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These Young Climbers are the Future of Climbing

At only nine years old, Ziheng Qiu climbed 5.14a. See who else is ticking difficult sport climbs and boulders

There are more strong young climbers now than every before in the world of climbing, and several of them are already sending difficult climbs. Below are some of the top young climbers

Ziheng Qiu recently made history with her redpoint of China Climb 5.14a at only nine years old, becoming the youngest person, male or female, to climb the grade. Read more about it here.

Roc Vergés Solé, a 13-year-old from Spain, has just sent Fish Eye 5.14b in Oliana after only five sessions. As many climber do, Solé keeps track of his ascents on 8a.nu, where he said: “The process was very fast and I managed to get to the top part of the route in a few tries where I fell. Finally, after letting the route rest for a few days I managed to overcome that steepness.”

Another 13-year-old with a big redpoint recently was Geila Macia, who took down Fabelita 5.14b in Santa Linya. She’s the daughter of the well-known climbing duo Berta Martin (Spanish Champion) and Israel Gacia.

And 15-year-old Bulgarian Niki Rusev, who’s climbed 5.14d and won the Youth World Bouldering Championship, recently sent Jungle Speed 5.14c in Siurana. It took him only two sessions.

Over in Fontainebleau, Oriane Bertone made the first female ascent of the classic Karma V12 at 16. Also at the famous French bouldering location, her brother Max Bertone, 14, just climbed Saruman du bas V13, and said, “Super classic of the forest. I am so happy to top this one. A perfect try I think because I was not so easy and holds didn’t stick so much today.”

In Spain, Austrian Angie Scarth-Johnson, 17, who sent her first 5.14d last fall, just climbed Los ultimos vampiros hippies 5.14b and El orden está en el caos 5.13d in Margalef and Nolekita V11 in La Pedriza. Also in the world of bouldering, Bayes Wilder sent two V12s at the age of 10 last week while visiting Hueco Tanks in Texas, with one being the famous Rumble in the Jungle and the other being Barefoot on Sacred Ground.

Victor Guillermin, 16, has climbed the classic Siurana test-piece Estado Critico 5.14d. Before the benchmark grade, he’d climbed a few 5.14c lines and had podiumed at the Euro Youth Championships in 2021.

The Sullivan brothers, who were featured in Gripped magazine years ago, continue to impress. Keegan (12), Killian (10), and Lochlann (8) recently visited Hueco Tanks with their parents, and over nine days climbed climbed 150 problems with all sending V10 on one day and Keegan climbing Barefoot on Sacred Ground V12.

These are just a few of the many young climbers racking up impressive sends to start the year. Be sure to pick up the next issue of Gripped magazine to see the young Canadians who’ll be pushing the sport in 2022.