8-Year-Old Rock Climber Becomes the Youngest to Ascend El Capitan
A brand-new rock climbing record has been set in Yosemite National Park as 8-year-old Sam Baker became the youngest person to ascend the famed 3,000-foot rock face of El Capitan.
Sam began the journey on Tuesday with his father, Joe Baker, as part of a four-person team to climb the rock face. On Friday, the team finished the feat, with Sam posting a photo of him and his father at the summit.
“What an amazing week! I’m so proud of Sam,” Joe Baker wrote in a post on Facebook. “He completed the youngest rope ascent of ElCap!”
The team’s strategy up the rock wall included one person climbing ahead of the crew and setting the ropes for others to follow. Sam even took on the challenge of climbing ahead and setting some of the ropes. During the night, the group would set up tents using ropes on the rock face:
With Joe and Sam on the rock wall for four days, mother Ann Baker watched in the valley below. Earlier Friday morning, the group hung a banner on the wall that read “I love you, Mom, almost there.”
The Baker family, who lives in Colorado, has long been into the rock climbing lifestyle. According to Joe, Sam has been in a climbing harness since before he was born. The two have been climbing together for years, recently completing Moonlight Buttress in Utah’s Zion National Park. The past 18 months have been spent training to climb the 3,000 rock wall in Yosemite.
Mom and dad are proud of their son, accomplishing a feat with a smile on his face.
“He seems really happy to be up there and spirits are high,” Ann said.
“He did terrific on it and really showed us that he could handle the exposure,” Joe said.