Selah Schneiter, a 10-year-old, has become the youngest known person to climb the El Capitan rock face in Yosemite National Park. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, she managed to do so in just five days’ time.
From June 7 to June 12, Selah, her father Mike Schneiter, and a friend of her dad scaled to the peak of El Capitan. Overall, it’s 3,000 vertical feet to the top, and the Yosemite website calls it “one of the world’s ultimate challenges for climbers.”
According to Insider, many adult climbers also take five days to complete the climb, so the fact that Selah was able to match that as a 10-year-old is impressive, to say the least.
So, how did she manage to tackle such a feat? She had an important motto in mind throughout her journey up the rock formation:
“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,” she told ABC30 News.
You can see the interview in a tweet from the ABC World News Now Twitter account:
YOUNG MOUNTAIN CLIMBER: Meet 10-year-old Selah, who just became the youngest person ever to scale El Capitan. While she's 3000 feet above Yosemite National Park, @willganss has the story safely on the ground. pic.twitter.com/A4ozoTYrGd
— ABC World News Now (@abcWNN) June 18, 2019
Not surprisingly, 10-year-old Selah told NBC’s “Today” that reaching the top was “just really overwhelming” and “really emotional.”
Of course, her dad was extremely proud of her accomplishment, telling “Today,” “I’m super proud of her just to see how big her heart was and how strong she was,” he said.
El Capitan became well-known outside of the climbing community thanks to the 2018 documentary, “Free Solo,” which charted professional adventure rock climber Alex Honnold‘s ascent up the rock face without safety gear or ropes.
After several attempts over the years, Honnold became the first person to ever free solo climb El Capitan in 2017. You can watch the trailer for “Free Solo” here”
Honnold congratulated Selah in a video message shared by “Today.”
“Hey Selah, nice work on El Cap, pretty impressive,” Honnold said. “You might not know, but I actually got to watch you a little bit from the meadow…it was pretty incredible to see you up there and so, well done.”
It seems like climbing El Capitan is something Selah was born to do, considering her parents are climbers and even met while climbing it 15 years ago. (Schneiter gave his wife “a peck on the cheek” when they reached the top, he said.)
Climbers don’t just ascend El Capitan on a whim. Selah’s climb actually took quite a bit of training and preparation. The family told “Today” the climb took a year of planning.
“She talked about it really for a number of years,” her father told Today. “We started kind of hatching a plan, like if we’re going to do this, you need to do a series of steps, like goals to get there. I said, ‘Well, if we can kinda get to that point where I feel like we’re ready, we can give it a go.'”
He continued, “She just did great preparing for it, training for it. I really felt like, OK, maybe we have a chance … Just go give it a shot. We could always come down if it wasn’t working.”
But clearly, the timing was right for Selah to accomplish a major goal. And once she had, she chose the best way to celebrate — by eating pizza, of course.
For many reasons, the parents described the moment as “special,” and there’s no denying that it most certainly was.
We can’t wait to see what hurdles Selah will overcome next. Because this little girl — like all little girls — can achieve anything she puts her mind to!