About Me.

My name is Ella Kirkpatrick, and I live in Sheffield. As soon as I could walk my dad - who's a famous climber - has been taking me on adventures, along with my brother Ewen. These have been big and small, like going climbing on the rocks near our house, or down the climbing wall, to crossing Scotland in a kayak and trying to climb Ben Nevis with my step mum Karen Darke, who can't walk (she fell of a cliff when she was 21 - but that hasn't stopped her doing loads a cool things).

Ella Kirkpatrick I love going on adventures because I like the feeling that you've done something amazing, and having a goal to aim for (even if I sometimes complain when I'm doing it).

In 2012 I had my most amazing adventure, going to America and climbing El Capitain in Yosemite valley. I climbed a route called Tangerine Trip with my dad, Paul Tattersall, Aldo Kane and Ben Pritchard. The climb was filmed for the CBBC program 'My Life' and it was the most amazing experince of my life (and the hardest!).

To get to the top of the wall, which was as high as ten London eyes, we had to climb for 4 days, meaning I had to sleep on the wall in aportaledge (a bed that is attached the the wall), go to the toilet on the wall, and sleep in my harness.

It was super hot on the wall (40 degrees) and we had to haul all our water and food up behind us. I wasn't allowed to climb, but had to jumar up the ropes, which mean I was left spinning in space much of the time.

After 4 days we made it to the top.

Pictures from the climb

It took another day to get back down to the ground and when we were there someone told me I was one of the youngest girls to climb El Cap (I was 13). My dad told me that it didn't matter, and it was how it felt inside that counted.

My next adventure will be with my brother this summer, crossing the Pyrenees, following the route airmen used to escape the Nazis.

You can read what my dad wrote about our climb here.

  • "To travel is better than to arrive. Its the journey that counts not the destination."
    Moose - Step Up 3
  • "You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."
    Andre Gide
  • "Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving."
    Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Getting into climbing

Climbing is an amazing sport and can take you to some amazing places, plus it gets you super fit, strong, flexible and is cheap to do. You can climb in all sorts of ways, from bouldering (climbing short problems only a few metres high) to big walls (climbs that can take weeks to do!), and it's a sport that anyone can do (my step mum fell of a cliff and can't walk and even she's climbed El Cap!). In the UK the best way to start is probably to find a local climbing wall, and go there with an adult (climbing is great for families) or see about a kids club (if you want to do down a 'swimming badge' approach then do your NICAS award). You can often hire equipment at a climbing wall, but all you need are rock boots (trainers are OK to begin with), a chalk bag, a harness and a belay device. Some people imagine that climbing is dangerous, but really it's very safe, especially indoor climbing.

If you want to climb outdoors then there are loads of climbing courses, guides and instructirs in the UK who can help you get going. The main outdoor centres in the UK are Plas-Y-Brenin in wales and Glenmore Lodge in Scotland, who both run courses for beginners of all ages.

If you want to know more then there's loads of info on the internet (the main UK website for climbers is UKclimbing.com or you can contact the British Mountaineering Council (don't worry, they know lots about all climbing, not just mountains), and they will help you get started.

  • "You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."
    Andre Gide
  • "A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles."
    Tim Cahill

El Cap Q&A

How long have you been climbing?

I can’t remember the first time I went climbing, since I've been brought up with it since birth, but my dad taught me to abseil when I was three.

Whose idea was it to climb El Cap – yours or your dads?

Every time went to one of my dad’s talks, everyone would ask, "So when are you going to climb El Cap?" My dad would always say "when she's 13," and it really just happened like that.

How much climbing had you done beforehand?

I did lots of climbing before, at the climbing wall (The Edge and The Foundry) and at Stanage.

Did you do any special training?

My dad taught me how to jumar and how to aid climb, and I did some training at Adam Long's rope access facilities. I’ve led indoors but only led outdoors when my dad was teaching me to aid climb. In the end I didn't get to lead any of the route.

Most importantly, how did you get your mum to agree?

It us a while as she wasn't fond of the idea, so it took lots of persuading. She would only let me go if Paul Tattersall went; she didn’t trust my dad.

What was it like, standing at the base and thinking, I’ve got to climb that?

It was daunting looking up at what I had to climb. But it was cool, there were loads of rattle snakes (but I didn't see any bears). But I just wanted to start, so I was very excited.

What did you most enjoy about climbing it?

The best bit was on the second night when we were all together on the same belay. Every night was good when we set up the portaledge.

Did you ever think you wouldn’t be able to make it?

I always knew the team would get up the climb.

Before you dropped your iPod, which songs were motivating you?

Dancing Shoes by the Arctic Monkeys.

Climbing El Cap is extraordinary for anyone. But have you grown up thinking this kind of climbing is normal?

I think my dad's climbed it 19 times, so it never seemed like a big achievement, but when you've been up there you realise that a lot of people can't climb it. Climbing it is like being in a little club.

What do your friends think of what you did?

My friends don't understand the extent of it and most think I walked up it! But only a real select few people know how hard it is. Again, it's like being in a club where only these people understand.

Have you got any advice for girls your age who would love to have a proper adventure but don’t know where to start?

Get informed, get involved, get going!

What’s next? Any more climbs with your dad planned?

My dad wants to do something cool with my brother and is going to go over the Pyrenees, along a route used in the war. I'm trying to persuade him to take me as well. I'd really like to go back to Yosemite and free climb El Cap like Hazel Findlay, but I’ll have to wait until I’m 16 so my mum can't stop me.

Interview from the BMC website

  • "To travel is better than to arrive. Its the journey that counts not the destination."
    Moose - Step Up 3
  • "You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."
    Andre Gide
  • "A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles ."
    Tim Cahill
  • "We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open."
    Jawaharlal Nehru
  • "Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving."
    Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Cool Videos.





Thanks for the support of

nicas

National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS)

Open to anyone aged 7 – 17, the National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) is the only nationally recognised scheme that introduces new climbers to climbing on artificial climbing walls. The scheme focuses on skill development and safety as well as climbing ability, and is split into 5 award levels.

NICAS is open to climbers of all ages and abilities, as it covers all aspects from the absolute basics to advanced climbing techniques.

Aims of the scheme:

For more information go to www.nicas.co.uk

  • To travel is better than to arrive. Its the journey that counts not the destination."
    Moose - Step Up 3