Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ha Ling!! My Baby Climbed His First Real Summit!

He did it!  My 5 year old, and always my baby, climbed his first real mountain.  And we are one happy family!

How do I define "real" mountain?  It's something I would climb on my own for training, for enjoyment, or with a group of women or friends - sans kids.  It has height gain!  700 metres for this one.  That's almost 2300 feet.  And it's no walk in the park!

Standing on the col. with the Summit behind us. (and we made it to the tippy tippy top)

I climbed Ha Ling Peak in Canmore earlier this summer with some girlfriends and the idea that Noah would climb the same mountain with me later this year was unfathomable!

Climbing the Summit Ridge
Scrambling near the summit

How did we work up to a big climb?  We didn't really.  We spent the summer biking and then just decided one day that we would try to hike something big - and see what happened.

Summit Yoga on Ha Ling Peak

How did Noah do?  Amazing!  Unbelievably amazing.  There was barely any complaining or whining, he fell once or twice on the way down only, and he was brave the whole time.  In fact, I can quote my husband as saying:
"Next time we're going to have to choose a harder mountain."
Dad and Son making their way down the scree at the top of Ha Ling

 Suggestions for families wanting to do something like this:
  • Lots of candy and snack breaks.  We stopped at every switch back on the way up.
  • Make it FUN!  We played trail hide and seek in the middle of the switch backs when Noah grew bored.
  • Go with friends.  Though we lost our friends half way up when our paces became too different, it was still nice to know they were out there with us.
  • Bring bike gloves for the descent, long pants, and as many layers as you can put on between the rock and your child's skin.
  • Take it easy the next day!! Noah was a wreck the following day.  Mountain biking was not a good idea.
Big Mountains!  The day has come.
The Spray Valley below us on the steep descent off Ha Ling

Next steps:  Noah just  completed a 3 day backcountry trip with a total distance of 38km (almost 24 miles) and climbed another big mountain.  In a two day stretch, he climbed a total of 1100 meters (3600 feet) and we think he's a rock star. It looks like we're ready for the big trips again that we had put on hold over the past five years and we can't be happier!  Bring on the Adventure!!

My Strong Adventure Boy

For more information on the scramble of Ha Ling Peak in Canmore, visit the Trail Peak website or check with a Kananaskis Visitor Centre. Here is a trail map from the Alberta Parks website and here's the link to the trailhead on Google Maps.

Final Photos:

Ha Ling Summit with Canmore below
My boys!  Love.
The Mighty Kids who Climbed Ha Ling with Noah
My Boo!  Superman!
No better place to spend the day!

For more suggestions on First Summits with kids in the Rockies, check out these stories:


  1. The feeling when you look over the top and see Canmore below is incredible! Wow!

    1. Thanks. It was pretty incredible to get up there with my son.

  2. Well done, your each blog is Really so Helpful

  3. Fantastic! I love the gorgeous scenic photos and it seems like you guys had a great time. The tips will definitely come in handy for many families.

    1. Thanks Candy. Let me know if you're ever in the area.