INTREPID explorer Ella Kirkpatrick is only 13 years old – but she’s already rock-climbed her way into the record books.
Following in the footsteps of her father the British mountaineer Andy Kirkpatrick, the Sheffield schoolgirl has become the youngest female to climb the 900-metre America mountain El Captain in Yosemite National Park, California.
It was a family affair for dad and daughter as they took part in the four-day climb with three other team members, sleeping in a ‘portaledge’ on the cliff face.
They were followed by camera crews from CBBC, who were filming Ella for a documentary series to be aired in the new year.
Despite her massive achievement, the High Storrs School pupil has taken it all in her stride. She credited an upbringing tackling the rolling hills of the Peak District with giving her outdoor skills and an appetite for adventure.
Ella, of Nether Edge, said: “You spend your day nose-to-nose with the rock so you’re not even thinking you’re high up.
“I thought sleeping would be scary, but it’s so dark you can’t tell where you are and you’re so exhausted you fall asleep without even taking your climbing gear off.”
The conscientious Year 9 pupil also managed to keep up with some schoolwork at dizzy heights during down time.
She said: “One of the other climbers, Aldo, gave me some trigonometry to help with my maths work!”
And proving there’s no rest for the wicked, the student is already busy planning her next adventure.
She said: “There’s a climb in Norway called Troll Wall. It’s the tallest sheer face in Europe and about twice the height of El Captain so it would make a great next challenge.”