Earlier this year I met a Climbingjourney supporter Amy and her beautiful daughter Victoria and son Brandon at Hueco Tanks Rodeo Competition. They made my Hueco Tanks crush fest a blast. We bonded and formed a friendship for life! I was so impressed with Victoria’s passion for climbing that I interviewed her. Well, it has only been about 9 months and well thought it was time for a REMIX to follow up on V’s progress.
And an 8-year-old almost 9-year-old dynamite’s interview goes something like this….
We climbed together about 9 months ago. You made a huge achievement of sending your first V4, your first ‘highball’ and won your age division at Hueco Tanks. Since then you’ve picked up sponsors and have spent a bit of time bouldering outdoors and training indoors. I find over time, I am always learning and being transformed through climbing. What achievements do you have to add to your list since our Hueco adventure? In Hueco I sent my first outdoor V4 and since then I’ve sent 3 more plus 2 V5’s, a V6 and a V7. I am one step closer to mastering the heel hook thanks to Nina Williams! Also since Hueco, I am much stronger, taller and more confident. I was also picked up for sponsorship by Mad Rock, ORGANIC, Giddy Organics and GoPro.
I was an elite gymnast and regardless of sport, working towards the professional or elite level comes many rewards, but also with that comes many sacrifices and hurdles. Being very new to this type of environment, what would you say so far have been your biggest hurdles and how have you overcome them? Being that I am young I don’t think I really experience the obstacles younger adults go through as elite or professional athletes. I have had to sacrifice not having as many play dates or being able to come home after school and watch TV and stuff like that. I do train 3 days per week and on those days I usually eat a snack in the car on my way to the climbing gym.
My typical day is like this: eat a snack in the car after school on my way to the gym. I then finish my homework on my commute home, dinner, shower then bedtime. Even though there is a level of commitment and dedication involved, I wouldn’t give it up though because I think it is worth the sacrifice. In order to achieve certain goals, you have to work hard for it. I feel like as I love climbing and go through my journey of competing and getting to climb everywhere I can, I am learning valuable lessons along the way.
And I am only almost 9 years old. I play with my Barbies, I make time to play with friends and my supportive family always tries to find a way to teach me how to balance out my climbing pursuits with the fun life has to offer. For instance, we might go to one of the Triple Crown bouldering competitions in November and I will have to give up trick or treating because the competition is November 2nd and with a 17 hour drive to the competition venue, well, I have to choose one or the other. So my mom and brother are going to set up our house with all kinds of treats and me and my friends get to have a ‘mini’ trick or treat adventure before I leave.
So I miss the big outside trick or treating with everyone, but my family always finds a way to help me still experience some of these important fun things out of life. I also used to figure skate, but with joining the team and the commitment to training, I had to make a decision which sport I would focus on because they both met on the same nights, so I obviously chose climbing! I also really did not have time to fit in Girl Scouts this year. I think I really loved the idea of going to Colorado for the summer, spending time at Hueco Tanks, camping, etc., and feel those kinds of experiences this year was worth it, so much fun and brings me and my family so close together.
Also, what are some valuable lessons you have learned so far? Oh my, I think I learn so many good lessons! I will think in the context of climbing to make it easier. Remember to tighten my shoes while doing a heel hook (cause I learned the hard way!). Don’t burn your flash attempt by not strapping down your shoes tight enough or forgetting to chalk up. Try eating healthy and by that I mean making sure you get in all your nutrients as a growing child. I’m always excited to travel and climb in new places, but have learned that taking the time to read a route first and work the moves through your head is better than letter the excitement get to you and jump on the route without thinking about it first. With sponsorship comes accountability and representation. It feels great to represent organizations you believe in. But also now you need to ambassador your sponsors.
How has that changed your attitude towards your training, outdoor climbing, and such? I felt like I had to train and work harder, not just for myself, but to honestly represent my sponsors. I am a young girl crazy about climbing and with so many dreams and goals. Having sponsors has helped me stay on target to achieve my own climbing goals. With that in mind, my training regimen has gotten more structured. I now train together with my brother now that I am stronger and can keep up with him! Also, being sponsored has taught me to be more outgoing and responsible. I have taken the time to learn about their products so I can represent them and also talk to people about them. So overall, I feel like sponsorship has been a great experience, my sponsors are awesome and supportive and I want to do everything I can to show appreciation and gratitude back to them for believing in me.
