First 5.14b For 11-Year-Old Brooke Raboutou

According to her 8a scorecard 11-year-old Brooke Raboutou has done her first 5.14b in Welcome To Tijuana at Rodellar, Spain.  This makes her the likely youngest to ever achieve such a grade and no doubt the shortest as well.  The 50-foot power endurance route Welcome to Tijuana is a popular first 5.14b as it was Brooke’s brother Shawn’s and Sasha DiGiulian’s first as well.  It only took DiGiulian 14 months to make the jump from her first 5.14b to climbing 5.14d, I wonder how long it will take Brooke??

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25 Responses to First 5.14b For 11-Year-Old Brooke Raboutou

  1. colin July 17, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    Interesting that a bunch of the young phenoms are women…or girls, rather. Brooke Raboutou, Ashima, Cicada Jenerick (didn’t she climb V10 at age 10 or something?). Makes me think of an Andrew Bisharat article where he argued that women should be climbing harder than men due to their lower average bodyweight.

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  2. Elena July 17, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    That’s incredible. I agree with Colin…seems to be that some attention has shifted from the strongest muscle climbers to a less widely heard of division of climbing…makes me happy to see more attention on the girls

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  3. mall July 17, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Amazing. Will be fascinating to see how she progresses as she gets older. Does anyone know how tall she is?

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    • texasclimber July 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

      the real question is, does anyone know how tiny her fingers/hands are?

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  4. Jason Keck July 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Yeah thats wild. The youngest and shortest to ever climb 5.14b and she is a girl. Height is also such an advantage in climbing that she managed to compensate for.

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    • Bob July 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      is height such an advantage? Most top female climbers, from my experience, seem to be on a shorter side (probably couple inches shorter than the average height of a women)… Katie Brown, Emily Harrington, Lynn Hill, Sasha Digiulian, etc etc… all fairly short. As for men, most seem to be fairly average height (5’9″-6’0″) at the tallest, with perhaps a few exceptions that are taller (and definitely a few that are shorter so I suspect if you averaged them all out they would end up being average height).

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      • rorschah July 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

        Interesting side note: Dai Koyomada is 5′ 4″. Watch his and Sharma’s sends of Dreamtime side by side for… an education in the relative advantages of tall and short.

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      • Ryan July 23, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

        Just want to point of out the obvious exception to this rule of Adam Ondra who last time I checked was crushing rocks with his bare hands.

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  5. Tufa in response to Bob July 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Height is definitely an advantage but it’s not an excuse. My meaning is that as a short climber myself I see other tall guys that have not climbed as long as i have make some reachier moves easier than I can, that being said I have to train harder and stronger to reach those areas that takes a taller individual to reach easily, Alex Puccio is also pretty short but what she lacks in height she makes up in strength and technique.

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    • Dan July 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

      Height is an advantage, except for when it isn’t. A tall person is going to have trouble with high steps and scrunchy moves just like a shorter person may struggle with long reaches.

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    • Lookatthepros July 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

      Being tall is a net disadvantage in the majority of climbing situations, especially outdoors. Looking at the heights and weights of top climbers should be enough to tell you that short and small is where it’s at. Dave Macleod’s “9 out of 10 Climbers Make the Same Mistakes” does a great job of explaining why. There are also a few good articles on the interwebs.
      Strength-weight ratio is king in climbing and, other things being equal, a taller climber can’t match a shorter climber in this category.
      Being short or tall is not an excuse to not be a total badass, as there are both Klem Loskotts and Ramon Julians out there crushing, but you will find the majority of these badasses look much more like gymnasts (but less buff) than basketball players.

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  6. Tufa July 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Fair enough, it makes sense. I guess that is the beauty of climbing, it gives the opportunity for the individual to think and be creative. What works for one climber on a route may not work for another.

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  7. PBC July 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    While I appreciate the sentiment that we certainly haven’t seen the last or the best out of this young phenom – I’d be concerned if there was a genuine pressure from the media to see how fast she advances. We’ve all see what can happen to young athletes when they push too hard, too fast, joints get wrecked, psyche turns to burnout, unhealthy training regiments (poor diet, etc).

