Sequoia National Park

Seven People, One Mountain, and Hundreds of Kids Getting Outdoors

By Michael Lanza

I first tied my son, Nate, into a climbing rope when he was four or five years old. As I stood next to him at the base of an easy rock climb in Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve, belaying him on a top-rope, he gazed up at the wall of granite rising more than 100 feet above him and started scrabbling upward. He got maybe six feet off the ground—I could still reach up and touch him—then stopped and asked me, “Is this as high as Mount Everest, Dad?” I said, “Yup, I’m pretty sure it is.” Satisfied with his accomplishment, he told me, “Okay, I’ll come down now.” And I lowered him back to the ground.

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Climb Mount Whitney With Me and Help Kids Get Outdoors

By Michael Lanza

I still have a few spaces open on my team’s guided climb of the highest peak in the Lower 48, Mount Whitney in California’s High Sierra. Three readers of The Big Outside have signed up to join my 15-year-old son, Nate, and me for a four-day ascent of the Mountaineers Route on Mount Whitney, April 15-18. We’re doing it to raise money for Big City Mountaineers, an outstanding organization that introduces urban kids to the outdoors through backpacking and other adventure-based programs.

But the deadline is fast approaching to register for my climbing team and join me on a guided climb of California’s Mount Whitney.

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A young girl at Kaweah Gap in Sequoia National Park.

Photo Gallery: Raising Outdoors-Loving Kids

By Michael Lanza

As my 14-year-old son, Nate, and I paddled our kayaks toward one of the class III rapids on the Payette River in southwest Idaho, I suggested he run it ahead of me: My son’s knowledge of the Payette’s rapids, and skill at paddling them, both outstrip mine. He grinned at me and responded, “Don’t worry. I wouldn’t let you go in first.”

Great sense of humor, that kid of mine.

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Banner Peak above Thousand Island Lake on the John Muir Trail in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of California's High Sierra.

Ask Me: What Clothing Do You Recommend for August in the High Sierra?

Hi Michael,

I have been enjoying your adventure posts immensely; keep up the great work!

I lead hikes for the local chapter of the Sierra Club in Tucson, and in mid-August we’ll be doing a 7-day backpacking adventure in the High Sierra. We’ll be accessing the John Muir Trail, with elevations ranging from 9,000 to 12,000 feet. How cold can it get at this time of year and what clothes/protection would you recommend? Would a light windbreaker over a fleece with gloves and hat be sufficient? Or would you recommend a down jacket, etc.?

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