The 8-year-old Colorado boy who set out this week to become the youngest person to climb El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park is halfway to the summit, his father – and climbing buddy – said.
Sam Adventure Baker and his father, Joe Baker, started the trek on Tuesday and the trip is expected to last four days. They plan to camp one night at the top of El Capitan and then descend 8 miles on the fifth day.
“We got into our sacks on the ledge of our port. Sam is off like a light,” Joe Baker said in a Facebook post at 1 a.m. PT Thursday. “Still a lot of fun to be had. Tomorrow we have another big day going to our next hang camp. Sam showed so much courage today. I was amazed at his stamina and endurance in the night. We’ve already crossed the halfway point. We’re going up.”
Joe said the climbing experience has been life-changing for him and his son.
El Capitan, the park’s iconic vertical rock, rises more than 3,000 feet above the valley floor. That’s 2.5 times taller than the Empire State Building, according to the Yosemite National Park website. El Capitan is a Class 5 climb, according to Rei.com, the highest and most difficult classification.
“He seems very happy up there and in high spirits,” Sam’s mother, Ann Baker, told CNN in an interview.
Ann said Sam grew up in a climbing family and has always been “100% supportive of Sam’s climbing adventures.”
Ann and Joe fell in love with rock climbing and Sam “was in a harness before he could walk,” Joe told CNN.
After about a third of the way up El Capitan, Sam and his dad “ate Mac and Cheese and watched the first half of The Lion King,” before camping for the night, Joe said in a Wednesday night post.
“The stars are so bright that they cast shadows as they dim beautifully behind the Kaptian that hangs above us. Upcoming pitches look a lot steeper,” Joe posted.
Sam had been training to tackle El Capitan “every day for the last 18 months,” his father said.
The father and son are climbing in a group of four, which means one person climbs ahead of the others and places the ropes for the others to follow.