8-year-old boy Sam Baker sets out to become youngest to climb towering El Capitan in California

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, California — If your parents call you “adventure,” they were probably hoping you’d do some adventurous things.

Sam Adventure Baker understood his mission.

The 8-year-old from Colorado sets out on Monday to become the youngest person to summit El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park.

The voyage is expected to take four days “with you hanging by your fingers or by your anchors,” Sam’s father Joe Baker told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield on Sunday.

Sam and Joe Baker will climb in a team of four. One person climbs ahead of the others and sets the ropes for the others to follow. His father said Sam will try to lead one of the sections or “pitches” of the climb.

El Capitan — the park’s iconic vertical rock formation — sits more than 3,000 feet above the valley floor. That’s 2.5 times the height of 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 of all classifications.

“The routes are intended for experienced climbers who train regularly and have a lot of natural ability,” the website says.

Sam Baker was born into a climbing family, his father said. Joe and his wife (Sam’s mom) fell in love with rock climbing, he told CNN, and his son “was in a harness before he could walk.”

A website aptly named SamAdventure.com, which features SamAdventure.com and highlights Sam’s climbs, says the young climber mastered his first multi-pitch route at age 3 – at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

When he was 6 years old, Sam tackled the Lost Arrow Spire, a three-pitch climb that begins 2,500 feet above Yosemite Valley. Only another 6-year-old – world-class professional climber Tommy Caldwell – had ever done it.

While making it to the top of El Capitan would set records, that’s not Sam’s motivation for attempting the climb. “I’m looking forward to climbing with (my) daddy the most,” Sam told CNN.

Something else Sam is looking forward to – lasagna.

While hanging from a portaledge — a nylon hammock suspended thousands of feet in the air on the cliff face — Sam and Joe and their fellow climbers will eat lasagna, which they cook from small packets on a gas stove.

They’re also taking a chess set with them on their trip because, along with his success at rock climbing, Sam is “getting really good at chess,” his father said.

Aside from the lasagna and chess, Sam says his favorite part of climbing is “getting to the top.”

Joe Baker told CNN the weather is looking good for their summit — a little chilly but clear skies and no rain. Perfect conditions for a “great adventure. A great family adventure,” he said.

https://6abc.com/sam-baker-youngest-person-to-climb-el-capitan-californias-yosemite-park-world-record/12372752/ 8-year-old boy Sam Baker sets out to become youngest to climb towering El Capitan in California

Alley Einstein

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