Last spring, French climber Théo Blass climbed Souvenirs du pic 5.14b at Saint Guilhem le Desertin, France, and became the youngest climber to send the grade at only 10 years old. It took him less than 10 sessions to get the redpoint. He sent his first 5.12d when he was eight.
This week, 11-year-old Blass sent another 5.14b with the 30-metre overhanging Guère d’Usure at Claret, France. More info and photos here. Ashima Shiraishi, Adam Ondra and Illya Bakhmet-Smolensky all climbed their first 5.14b at age 11. Bakhmet-Smolensky then climbed 5.14d at 13 years old.
Blass’s father, Vladimir, said after his first 5.14b: “The conditions were very good: cold, dry and very windy weather and only a handful of people at the crag. Theo was climbing effortlessly, in a fast, precise and confident style, letting his feet cut loose deliberately to save time on some of the steeper sections with bad feet. As he is quite scared to lead, he clipped a couple of extra draws (one was on a route crossing the line of his route in the lower section and the other was a long sling hanging in the upper section where the falls are quite unpleasant and potentially dangerous if you cannot give a proper dynamic belay, (which is sometimes challenging when the climber weights 29 kilos)).”
We will continue to follow Blass’s climbing career as he progresses through his early years as a top European climber.