Summit search: 8-year-old now youngest climber known to have scaled Baldy |

Summit search: 8-year-old now youngest climber known to have scaled Baldy

Standing atop Mt. Craig in Grand Lake in 2009 are, from left, Grace Knight, 12, Mark Knight, 10, Dahlia Byles, 8, and Oliver Byles, 10, with their parents. Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake can be seen in the background.
Kirk Byles / Courtesy photo

When it comes to finding the youngest climbers to summit Mt. Craig in Grand Lake, four new adventurers have taken the lead.

Responding to an article in the Sky-Hi News about siblings Brianna, 11, and Mason McCarthy, 13, potentially being the youngest to reach the top, reader Kirk Byles shared that his young children had completed the climb with friends over a decade earlier.

In 2009, Byles’ family and the Knight family took a hiking trip together to Mt. Craig, known locally as Mt. Baldy.

All four children on the trip, including Dahlia Byles, who was 8 years old at the time, and her 10-year-old brother Oliver with their friends Mark Knight, 10, and Grace Knight, 12, reached new heights atop Baldy’s peak.

“It was a great trip,” Kirk Byles told the Sky-Hi News.

Byles’ assessment seems to hold up a dozen years later and pairs well with reports from the McCarthy family, who had plenty of enthusiastic things to say about their August ascent despite the challenges of the climb.

Getting to Mt. Craig, the hike starts at the East Inlet Trailhead taking slightly under 9 miles to get to Lake Verna at the base of Mt. Craig.

From Lake Verna, Baldy’s slope is a steep and trail-less trip to reach the 12,007 foot peak, which offers unparalleled views of Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park and more.

No official records exist through Rocky Mountain National Park or the Grand Lake Area Historical Society documenting the people who have summited Mt. Craig, so naming the youngest climber can only be done through memories and photo evidence.

At this point, the newspaper knows of six climbers under 13 who have topped Baldy, and the youngest among them was 8 years old.

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