.
The hike down was uneventful, a few complaints about having to go up, on the way down, before the Trail Crest.
We made it back to camp at 5:15 PM. Before we went to sleep she told me she wanted to see the stars at night, so after the moon set, I woke here up. We spent 20 minutes looking at the sky, counting shooting stars and making wishes.
It was the best 20 minutes of my life!
The next day we hiked out and were having pizza in Lone Pine
I know this has become somewhat of a controversy on the other forum, how young is too young to be high in the mountains.
Our daughter has hiked Langley last year, Baldy this year, numerous other hikes and long bike rides. During this hikes she performed better than some adults I know.
The biggest challenge for kids is not physical, in my opinion, but mental. It can be a little boring and they lose interest.
I also want to teach her that hard work = rewards. For her accomplishment she's getting a trip to the American Girl Doll store in Los Angeles.
During the hike, we suggested a few times that it's OK to turn back, but she really wanted the reward, so she kept on pushing.
During the hike we watched her closely for signs of AMS.
My wife and I have some experience in the mountains, I proposed to her on Huascaran in Peru, we can recognize the early symptoms.
We checked the weather, we kept hydrated and fueled, we adjusted layers according to temp I think we did everything right.
We are proud of our daughter's accomplishment and she's looking forward to her reward.
Sorry for gushing.
link to pictures http://jsclimbs.zenfolio.com/p650590845/slideshow
Link to video on tophttp://jsclimbs.zenfolio.com/p650590845/e1896bc92