Rodeo Free Europe 8b+ by Bayes Vilder (10)

Monday, 19 July

Bayes Vilder has done his first 8b+, Rodeo Free Europe and we reached out to his father Matt, who back in the days made some 8a headlines including a 9a.

What is your sons climbing background?
Bayes has been climbing pretty much his whole life. In May he turned 10. He loves outdoor climbing but also competes in the youth circuit and is on the ABC climbing team in Boulder, CO. Over the past several years, he has really stepped up his outdoor game. He's had some great bouldering successes through the past few years climbing many V9s and some V10s and V11s. His success on routes has been mostly limited to the past year. His height has always been an issue on routes and prior to this last year, he wasn't climbing much on rope because it takes a lot of effort to go up a route only to find out that there's an impossible reachy move 3/4 of the way up.

At first last summer he was not very comfortable on 5.12s but eventually he succeeded on some 13a's. In the Fall we took a 2 week trip to the Red River Gorge and he climbed his first 13b (Golden Boy) and then shortly after climbed Swingline 13d in a day (4 tries I think). We bouldered a bunch this winter and he's done a few routes this Spring and Summer but didn't try much in the hard 13 or higher range. When we were out in Wild Iris over the 4th of July, Bayes succeeded on doing a short, bouldery 13d called White Buffalo and then set his sights on Rodeo Free Europe 14a.

On his first day (which was 3rd day on) he got all of the moves and a couple shorter links. He was pretty confident and so after a rest day on our last day of the trip, he got back on it fresh. He took a few goes to dial in some of the beta a bit more and then put in a handful of redpoint burns where he fell repeatedly stabbing a pocket after a double undercling move. He was ready to quit for the day, but decided to give it another go. All the pieces fell into place and he sent. Needless to say he was super psyched. I don't think he really had his sights specifically set on climbing 5.14 but this was a great route that really challenged him. I think he was proud because to him this felt like his hardest route to date (regardless of grades which are all over the place for his size).

He normally trains indoors with his team 3 days a week for 2 hours a day. Then we usually get outside for a day or two each week (or do another longer gym session if the weather is bad). We try to do several week long outdoor trips during the year where we are climbing as much as possible.

My 10-year-old just like playing around on 6a routes on a top rope. How come you think some kids are willing to push super hard taking long falls?
I think Bayes can push himself because he has built up this mindset from an early age. He is also pretty passionate about completing things that he tries and that motivates him quite a bit. Over the past year he has gotten pretty comfortable when taking falls, but he still is a bit hesitant to go for things onsight. When he knows the moves, he doesn't think twice about the fall even if he's pumped. He's good at executing in that way. My wife and I usually belay him and try to give him a soft catch since he's so light. I will often pull in some slack with my left arm when he falls and then catch most of the fall with that arm letting out the rope. Then the belay device catches and I'll try to jump up a little. It can be tough sometimes.

For kids climbing the mental attitude is so important and highly variable across kids. Bayes isn't particularly strong when it comes to having goals and being dedicated to them. However, he's really good at trying hard and giving 100% when he is on a climb. He also has a strong belief in himself when he climbs. He can push through the pain of sharp holds too which is hard for kids. Most of all, he just loves climbing and has fun almost every day we go out. He likes to push himself, but he also enjoys just climbing mid-range stuff that is classic.

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