9-year-old Kip Van Horn is already a remarkably accomplished mountaineer

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Most 9-year-olds love getting outside, running around and generally causing a ruckus. Kip Van Horn loves that, too, but he has to be careful how he acts when he's scaling the tallest mountains in California because, well, he is already scaling the tallest mountains in California.

California 9-year-old Kip Van Horn atop Mt. Shasta — Van Horn family photo
California 9-year-old Kip Van Horn atop Mt. Shasta — Van Horn family photo

As reported by the Redding Record Searchlight, and brought to Prep Rally's attention by Off the Bench, Van Horn has already reached the top of two mountains with elevations higher than 12,500 feet. At the age of 8, Van Horn reached the peaks above Red Banks in the Cascade range, a summit that carries an elevation of approximately 12,800 feet.

Then, in the final days of July, Van Horn summited Mt. Shasta, the second-highest volcano of the entire Cascade Range at 14,162 feet.

According to the Record Searchlight, Van Horn first began sleeping overnight at Lake Helen, a base camp with an elevation of 10,400 feet, when he was just 6 years old. With mountaineering experience at such a young age, summiting has become a regular part of life for the Pleasanton (Calif.) elementary schooler.

Whether the youngest Van Horn continues scaling astonishing heights remains to be seen. If his older sister, Kylia, and his parents continue to encourage him, one would be foolish to write off further mountainside adventures.

After all, Van Horn still has decades of peak climbing years ahead of him. Reaching the top of Mt. Shasta would be an incredible achievement for anyone, let alone a 9-year-old.

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