I'm planning to go to the Austrian Alps with my 6-year-old daughter in one week. We would like to go on Großer Priel, 2515 m. The plan is to go for three days (sleeping two nights in a tent on a snow).
She has enough experience (for her age) going to the mountains. Also she is physically strong. She has a winter sleeping bag, and it was already tested during autumn.
I would like to ask if there are any special reasons why not to go with small kid to mountains in winter? For example, from medical point of view. Maybe small kids could immediately freeze.
Because of the big interest in this topic I'll write a short summary based on the answers:
First of all I decided to reconsider the route!
The following risks await a kid in the mountains in winter based on their importance (according to my opinion). Most important listed first:
- Inability to function alone. Kid should be, let's say, self-contained during an emergency situation (should be able to call emergency\setup emergency locator, should be able to carry a sleeping bag and emergency shelter all the time, should be able to find a suitable place and set it up in a wind\storm, be mentally tough, etc.).
- Bigger risk of hypothermia because of small body volume.
- Experience of the guide.
- Deep snow is very hard for short legs.
- Equipment. Proper equipment in mountains is a must.
- Risk of avalanches and dependency on weather. There is no direct correlation between kids and avalanches/weather. It's a danger for everyone.
There are a lot of comments about mountain experience. This topic is not to judge my experience and the experience of my daughter. But anyway, I would like to share what experience my daughter has:
- I decided to reconsider the route, so don't be afraid.
- All the kids are different. This is very important! My daughter is physically very strong. She is doing 15 push-ups and 3 pull ups. She can swim a swimming pool length under the water on one breath.
- She has experience sleeping at 2500 m in a tent during autumn.
- Close to our apartment we have a forest and small hills. So we are training to walk with heavy backpacks at night. She is very excited that we are going somewhere.