9-Year-Old Girl Becomes Youngest Person to Climb El Capitan, Yosemite, CA

CragBrains | ClimbingClimbing
El Capitan, youngest ever, 9-year-old girl, California
Pearl Johnson, 9. Credit: @chrisvanleuven

In mid-September, Pearl Johnson, age 9, climbed the Triple Direct route on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, earning her the title as the youngest person to climb the 3,000-foot granite wall. Pearl originally wanted to climb The Nose, but it was crowded, so they switched to the much less-preferred but equally extended Triple Direct route, which parallels the Nose just before joining it for the upper third of the climb.

Taking 4 days and 3 nights, Pearl climbed with her mother, Janet, and family friend Nick Sullens, of Yosemite Search and Rescue. Pearl’s dad, Philip, a law enforcement ranger in the park, met them at the major.

“Someone asked me if I was nervous, and I stated ‘No,’” Janet stated right after. “I knew I was comfy up there. I’ve climbed a lot with Pearl. I knew what she was capable of.”

California, El Capitan, youngest ever, 9-year-old girl,
Head above the clouds… Credit: @chrisvanleuven

Pearl, however, was nervous, according to Sullens:

“A lot of time was spent overcoming her worry,” Sullens stated. “I was impressed with her wanting to maintain going. If it had been me at nine, I would have wanted to be out of there.”

In June, 10-year-old Selah Schneiter climbed the Nose on El Capitan with her father, becoming the then-youngest to climb El Cap.


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