Discussing her recent ascent of Wyoming’s famed Devils tower, Alice Galy, 6, was matter-of-fact.
“It wasn’t scary for me,” she told Cowboy State Daily early Thursday.
On July 8, Alice and her brother Tristan, 9, climbed Devils Tower with their parents, Valier Galy and Stephanie Jenouvrier.
That made Alice the youngest female on record to scale the 867-foot tower, according to the National Park Service.
Again responding matter-of-factly, Alice said the accomplishment made her feel “good” but “not that proud.”
A Cross-Country Trek
Alice’s parents are oceanographic scientists who moved from France to Falmouth, Massachusetts about 15 years ago.
A few weeks ago, the family loaded up in an RV and set off on an adventure across the United States and parts of Canada. They plan to stay on the road until about Christmas, and South Dakota and Wyoming were among their first stops, Valier Galy told Cowboy State Daily via Zoom from a stayover in Ten Sleep.
In the spirit of adventure and a love of nature, the family’s calling their trek “CARE,” which he said stands for “climbs, adventures, respect, environment.”
“The goal of the trip is to tour North America, visit all of the nice, iconic parks and introduce the kids to nature,” he said.
The family has already posted a few videos on their YouTube channel, and plans to add more as their trek continues, Stephanie Jenourvrier said.
In one video taken just before the climb, Alice shared her thoughts.
“First when I looked at it from really far away, I thought, ‘Wow, that’s going to be super-easy,’” she says in the video. “But now that I’m looking at it close, I’m kinda scared about overhang. So, I’m gonna see how it goes.”
Pulling Off The Promised Handstand
Before making her ascent, Alice did a handstand near the base of Devils Tower, promising to do the same after reaching the top.
She and Tristan are no strangers to climbing. When asked at what age their parents started teaching them how to rock climb, they responded in unison.
Despite having a few years’ more experience than his sister, Tristan said the climb was a bit intimidating for him.
“I can’t lie. I was scared,” he said.
Making good on her promise, Alice pulled off a picture-perfect handstand on the tower’s flat summit.
Tristan said he tried doing the same.
“I tried, but I didn’t do a very good one,” he said.
The siblings agreed that rappelling back down the tower was a blast. As Alice put it, “bouncy.”
An Impressive Feat Indeed
Alice’s ascent of the tower was no small feat, Devils Tower National Monument spokesman Tyler Devine told Cowboy State Daily.
The route the family took has a “5.9” difficulty rating, which puts it in the challenging category even for adults, said Devine, who has climbed the tower several times.
“I think it’s a really neat thing. She’s an adventurous kid, no doubt about it,” Devine said.
There are a few children who make the climb every summer, and there are unverified rumors that a 5-year-old girl once made it to the top, he added. But as far as official records show, Alice is the youngest girl ever to tackle the climb, he said.
Prairie Dogs And Bison
The family has loved Wyoming so far and plans to head to Yellowstone and Teton parks next, Valier Galy said.
Tristan said he’s stoked to get a chance to see grizzlies in the wild for the first time.
“I love grizzly bears!” he said. “Because bears are so cool.”
Alice said that before departing on the trip, she was excited to see prairie dogs.
She saw some in Wyoming, but said they were smaller than she expected.
“They were cute. And little. Like, this big,” she said, holding her hands several inches apart.
Seeing Bison for the first time was exciting as well, Alice added.
“They were crossing the road while we were driving. They went around us, like, this close to our RV,” she said, holding her hands only a few inches apart.
Mark Heinz can be reached at email@example.com.