Mountain climbing natural for Craig family
February 13, 2013
“Everybody said you’ll stop once you have kids. Nope. They went right on with us.”
— Kim Patterson about her family’s climbing and travel adventures
Kim Patterson said mountain climbing is in her son Kessler's blood.
How could it not be? He was scaling mountains even before he was born.
Kim said she completed the famed Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal when she was 5 1/2 months pregnant with Kessler. The Craig boy went on his first climbing trip with his family when he was 7 months old, traveling to Australia and New Zealand. He was just 5 when he climbed an 18,000-foot mountain in Peru.
Younger sister Shaylee, 8, isn't too far behind. Kim was pregnant with Shaylee when she climbed the highest mountain in Costa Rica. At 1 1/2 years old, Shaylee went with the family climbing on Easter Island.
Ten-year-old Kessler's most recent travels took him to Nepal in December, where he climbed Chhukung Ri, to the Ama Dablam base camp, to the Island Peak base camp and on to the Mount Everest base camp with his dad, Scott.
The duo spent 28 days climbing in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal.
"It's natural for my family," said Kessler, a fifth-grader at Sandrock Elementary School.
Kim and Scott began traveling together in 1996, and their passion for adventure took off from there.
"Everybody said you'll stop once you have kids," Kim said. "Nope. They went right on with us."
Kessler and Shaylee have taken to traveling and climbing just like their parents. A look inside their home reveals the remarkable number of places they've been.
The two young world travelers and their parents have filled their home with regalia and mementos from their travels. Photos of mountain ranges, worry dolls, figurines, masks and rocks line the home's shelves.
The family has accumulated a collection of stories throughout the years, as well.
Kessler talked this week about beating a well-known Sherpa up the mountain to reach Everest Base Camp first.
"My toes were cold so we ran up there in an hour," Kessler said. "When we got back down he almost collapsed because he was sick trying to keep up."
Although he was happy to go there, Kessler said he has no desire to summit Mount Everest, the tallest peak in the world.
"It's too crowded and too expensive," Kessler said.
However, he does have ambitions to climb other mountains in Nepal and Pakistan, including K2, the second-highest mountain on earth.
Even at the young age of 10, Kessler already has learned that each mountain poses its own set of unique challenges.
"In Nepal the wind was really strong so the snow and ice was mostly blown away," Kessler said. "The altitude makes it hard, though."
Although December's trip to Nepal was his favorite adventure to date, Kessler said hiking as a family — and with his sister in particular — is what he enjoys the most.
"Hiking with Shaylee is the best," Kessler said.
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