Selah Schneiter – the youngest person ever to reach the peak of Yosemite’s El Capitan has revealed it was ‘really overwhelming, really emotional’ the moment she realized she’d scaled the difficult California climbing route last Wednesday.
The 10-year-old Colorado girl reflected on her feat as she appeared on TODAY a week after the incredible achievement that the first person to climb 3,000ft to the Nose without ropes has even called ‘impressive’.
Asked how she felt when she reached the top, Schneiter choked up all over again and told the Today hosts: ‘I don’t know. I lot.’
The little girl appeared to hold back tears as she nodded in deep thought, adding it was ‘really overwhelming, really emotional. Yeah’.
Selah Schneiter is seen happy crying in a video from her El Capitan feat, shown on Today
Selah Schneiter told Today in an interview that it was ‘very overwhelming, very emotional’
Her ascent came just days after the one year anniversary of the deaths of two veteran climbers who fell from El Capitan on June 2, 2018
Schneiter shared that the hardest part was getting down because ‘you’re really tired’. Despite the child being with her father Mike and his friend Mark Regier, it was a concern for the 55lb girl’s mother Joy too.
‘I was concerned for her endurance. She’s very little and I know how much work it is to get up the big wall,’ Joy – who fell in love with her daughter’s father while climbing the mountain years back – told TODAY. ‘It’s not just going up 3,000ft, it’s hauling and jugging and sleeping and expose to the sun. It’s lot of energy sapping. So I was worried about her getting tired and wanting to turn back.
‘I knew that they would turn back if they needed to. I knew that Mike — if anyone — Mike is the person to keep her safe up there.’
The girl’s father wasn’t the only on keeping an eye on her.
Star of the Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo, Alex Honnold, shared a special message with Schneiter.
Free Solo’s Alex Honnold called feat ‘impressive’ and revealed her watched her. First person to climb the 3,000ft Nose without ropes is the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary
Her rock-climbing parents also appeared on the show. Dad Mike Schneiter climbed with her. Mother Joy said: ‘I was concerned for her endurance. She’s very little’
TODAY shared footage from the climb last week where Schneiter was ‘scared sometimes’
‘Hey’ Selah. Great work on El Cap. You might not know this but I got to watch you a little bit. I got to see you from the Meadow through a telescope. It was pretty incredible to see you up there. Well done.’
The Glenwood Springs girl spent five days scaling the rock face – where more than two dozen climbers have died.
Following the 31-pitch climb she says in a moment captured on video: ‘I want pizza. I’ve been dreaming about it forever.’
Schneiter’s ascent came days after the one year anniversary of the deaths of two best friends and veteran climbing partners who fell from the perilous summit.
On June 2, 2018, Tim Klein, 42, of Palmdale, California, and Jason Wells, 46, of Boulder, Colorado, plummeted an estimated 1,000 feet from the face of the rock formation.
Investigators said the men were scaling El Capitan’s Salathe Wall with limited gear on what experts described as the easiest section of a route called ‘Freeblast,’ which both men had navigated several times before.
The little girl was exposed to the sun and had to deal with hauling, jugging and sleeping well
Selah’s dad, Mike Schneiter (pictured), and his friend, Mark Regier, accompanied her on her summit
It took the group five days to climb the 31 pitch, 3,000 ft. route on El Capitan in Yosemite
Selah Scneiter is the youngest person on record to navigate the Nose route on El Capitan
Climber Jordan Cannon, who witnessed the fatal accident, recalled hearing Wells scream as he slipped and fell from the cliff side moments before Klein, who was tethered to his partner, was yanked off the steep, granite surface.
‘It was very traumatic,’ Cannon told the San Francisco Chronicle after the incident.
Since 1905, at least 31 climbers have died on El Capitan, including 23 who actually fell to their deaths, according to ‘Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite’ author Charles ‘Butch’ Farabee.
The dangers of rock climbing are nothing new for Schneiter, whose entire family – including her three younger siblings – seems to be obsessed with the outdoor sport.
Schneiter herself has been latching onto cliff sides, with the help and guidance of her experienced parents, almost since the day she was born.
Her dad, a certified climbing instructor who has owned Glenwood Climbing Guides since 2011, posted pictures of Schneiter taking on her first boulder when she was just three days old in April 2009.
A picture of three-day-old Schneiter ‘climbing’ to her first rock formation in April 2009
A 2011 picture of Schneiter, 18 months (left), on a rock surface in Redstone, Colorado. A February 2011 photo of Schneiter, 22 months (right), at Colorado National Monument
The Schneiter family, including mom Joy (left) and dad, Mike (center) poses for a picture after scaling the 14,036 ft. Mt. Sherman in Colorado in 2016
Other photos over the years show Schneiter learning to climb in Redstone, California, her native Glennwood Springs and Colorado National Park.
‘We did this climb for us; it was her energy and her idea,’ Mike previously told Alpinist of his daughter’s latest conquest, a climbing journey he has completed twice before.
‘If anything, I’d been trying to talk her out of it. I think El Cap has been so much a part of our story as a family that she’s wanted to do it for a long time.’
Being suspended in the air thousands of feet above the ground for days isn’t something Selah takes lightly, even though it seems to be in her blood.
‘I was scared just sometimes,’ she said after the climb, according to Outside Online. ‘I thought it was really fun.’
Tim Klein, 42, of Palmdale, California, and Jason Wells, 46, of Boulder, Colorado, perished after plummeting 1,000 feet from the face of rock formation in 2018