TTT 9a by Théo Blass (12)

8 September 2022

Théo Blass has done Trip tik tonik (9a) in Gorges du Loup, after trying it for some ten odd sessions. The 12-year and 9-months-old climber has now taken "the youngest in the world to reach 9a title", from Gianluca Vighetti, who was two months older. (c) Alizée Blass (9) who, on the same day, did her first 8a.

Fanatic Climbing has made an interview with his father Vladimir Arnaoudov about the ascent. When Théo was 10 years old he did his first 8c his father explained his son's climbing background to 8a.

"Theo started climbing more regularly when he was 8 (he was climbing before, but quite irregularly). His progression was quite interesting: it took him a few months of projecting to send his first 6b+ (on top rope) and then he progressed from 6b+ to 8b in less than a year and a half. His training is a bit chaotic and highly dependent on motivation, time of the year and availability of other more fun activities (such as mountain biking, skiing or building a shack in the garden). At the beginning of the lockdown he trained a lot at our small home bouldering wall but then he lost motivation and did not train for a month.

From the dad's perspective, there are two key takeaways from the experience of belaying, watching, encouraging, counseling, supporting and occasionally arguing with Theo about beta: (1) adult grades are a bit of a nonsense when it comes to kids - two of the hardest moves on the route for Theo are among the easiest for adults - so not worth getting too excited about grades (especially when you are under 1m40); (2) even if fear, frustration and failure are part of the game, climbing kids of the world, enjoy every moment of climbing, projecting, trying hard, sending and try to have fun, and confidence - the future belongs to you."

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