Yosemite Valley has a new el capitan 

Yosemite Valley has a new el capitan 

    By Pamela Jolly  November 9th, 2022

    School students are climbing great heights in nature but not without stirring a little controversy amongst the climbing community.


    Meet 8-year-old Sam Adventure Baker. He just conquered El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, the world famous national park in California, USA. El Capitan is a gruelling multi-day climb of over 2,000 metres to reach the summit. 

    According to his dad, Sam has been climbing since he was three years old and in October 2022 became the youngest climber to make it to the top.  

    The three-day climb required Sam and his dad to sleep on the cliff face in a cot suspended in place by ropes. Considering these undertakings, it’s surprising to learn Sam’s not the only primary school age student to complete the climb. He just beat out nine year old Pearl Johnson and ten year old Selah Scheiter who ascended El Capitan in 2019. 

    Climbing purists have downplayed the record. They argue that Sam’s record used a technique called ‘jugging’, where a lead climber goes ahead to put ropes in place that the climber then uses a handheld device to move up, which they claim is an easier assisted method to ascend. Even as experienced climbers downplay how much was ‘climbed’ by Sam, many parents would be sharing his dad’s excitement as they understand getting kids off screens, and out into nature, is a feat worth celebrating.  

    For all the climbing enthusiasts, website 8a.nu has also reported youngsters smashing challenging climbs without the assistance of jugging in 2022. Spanish climbers Geila Macia and Roc Verges Sole, both aged thirteen, as well as nine year old Ziheng Qiu from China, have successfully conquered difficult ‘pro’ rated climbs equivalent to an Australian 33 or 34 rating (approximately).  

    As inspiring and fantastic as all these young climbers are, it’s important to remember you don’t need to dangle from chalky fingers or a rope thousands of metres above the ground to have fun and appreciate nature. Fostering a love of nature in kids can be as simple as planting a tree on Planet Ark’s National Tree Day or going for a walk in your local nature reserve. Some studies have even shown interacting with nature virtually or watching nature documentaries can have positive effects. But perhaps we should keep that knowledge just between us adults.  

    Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


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    Pamela Jolly

    Pamela is a Marketing Communications professional with over 10 years experience working for both agencies and organisations in communications, travel, finance and retail industries. Pamela loves to be in nature riding a bike, skiing, appreciating the trees at her local park or exploring wild places abroad with her family.

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