8-year-old boy becomes youngest person to climb California’s El Capitan

Oct 29, 2022, 8:10 AM
Sam Baker was in a climbing harness "before he could walk" his dad said. (Photo courtesy of Joe Bak...
Sam Baker was in a climbing harness "before he could walk" his dad said. (Photo courtesy of Joe Baker)
(Photo courtesy of Joe Baker)

(CNN) — An 8-year-old boy became the youngest person to finish climbing El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park on Friday, according to his father, who has been by his side and cheering him on since the pair began their journey earlier this week.

Sam Adventure Baker achieved the feat Friday evening, his father said in a Facebook post.

“What an amazing week! I’m so proud of Sam,” Joe Baker wrote in the post. “He completed the youngest rope ascent of ElCap!”

The duo have been scaling the rock since Tuesday as part of a four-person team, where one person climbs ahead of the crew and sets the ropes for others to follow.

Earlier Friday, the pair told CNN they would hang a banner on their way up that says, “I love you, Mom, almost there.”

Rock climbing has long been a part of the family’s activities — Sam was “in a harness before he could walk,” his father said, adding that his wife is also in love with the sport.

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.

After resting in a double sleeping bag, Joe and Sam will put in an eight-mile hike Saturday away from the face of El Capitan, according to the Facebook post.

“We will be in afterglow for days,” Joe said.

El Capitan stands at more than 3,000 feet from valley ground, according to the Yosemite National Park website.

And throughout the four-day climb, Joe expected his son would cry “because it’s hard. It’s emotional, but he has been so tough and worked through all of it.”

Sam’s bravery is hardly a surprise. The young boy has been training take on the historical feat for at least 18 months, his father said. The pair had also climbed Moonlight Buttress in Utah’s Zion National Park, which reassured his father that Sam was ready for El Capitan.

“He did terrific on it and really showed us that he could handle the exposure,” Joe said.

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8-year-old boy becomes youngest person to climb California’s El Capitan