Rock on! Meet Brooke, 13, the world record breaking rock climber who lives life on the l-edge
Meet Brooke Raboutou, the 13-year-old rock climbing prodigy that’s taking the sport to new heights.
Introduced to the sport at the age of four, Brooke, from Boulder, Colorado, USA, started climbing not long after she learnt to walk.
With the guidance of proud parents, Robyn, 51, and Didier, 52, who are former world champion climbers themselves, the teenager has been smashing records ever since.
Attempting climbs previously thought impossible for someone of her age, the youngster has managed to break seven climbing records, all before she was even twelve.
It was the age of eight she set her first record, becoming the youngest female in the world to climb the US equivalent of an E6 (5.12+) route – a route ordinarily only attempted by elite climbers.
In the sport of bouldering, where routes used by elite climbers are assigned grades between E6, which is the easiest, and E11, the most difficult, Brooke, aged nine, was once again the youngest girl to ever complete an E6 (5.13b) graded route.
Not content with two world records under her belt, the teenager continued to smash more, totting up five more records on the way to becoming the youngest female to complete an E9 (5.14b) route, aged 11.
Now age 13, Brooke, who has competed in 36 climbing competitions in Spain, Switzerland, South Africa, Italy and France, is aiming to compete in the Youth World Championships this year, which is held in Arco, Italy.
Mum Robyn, five-time US Champion and four-time World Cup Champion, said: “Brooke has always been physically co-coordinated from a very early age.
“You could see she was natural from the very start.
“But her biggest endorsement is the dedication she shows to every part of her life, whether it’s athletics, academia or her social life.”
Mum-of-two Robyn retired from competitive climbing in 1996 to concentrate on coaching her daughter among other young climbers at ABC Climbing in Colorado, of which she is the founder and director.
Robyn, married to Didier, a three time World Cup winner, says that climbing has always been a way of life for the Raboutou family, who even have climbing apparatus installed in their basement so young Brooke and brother Shawn can hone her skills at home.
Robyn said: “Brooke often blends her climbing with her normal life, even a trip to the kitchen is done via a handstand.
“I wouldn’t go as far to say she climbs 24/7, but it’s a massive part of who she is, she’ll even do her homework in a stretched position.
“Coaching her is a lot of fun, but there’s a crossover between motherhood.
“I think we operate on a level of mutual respect and have a good understanding of each other as people.
“Sometimes we do bob heads but that’s only to be expected, we work well together most of the time.
“We’re both competitive people, but we just want the best for each other.
“She sets herself very high expectations in all aspects of her life; she’s just a very driven person.”