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14 months after walking, toddler climbed an indoor wall with incredible moves

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

If you haven't already seen the incredible wall-climbing toddler, you've really been missing out.

A video which was originally posted on Rockclimbing.com showcased a 22-month-old girl scaling an in-house rock climbing wall to fetch her toys, which had been strategically placed high up the wall. In the course of the climb, the girl showcases some pretty impressive climbing skills, including a drop-knee maneuver to ease her way up a particularly tricky impasse.

Quite frankly, the entire clip is almost beyond belief. Yet it's all too real, as the family of the climbing toddler is all too happy to attest to.

In an interview with Prep Rally, Roxanna Jolly said that her daughter, Arianna Dionne, began walking at 8 months old and started climbing shortly thereafter. At the time, she was imitating her father, Jesse Dionne, who often climbed in their bedroom on a climbing wall the couple had built just to the side of their bed in Gold Hill, Ore.

Though Arianna Dionne is now 5, when her exploits were filmed, the wall was set up with handholds only up to eight feet, with her father watching and spotting her from below near the soft mats at the edge of the wall to keep her safe.

"She was climbing for about a year when that was filmed," Jolly said. "We went to Joshua Tree one time when she was about a year old. We've been climbing all over Southern Oregon -- my fiance' [Dionne] is more of a climber than I am -- and when she was little that's what she was exposed to."

Still, some of the younger Dionne's climbing moves truly are prodigy-like. Her parents said they have no idea where she learned to use a drop knee. In fact, they said they didn't even realize that she had used one until reading through comments on the original video's page.

In fact, the climb was so impressive that Jesse Dione said some commenters have accused the family of setting the entire scene up by having her crawl across a climbing wall on the floor and filming it sideways.

Needless to say, that wasn't the case.

As for the eternal question of how the youngster got down from the top of the wall, that had a particularly simple answer.

"Her Daddy brought her down." Jolly said. "She can downclimb a little bit, but at that point she was still a little bit too young to climb all the way down."

While Arianna still climbs on the wall on her own occasionally, she spends just as much time today on the playground and learning to read. Still, her parents insist that her training would probably kick back in if she ventured to a climbing gym in the future, a trip they wouldn't rule out.

"She's tall and smart and our little prodigy," Jolly said. "I feel like she would pick it up naturally if we took her to the climbing gym."

Given her prior success and fame, that might not be a bad idea.

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