Ellie Farmer is only 20 months old, but she is already scaling rock walls like a seasoned pro.
In a video originally posted to Ellie’s Facebook page, “The Little Zen Monkey” — which her mother, Rachael Farmer, created under the nickname she gave her daughter — the toddler is scaling a wall without a harness at the climbing gym the family frequents in their home of Flagstaff, Arizona.
The video has been viewed over 4 million times.
According to her parents, Ellie’s knack for climbing is nothing new: Rachael climbed throughout her pregnancy with Ellie, and Ellie has been climbing before she could even walk.
“She’s really been part of the climbing community since birth,” Zak told CNN. “When she was first opening her eyes, she was at the gym, seeing climbers.”
According to the Facebook page, Ellie has been climbing since she was roughly 8 months old, when Zak built a small climbing wall next to her crib, and can be seen at the climbing gym with her parents as many as five times a week.
Still too small to fit into a harness, Ellie engages in a type of climbing called bouldering, in which she climbs walls that are close to the ground.
The video, however, has caused concern for Ellie’s safety online.
“Sometimes, in the videos we take, the spotter is not visible and the video footage can make the climb seem higher than it really is,” Rachael wrote on Ellie’s Facebook page, defending the video. “She falls often. She has never been injured and she has never hit the ground from more than a foot up … and by ‘ground’ I mean giant fluffy mats. Once she gets about a foot off of the ground, mama bear (me) and daddy bear watch her every move and we're there to intervene when she falls. Falling usually ends up with a giggle fit and trying the climb again until she successfully finishes the route.”
And while Ellie has now gained internet notoriety as a climbing prodigy, Rachael says their family is just looking forward to watching their child grow up.
“As for our family and personal choices, we provide the safest environment we possibly can for our little monkey while continuing to support her love for climbing,” said Rachael. “As for now, we’re taking baby steps, and enjoying every moment along the way.”
Editor’s note: A former version of this story contained the original video posted to Facebook which has since been removed.
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