    Just crush for yourself, and keep on.

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    • Narc July 18, 2012 at 6:20 am #

      I thought about that when I wrote that last line, but I think with parents like Brooke has it’s hard to worry about such a thing with her

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  8. Air7386 July 18, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Any thoughts on downgrading Welcome to Tijuana? It seems to be everyone’s first 14b. Are the grades in Rodellar just easier? It seems like a nice place to bump up your 8a card.

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    • Jesse July 18, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      Funny how this only comes up after a little girl has climbed the route.

      When you’ve sent it, you’re welcome to offer your opinion on the grade.

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    • Sid July 18, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

      Maybe it’s just an epic classic. Aesthetic line, cool moves, easy approach, well protected.

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  9. Anthony July 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Jesse, why do you assume that Airs questioning of the 14b grade has anything to do with Brooke being a girl…the fact that an 11 year old sent it seems more impressive than the gender distinction…I mean, compare your average 11 year old girl next to your average 11 year old boy, and they are pretty much the same…unless you look at the fact that girls hit puberty before boys, therefore a 11 year old girl doing this route is less impressive than an 11 year old boy… Or whatever…

    I don’t doubt the fact that welcome to Tijuana is a 14b, though I also see nothing wrong with us questioning the validity of the grade, specially in light of her setting a world record.. People question world record breaking performances regardless of sport, age, or gender…no need to get overly defensive n this case…it’s normal.

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  10. Air7386 July 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Jesse,
    All the points in your post are very valid. I was not trying to belittle Brooke’s ascent. She is an amazing climber and the ABC program that her parents put together is producing some crazy strong climbers. My post was strictly about this specific climb and how it seems to be a go-to for climbers trying to level up. You even referenced the fact that Alex David Johnson did this 14b before he had even climbed a 14a. As another poster said, maybe it is just a mega-classic and it is bolted well so people are more attracted to it than other climbs.
    Well whether it is 13d, 14a, or 14b I’ll never know since I don’t climb that hard. So kudos to the people who can climb them.

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  11. Willino July 22, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    So you take a known soft area, a small child with tiny little fingers who weighs almost nothing and has been climbing/training during their development/growth years under the tutelage of professional climber parents, and they get up a “hard” route…it just seems like a yawner, honestly.

    The true test for these youth phenoms, in my eyes anyway, is what they are doing in another 10 years or so. How many burnout cases have we seen or kids who just stagnated when they grew into an adult sized body?

    A small child getting two pad deep jugs up something an adult would get half pad crimpers on is obviously a different experience. Why people take offense to that being pointed out is a mystery, and they always come in the same form of arguments: “When you climb it / if you climb that hard then you can comment,” or the “woman hater/kid hater” argument.

    Come on, it’s ridiculous. We often choose an “easy” at the grade climb for our first at that difficulty, whether you are aiming to be “the youngest to climb xxx” or just a regular Joe. But equally ridiculous is an argument that “Joe Schmo did a 5.xxB before he/she did 5.xxA, therefore the “b” route must be soft”. Maybe, maybe not, I think I’ve done a higher letter grade before the “next” one in my progression as often as not. Has to do more with what good routes are available at an area close enough to project them than anything to do with the actual grade.

    The list of young guns who basically disappeared or stagnated is quite long. Katie Brown, David Hume, Eric Scully, Lindner, Jenerik…you’d think these folks would have been hiking 15b by now, given where they were as young kids. But they’re not. Burnout, adult bodies, etc.

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  12. Brittany Myers July 26, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    Love hearing that the girls are killing it!

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  13. Douglas Gray December 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    Both Brooke and Ashima Shiriashi are getting fairly close to leaving behind the innocence of childhood for adolesence. When they get to be 14-15, that is one milestone, then see what their interests are. My guess is with a little training and experience, they could do El Cap routes mostly free like the better male climbers. There is a sameness about the indoor contests, I would guess they will lose interest in them after a few years.

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