There is a mile long (not mile high!) waterfall on a mountain not far from our house that I have climbed several times now. The biggest dangers are slipping and falling (15 feet in some places), getting a deep cut on sharp rock, and, remotely, getting bit by a poisonous viper (they like the water).
I decided though that it really wasn’t so dangerous and to go ahead and climb it with my eight year old son. We wore shorts and t-shirts and coral reef shoes that provide excellent traction and remain light and flexible in water. We wore rough leather biking gloves and helmets. The helmets weren’t very comfortable but prudent and the gloves are fingerless and worked perfectly. There was no need for hooks or ropes and I read up on the viper beforehand in case of a bite. My son hiked ahead of me, and he was light enough that should he slip I would have been able to catch him. In the very worst scenario I would have broken his fall. Everything went smooth. The water was gorgeous and we had a blast.
I received a lot of criticism from many quarters for taking him on this adventure, but I also received a lot of respect from my son for providing him with the challenge. Personally, I never apologize for nature or it’s beauty, and while I see the need to calculate risk, I also realize that there is some danger involved in every single thing you do on any corner of this earth. I am only too happy to share with my children the wonders and joy of nature; their school sure won’t.