Interview with Oriane Bertone: the Youngest Climber to Send 8B+/V14

24 days ago

Climbing world got yet again amazing news when Oriane Bertone, 12-year-old, became the youngest person to send 8B+/V14.

The route was called Golden Shadow in Rocklands and was opened by Fred Nicole. It has also been climbed by Ashima Shiraishi at the age of 13.

27 Crags had the pleasure to interview the young prodigy about climbing and, of course, her hardest ascent. Enjoy!

Could you tell a little bit about yourself?

I'm 12 I like to ride horses and to climb, of course! I love cinema and I really like science fiction and movies like Star Wars. My favourite hero in this movie is Master Yoda.

Bertone on Jack of all trades 8a (Waterval Boven)

How and when did you discover climbing?

I discovered climbing during an outdoor course. There was a lot of sports and when the host let us climb on boulders he got surprised. He asked my father if I was in a climbing club. When he learned that I was not, he told my dad to do it quickly because I sent two or three 6A boulders during the course. I was 7 years old.

Which climbing types do you do? Do you have a favourite?

I prefer outdoor bouldering but I like all types. What I like the most is to have change. Natural, artificial, bouldering, lead. I get motivated when I have versatile projects and I get to travel to different places.

Bertone climbing Psychopad 8B  (La Réunion / Ravine des Colimaçons) .

How does your average training week look like?

I train about five times a week. Sometimes it gets to six when I'm travelling to places like Rocklands, Fontainebleau, Saint Léger or Gorges du Tarn or during specific training. I never do specific training on Güllich board or machines. I climb as much as possible on all types on rocks and in gyms.

What’s your favourite climbing destination? Why?

Rocklands and Fontainebleau of course. I like sandstone very much. It's really amazing rock with surprising forms and original holds and movements to do. I learn much more on this type of rock.

Could you tell about the route Golden Shadow and how was it to work on it?

It was very interesting. There are holds that I'm not used to when climbing on basaltic stone of Reunion Island. I had to learn to use them and I had to build my own beta to do the moves. I was also very motivated because I knew it was possible to send the boulder as a small climber. I knew that Ashima Shiraishi sent the boulder when she was 13, but I did not have a video to see her beta.


It was very exciting to find out how she could do it. I felt like a detective! I tried to climb in the morning, but it was too hot (35-40°C). The lower part of the boulder was the hardest. I could only do the top part: place the feet and top out which is the easiest part. After six or seven sessions I tried to climb in the afternoon. One day it was 18 °C and the rock was easier to hold. That's when I managed to send the boulder. 

When I realised that I would send it my mind was blank. I was moved and surprised at the same time. I didn't know how to get to the top. The end of the boulder is easy but I was so scared of doing a mistake that it seemed hard to me!

I was so happy. I cried with joy!

Do you already have some next goal or route in mind?

I do not have specific projects. I know we will climb routes and boulders on French sites like Saint Léger, Guillestre or Font in July and August, but I have no specific goals. I trust my father will find some projects for me!


Oriane Bertone's hardest ascents:

1) Golden Shadow 8B+ (Rocklands / Roadcrew) 2018

2) Psychopad 8B  (La Réunion / Ravine des Colimaçons) 2017

3) Fragile Steps 8B (Rocklands / Fortress) 2017

4) Tea With Elmarie 8A+ (Rocklands / Roadside) 2017

5) Sale Gosse assis 8A (Fontainebleau / Roche aux Sabots)

6) Spartiate assis 8A (La Réunion / Ravine du Trou)

7) Le Trou du Culte sit 8A (Targassonne / Aigle)

8) Millenium 7C+/8A (Fontainebleau / Franchard hautes plaines)

9) Cave Combo 7C+ flash (Rocklands / Roadcrew)

10) Atomic Playboy 7C+ (Fontainebleau / Buthier Piscine)

What do you think about this great achievement? Comment below or get in touch: hanna@27crags.com.

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Hanna works for 27 Crags as a Marketing Manager and prefers her rock 5 meters high. Recently she has caught herself falling in love to sports climbing also. Her favourite climbing destinations include Albarracin, Magic Wood and Leonidio.

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