12 Year Old Girl Climbs 5.13c/d

Kazbekova works out the moves on the area classic Catapult (7c+). Photos by Anna Piunova

Zhenja Kazbekova on, and off Vremja Ch (Time X) (8a). Photos by Anna Piunova

Zhenja Kazbekova, a 12-year-old Ukrainian girl, has climbed New Kenigsberg (8a+/8b or 5.13c/d) at the Krasny Kamen or “Red Stone” sector, in Crimea, southern Ukraine. This would make her the youngest girl redpoint a route of this grade.

Zhenja (or Zenia) grew up at the crag and has been climbing since age 5. Her parents are former World Cup Competition climbers Natalia Perlova and Serik Kazbekov of Ukraine who stopped competing only a few years ago — perhaps to begin training their prodigy daughter. Last year Zhenja climbed Vremja Ch (8a or 5.13b), which at that age made her the youngest girl to climb a route in the 8th grade.

The Crimean region of southern Ukraine has loads of limestone, and is the former site of the Soviet Union's rock climbing camps, where climbers trained to attain the designation of "Master of Sport". Today it is viewed by most Ukrainians and Russians as the destination climbing spot.

Zhenja Kazbekova. Photos by Anna Piunova

A couple of snakes under the route Vremja Ch. Photos by Anna Piunova

Sources: Anna Piunova / Mountain.ru, PlanetMountain.com, and Andriy Kolos

Date of Ascent: June 30, 2009

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