8-Year-Old Boy Becomes Youngest Person To Climb Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

An 8-year-old boy is making national headlines after he became the youngest person to climb Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan on Friday (October 28th).

Joe Baker, the father of Sam Baker, revealed in a Facebook post more details about Sam’s El Capitan climb. “We made it! And then had a little party with our disco ball. My wife accidentally brought up our double sleeping bag and so Sam wanted to end our adventure with a cuddle. What an amazing week! I’m so proud of Sam.  He completed the youngest rope ascent of ElCap! In a few years, he might be back breaking more records. We will be in afterglow for days. Tomorrow we hike down 8 miles.”

Earlier in the day, Sam and Joe Baker told CNN they would hang a banner on their way up El Capitan. “I love you, Mom, almost there,” the sign reads. The family further plains that rock climbing has been a part of their activities. Sam’s father said the 8-year-old was “in a harness before he could walk.” 

Sam’s mother, Ann Baker, also told the media outlet that she and her husband have been supportive of the child’s adventures. Climbing El Capitan is one adventure he really wanted to do. “He seems really happy to be up there and spirits are high,” she explained. 

8-Year-Old’s Father Opens Up About The El Capitan Journey

Sam’s father admitted that throughout the four-day climb, he was expecting his son to cry. “Because it’s hard. It’s emotional,” Joe stated. However, that seems to be the opposite of what Sam’s doing. “He has been so tough and worked through all of it.”

Sam’s parents also noted that the 8-year-old has been training to take on other historical landmarks for at least 18 months. The duo recently climbed Moonlight Buttress in Utah’s Zion National Park. The climb reassured Joe that Sam was ready for El Capitan. “He did terrific on it and really showed us that he could handle the exposure,” Joe added.

How Tall is Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan?

According to Yosemite National Park’s website, El Capitan is more than 3,000 feet above the valley floor. It is also 2.5 times as tall as the Empire State Building and three times as high as the tip of the Eiffel Tower. “Coming around the corner and having El Capitan suddenly fill your field of vision sometimes moves people to tears,” the website reads. “It is a beacon for visitors, a muse for photographers, and one of the world’s ultimate challenges for climbers.”

The National Parks website also reveals that El Capitan is best seen from the landmark’s meadow. It was noted that the meadow provides an amazing view of Lower and Middle Cathedral Rock, and the Cathedral Spires.