An eight-year-old boy has become the youngest person to ascend the terrifying sheer rock wall of El Capitan in America’s Yosemite national park, his father said in a Facebook post.
Sam Adventure Baker has been going up the huge cliff with his father since Tuesday. The duo are part of a four-person team, where one person climbs ahead and sets the ropes for others to follow. Nights are spent sleeping on the rock face.
“I’m so proud of Sam. He completed the youngest rope ascent of El Cap! In a few years he might be be back breaking more records,” Joe Baker wrote.
Sam’s mother, Ann Baker, told CNN they’ve been supportive of Sam’s adventures. “He seems really happy to be up there and spirits are high,” she said.
Ascending El Capitan, a rock formation rising 3,000ft above the Yosemite valley, is a daunting task for even the most experienced climbers and a cherished goal for many in the global climbing community.
In 2019 Selah Schneiter, 10, scaled the massive climb, setting the then record for the youngest person to ever do so.
However, the achievements of such young children is not without controversy. Some climbers say the method they usually use – known as “jugging” or a rope ascent – is not true climbing as the climber uses the rope to go upwards, not really interacting much with the rock face.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported one long-time Yosemite climber – who monitors people making ascents of El Capitan – as saying: “This is a publicity hoax.”
“The guides do everything that I’ve seen… That’s why this is not a climb,” Tom Evans told the newspaper.