You had your first official long term climbing trip this summer away from home and training in Colorado outdoors. What would you say were your top 3 trip highlights? Since visiting Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in April I have longed to go horseback riding. In Colorado, I got the chance to ride horses in the mountains, and that was awesome! Another highlight was something I took for granted. Taking a shower! We would go twice per week to a public shower in a laundromat and seriously it shaped part of my Colorado experience. I also washed my own clothes without my mom’s help that was a great experience to learn how to do things for yourself. We even got to know the owners of the laundromat so well and they too made a positive experience to my Colorado trip. The last is climbing my first V6, Bush Pilot Warm-up. When I first tried it I fell close to the top, about 16 feet, missed the crash pad and landed on my brother, which by the way, I love my brother, the best spotter ever. It took me a week to get the courage to go back to that V6 and try it again and I sent it clean. So on top of sending my first V6, I accomplished something even greater, without anyone tell me anything, I just worked through my fears on my own and when I was ready I went up to my challenge, pushed through it and got past it. I think for an 8 year old, that’s a pretty awesome thing to experience!
Again on Colorado adventure, I have been there a million times climbing, but pretend I am going to there for the first time, tell me the top 3 places I should see, hike or boulder that you experienced and would recommend. Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park because it is one of the prettiest 10 mile hikes! Climbing in upper Chaos because the climbing is such good quality, the hike is so beautiful and the views are magical. Lincoln Lake in Mountain Evans is another must do because again, it’s another beautiful hike, the views while climbing are just amazing and well, high altitude climbing, yeay!
Last time we spoke, one of your biggest long-term goals was to complete a V10 by the time you turn 10. Since our last interview, have your goals changed? I am going to Bishop in a few weeks and I’d really like to send my 1st V10 while I’m there…sending it before I’m 9. With my first ABS season under way, I just did my first ABS comp and won in my age division, so I am hope I can make it to nationals, that would be super cool!
Competition and bouldering season is here……what is beautiful V up to this season? Awww thanks for the compliment. Right now I train 3 days a week in the gym and climb outside on the weekends. Training is hard, but the reward is being outside in the fresh air and spending time with my family is something so special! ABS season just started and I won first place in my age division at my first comp in Warrenville, IL. Then my family and I are off to Bishop for a week. After that I compete another ABS comp in St. Paul, MN. Then I participate outside in one of the Triple Crown comps in Steele, Alabama. I love outside comps on real rock, so I am really excited.
From there I re-focus and train for rest of November and December, then regionals, divisionals then yeay, Hueco Tanks comp! So I am pretty busy but comps also keep me on target and focused. You have been to a lot of cool outdoors destinations.
What is one destination you would like to climb at soon in the near future? Spain is my “dream” trip, but I’m also psyched on going to Joes Valley and Red Rock.
So, when you are not climbing or learning how to set boulder problems at the gym, what do you do for fun besides climbing? Good question coming from another addicted destination climber! LOL! I love watching climbing videos with my brother and updating my 8a. I am almost 9 years old and love my Barbies, doing my nails, going to amusement parks, and dancing to my favorite group One Direction. I love to read, in fact, while in Colorado, I read the Judy Moody series, so cool. Since then I have started reading a few other series. I also love spelling, so even when in Colorado, if I was not climbing or reading, I was practicing my 4th grade spelling words. I even like playing throw/catch footballs with my brother Brandon.
For a beautiful and dynamite 8-year-old, almost 9-year-old, you have been through quite an amazing journey in the past 9 months. Any words of wisdom for us climbers out there? Get outside and climb hard. But above all that, always have fun and take life one day at a time.
There are many awesome climbing kids out there crushing hard. But, as a former child athlete, Victoria is special. Call it passion, call it spark, call it talent…Victoria is all that. I will continue to follow her and try to plan a reunion trip with the gang, in the meantime, keep an eye out for this little one, she already competed her first ABS competition and won her age division, she is out there to climb her heart out. Rock on Victoria!
Be sure to check out Victoria’s sponsors!