Rowan Taintor on top of Mount McGinnis on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Shireen Taintor)

Rowan Taintor on top of Mount McGinnis on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Shireen Taintor)

First-grader summits five mountains in Juneau

The feat took just over two months

One local first-grader took his love of hiking to new extreme elevations.

Rowan Taintor, 6, summited five peaks in Juneau within two months this summer: Mount Juneau, Jumbo, Roberts, McGinnis and Thunder Mountain. The five peaks, known informally as the “Big 5,” stand between 2,900 and 4,200 feet.

[Photos: Treadwell Arena opens for season]

“I just like exercise and well, (the) view,” Rowan said outside his family’s North Douglas house on Tuesday. “You get to see a good view at the top and it’s really fun.”

The idea came to Rowan at the beginning of the summer while they were hiking up Mount Juneau, said Rowan’s dad, Matt Taintor.

Rowan Taintor on top of Mount Roberts on Monday July 8, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Shireen Taintor)

Rowan Taintor on top of Mount Roberts on Monday July 8, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Shireen Taintor)

“We were hiking with a guy that had said he planned on hiking the ‘Big 5’ this summer and that just kind of stuck in his head,” Matt said. “And so whenever I had a day off and it was a nice day, he wanted to climb a mountain. He kept wanting to climb McGinnis and I told him we better do the four shorter ones first to make sure that both of us were in shape to do it.”

The duo conquered Mount Jumbo, Mount Roberts and Thunder Mountain in July, and finally Mount McGinnis last Friday. Just like the previous four mountains, Rowan had no problem with McGinnis — the tallest and longest of the five peaks — and was the first one in the hiking group to the top.

Rowan Taintor on top of Mount Juneau on Thursday, May 30, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Shireen Taintor)

Rowan Taintor on top of Mount Juneau on Thursday, May 30, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Shireen Taintor)

Rowan said sandwiches and “gummy worms and gummy rabbits and jelly beans” fueled his adventures.

It turned out Jumbo — not McGinnis — was the most difficult hike, according to Rowan.

“You have to do a lot of scrambling over the roots and rocks,” said Rowan, who completed all five hikes under his own power.

Rowan Taintor on top of Mount Jumbo on Friday, July 5, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Shireen Taintor)

Rowan Taintor on top of Mount Jumbo on Friday, July 5, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Shireen Taintor)

Matt said the challenge spoke of his son’s mental toughness.

“Kids can do a lot more than we give them credit for I believe, both physically and intellectually,” Matt said. “I think it more has to do with wanting to do it than that ability physically.”

Rowan Taintor on top of Thunder Mountain on Thursday, July 25, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Shireen Taintor)

Rowan Taintor on top of Thunder Mountain on Thursday, July 25, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Shireen Taintor)

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.


More in Sports

The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons girls basketball team comes onto the floor Saturday. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Falcons girls soar over North Pole in final home court game at Thunder Mountain High School

Team at top of conference entering playoffs for last time, as merger with JDHS set for next year.

Hydrologist Heather Best rides her fat bike in the White Mountains National Recreation Area north of Fairbanks. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Wet overflow a winter hazard in Alaska

While following a snowmachine trail recently, my dog and I came to… Continue reading

As a teenager, shooting hoops was a major stress reliever for the author. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Lund)
I went to the woods: The reward of risk

One of the easiest things for athletes, coaches, former athletes, former coaches… Continue reading

Sapsucker wells on willows attract hummingbirds as well as insects. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Willows and the ecosystem

I recently found willow catkins just emerging from their bud covers, getting… Continue reading

Thunder Mountain High School’s Thomas Baxter and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Alwen Carrillo embrace at their end of Saturday’s game at JDHS that may have been the final local game between the two schools due to a consolidation of them tentatively approved by the school board starting next year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
In Juneau’s potentially final crosstown basketball showdown, both schools win

TMHS girls and JDHS boys prevail on night filled with dual-school spirit as consolidation looms.

Thunder Mountain High School seniors for the boys’ basketball team, their families and other supporters fill the Thunderdome for a Senior Night recognition before Friday’s game against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. It was possibly the final home game for the Falcons team due to a pending decision to put all high school students at JDHS starting with the next school year. The Falcons girls’ team will play their final home games of the season — and possibly ever — next Friday and Saturday against North Pole High School. (Screenshot from NFHS Network)
TMHS boys prevail in possibly their final home game ever against JDHS, with merger of schools pending

Girls play final home games next weekend; both local schools play each other again tonight at JDHS.

Iditarod winner Brent Sass poses for photos with lead dogs Morello, left, and Slater after winning the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska, March 15, 2022. A second musher has been disqualified from the world’s most famous sled dog race. The governing body of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race said in a one-sentence statement late Thursday night, Feb. 22, 2024, that it has withdrawn 2022 champion Brent Sass just days before the start of this year’s race. (Anne Raup/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
Assault claims roil Iditarod sled dog race as 2 top mushers are disqualified, then 1 reinstated

Claims of violence against women are roiling the world’s most famous sled… Continue reading

Forest Wagner visits Kanuti Hot Springs, located in Interior Alaska not far from the Arctic Circle. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Alaska hot springs, far and wide

After a few hours of skiing through deep snow, Forest Wagner and… Continue reading

A female varied thrush pauses to look around during her foraging bout. (Photo by Helen Unruh)
On the Trails: Early signs of spring

The ground is heavily blanketed with snow. The snow berms in my… Continue reading

Most Read