By Bunmi Adigun @Bunmi_Adigun
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Videographer / director: Matthew Corbisiero
Producer: Tom Midlane, Nick Johnson
Editor: Sonia Estal, Kyle Waters
The talented tot, from Flagstaff, Arizona, regularly climbs at the gym with her parents without the use of a harness or safety ropes - and even has a climbing wall in her own room.
Dubbed the ‘little zen monkey’ by parents Zak and Rachael, Ellie began climbing before she could walk - frequently escaping from her crib as a baby.
Mum Rachael and dad Zak decided to film one of Ellie’s climbs just to show it to friends and family - however the footage made the fearless toddler an overnight Internet sensation and even landed her a chance to show off her skills on the Ellen show in the States.
Zak said: ”Ellie started climbing when she was around eight months of age, before she could walk which was cool to see.”
Ellie gets her love of climbing from her parents who are both competitive climbers. Rachael even continued climbing while she was pregnant with Ellie.
She said: ”When i was pregnant I was climbing with her up to three days before i delivered and we continued our training after she was born.”
While Zak and Rachael have been criticised for allowing Ellie to participate in a activity perceived as dangerous, they are at pains to stress that they put safety first.
Rachael said: “I worry about Ellie more on the playground more than I do on the climbing wall. On the climbing wall she’s got those big crash mats, they’re spotting her all the time, we’re constantly with her.
"On the playground she gets on some of the stuff and there’s only wood chips, I feel she can get hurt more on the playground.”
Zak added: ”What we’re doing is fairly controlled, when she climbs she always climbs with a large crash pad underneath her."
Zak and Rachael describe Ellie as a normal toddler who enjoys giggling and playing games.
And while they want to avoid pressuring little Ellie into following in their footsteps, there’s no doubt she has a bright future in climbing should she decide to pursue it.
Rachael said: “We certainly want to keep it simple and fun for her without forcing any expectations on to her.
"To our surprise though, Ellie loves climbing more than we ever imagined. It's difficult to get her to leave the gym some days because even after an hour of play she's not done climbing.
"We're not really sure where all of this will go in the future. Perhaps as she gets older she'll start competing in the USA Climbing series and attempt to qualify for youth nationals.
"It would be neat to see Ellie follow in our footsteps as a competitive climber but we're not really sure where this will all go in the future.
"We just want to open as many door as we can for her and support her in whatever she does. We have a feeling that she'll be a climber for life though."
To see more of Ellie’s incredible climbing exploits visit Little Zen Monkey at www.littlezenmonkey.com