Tag Archives: Summit For Someone

April 1, 2018 White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

12 Tips For Getting Your Teenager Outdoors With You

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   9 Comments

By Michael Lanza

“That sounds totally boring.” “Other parents don’t force their kids to do things they don’t want to do.” “I hate (fill in the activity).” If you’re a parent of a teenager, you’ve probably heard these responses from your child, or any of an infinite number of variations on them—like a personal favorite that my son, at 14, laid on me: “You get to choose your friends, but you don’t get to choose your family.” If you’re trying to persuade a teen to get outdoors with you—which these days often entails pulling him or her away from an electronic screen to engage in physical activity for hours—your child can summon powers of resistance that conjure mental images of Superman stopping a high-speed train.

Even though my kids, now 17 and 15, have backpacked more trips than they can remember, paddled whitewater rivers and waters from Alaska’s Glacier Bay to Florida’s Everglades and Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River, and skied and rock climbed since they were preschoolers, we still occasionally encounter blowback to our plans to do something outdoors. But we’re usually successful, and our kids look forward to most of our adventures. Here are the reasons why. Continue reading →

May 31, 2016 The East Face of Mount Whitney, John Muir Wilderness, California.

Roof of the High Sierra: A Father-Son Climb of Mount Whitney

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By Michael Lanza

On the long, uphill hike toward the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, in the middle of April, the alpine sun and wind behave like a couple married for far too long, who take their frequent disagreements to extremes that make everyone else uncomfortable. The sun offers us a hug of much-needed warmth one moment, only to later leave us wilting in its inescapable, unrestrained heat. The wind arrives at times precisely when we crave its relief from the sun’s thermal oppression, and at other times entirely unwelcome, an icicle knifing into bone. We alternately wish for and desperately try to avoid both of them.

But at this moment, somewhere well over 11,000 feet above sea level on the east side of California’s 14,505-foot Mount Whitney, the wind is definitely not our friend. And the sun seems willfully deaf to our silent pleas to show us a little more love. Continue reading →

April 25, 2016 Below the East Face of Mount Whitney, High Sierra, California.

3-Minute Read: Climbing Mount Whitney

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By Michael Lanza

At 6 a.m. last Sunday morning, four readers of The Big Outside, my 15-year-old son, Nate, and I, led by three mountain guides from Sierra Mountaineering International, left our high camp at 12,000 feet below the East Face of California’s Mount Whitney en route to climb the Mountaineers Route. I shot the photo above shortly after we left camp. Four-and-a-half hours later, we all stood at 14,505 feet above sea level, atop the highest peak in America outside of Alaska. Continue reading →

February 10, 2016 Nate, me, Cove Lake, Big Boulder Lakes, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

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

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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. Continue reading →

January 9, 2016

Climb Mount Whitney With Me and Help Kids Get Outdoors

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

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.

Continue reading →

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