10-year-old climbs one of the most difficult peaks in the world: El Capitan

Story by CBC Kids News • Published 2019-07-15 09:00


We're profiling extraordinary kids doing extraordinary things.
Know someone you think should be profiled on our site?
Email us at cbckidsnews@cbc.ca and tell us what makes them so extraordinary.

Who is she?


Selah Schneiter


Glenwood Springs, Colorado



Claim to fame

At 10 years old, Selah Schneiter has achieved what most experienced climbers dream of one day conquering: El Capitan in California's Yosemite National Park.

Selah and Mike Schneiter pause to smile at the camera while climbing El Capitan.

Selah Schneiter, her dad, Mike Schneiter (pictured above), and a family friend climbed "the Nose" of El Capitan, which is the most well-known route. (Michael Schneiter/The Associated Press)

And she may very well be the youngest person to ever make the climb.

The Colorado girl set out to scale the peak with her dad and a family friend, who are both experienced climbers.

El Capitan is a massive rock formation that stands at a height of 910 metres.

She reached the top in only five days.

Selah sits on a cot with her dad hundreds of feet above the ground.

Selah had trained months in advance ahead of making the climb. (Michael Schneiter/The Associated Press)

That meant that she had to get used to sleeping in a hanging cot on the side of a rock face — hundreds of metres above the ground — at night.

But that didn’t scare her.

Selah was more concerned with changes in weather, because big storms would mean they would have to come down.

Selah climbing El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

It took Selah five days to do one of the world’s most difficult peaks — El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. (Michael Schneiter/The Associated Press)

This soon-to-be Grade 5 student is no stranger to climbing.

Her parents are both avid climbers, and she has been climbing for as long as she can remember.

Her family plans their vacations around rock climbing and they even have a climbing wall set up in their garage.

It was Selah’s idea to take on the massive rock formation in Yosemite National Park and she has been bugging her parents for years to let her do it.

To prepare for her journey, she trained for nine months to make sure she was mentally and physically capable.

Selah holds up a carbinger clip.

Selah was born into a family of climbers and has been climbing for as long as she can remember. (Michael Schneiter/The Associated Press)

When she reached the top, she said she was overwhelmed and emotional, but “also kind of sad because it was over.”

To celebrate her huge accomplishment, she got to eat pizza and ice cream — “chocolate with caramel sauce and cherries,” she said.

Selah Schneiter looks up to camera as she climbs El Capitano.

Their motto was, “How do you eat an elephant? Small bites. One pitch at a time ... one move at a time ... one day at a time.” (Michael Schneiter/The Associated Press)

In a media interview, Selah said she wants to return to Yosemite to do El Capitan again.

But next time, she wants to climb it with her younger brother.

“Our big motto was: How do you eat an elephant? Small bites. One pitch at a time ... one move at a time ... one day at a time.”

With files from The Associated Press

Was this story worth reading?