Nine-Year-Old Mountain Climber Conquers Wyoming Peaks
Nine-year-old Sam Baker's middle name is literally Adventure.
But in his case, it's not only his name; it's literally what he does. As in climbing mountains that all but a few adults would shy away from.
Sam lives with his family in Colorado Springs. His dad Joe says he has been climbing mountains since he was five, when his family took him on a climb in Pingora Mountain in Wyoming's Wind River Range. Joe Baker says that is standard for the kids in the family, as mom and dad are long-time mountain climbing enthusiasts. ''It goes crawl, walk, rock climb at our house," says Joe Baker. In fact, Sam's younger brother Sylvan last summer became the youngest person ever to climb 12, 610 foot high Mt. Moran in the Grand Tetons, according to Joe.
But the roots of the family tradition go back farther than that. ''My wife and I just fell in love when we were climbing in the Wind Rivers of Wyoming," Joe says.
And what of the natural fear of heights that is inherent in most human beings? Sam says heights don't scare him at all. "You have to face your fears. Do the thing that you are afraid of," his father adds.
Joe Baker says of conquering the mountain peaks, "Rule number one is you train for it every day. Rule number two is you can't die."
Sam says before a big climb, he puts that regimen into effect every day, climbing to get ready. In terms of the second part, Joe Baker says the family makes sure it is fully equipped to meet every possible situation. They also visualize possible problem scenarios ahead of time.
But it's hard to be prepared for everything, even with the best planning.
For example, the most unusual challenge they have had was an overly friendly mountain goat on one climb that got tangled up in Sam's climbing rope. 'It was terrifying," says Joe. '' As soon as the goat got tangled up, he thought we were trying to catch him. He took off running and almost pulled Sam off a cliff." But Baker says another climber dive tackled Sam into a bush, creating enough slack in the rope for the goat to get free.
Joe and Sam Baker appeared on the '' Weekend in Wyoming" program on AM 650 KGAB on Saturday.
Here is that interview: