Selah Schneiter was born to climb.
In June, the Glenwood Springs, CO 10-year-old became the youngest person ever to climb the Nose route of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
The climb took her five days and she did it with her dad Mike Schneiter, and his climbing buddy Mark Regier.
“I feel like it’s not as amazing for me as other people because I’ve been climbing my whole life,” Selah said.
It might not be as impressive to Selah, but climbing ‘El Cap’ is no joke for any climber.
Before 1958, people thought climbing 3,000 vertical feet to the summit was impossible. Before Selah broke the record, it was held by 11-year-old Scott Cory when he climbed it in 2001.
It’s really really crazy for me. I live in Glenwood Springs, population of about 9,000. It’s really different for me but I’m just trying to go with it and then just keep climbing.”Selah Schneiter
Ever since she could crawl, she has used the climbing wall in her garage to help her learn how to walk and climb.
“I would go along the climbing wall and I would use it to kind of help me walk while holding onto the bottom holds,” Selah said. “When I was little my parents put me in a full-body harness and started climbing up the rock.”
“Because my wife and I are climbers, we were interested in getting her climbing cause that’s what we love to do,” Mike said.
For most parents, climbing one of the most dangerous mountains in the world with their 10-year-old daughter might seem dangerous. However, Mike had climbed El Cap four times before and was confident in his experience and in his oldest child.
“Especially being a climbing guide, and an experienced climber I was really aware of the risks,” Mike said. “I wasn’t super worried about the risks though, I was more worried about other parties being slow, people dropping stuff, it getting too hot, if we run out of food and water, storms coming in.”
Now Selah and Mike will be able to share the history they made as a memory that they will never forget.
“We had a lot of time just to hang out together, talk with one another. That, I think, became the real emotional experience and take-away,” Mike said.
After word got out, Selah’s accomplishment was known by everyone as she was getting national attention. Including a trip to New York City to be on the Today Show.
But, the craziest part is that Mike and Selah weren’t planning on telling anyone about what they had just done.
Originally we were just going to go climb it and just go home. We weren’t going to say anything.”Mike Schneiter
However, Mike’s wife, Joy, wanted to share with her friends on social media what had happened. Not to mention Mike had a writer-friend who had to tell the story.
“He knew we were in the Valley, but he didn’t know Selah was with us. Then when he found out Selah was with us and climbing the Nose, he was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I got to write about this.’ I thought, ‘Okay, you’re my friend. I guess.’ I thought it would stop there, but it has just grown.”
At the end of the day, the Schneiter family was just glad shed some light onto the world.
“Originally when we started to get attention on the first day, I was like, ‘Oh, we don’t need to blow up,” Mike said. “But, then from the news stations that were calling us wanting an interview, you start to see what’s on the news. It’s car accidents and bad stuff. So I was like, ‘Well, it feels good to share a happy story.’”
A happy story that ended with celebratory black olive and mushroom pizza, ice cream, and a dip in the Merced River.
But now, how do you top a climb that rewrote the history books?
“It would probably be to climb El Cap with the entire family. My wife, all four kids, that would be dreamy someday.” Mike said.
Mike and Joy Schneiter own Glenwood Travel Guides in Glenwood Springs, CO where they share their passion for climbing with everyone.
They also do work on WesternSlope as they took over Colorado Alpine & Desert Adventures.