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Young Guns: Interviews with Mirko Caballero, Drew Ruana

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Drew Ruana on a 5.13a at Smith Rock, Oregon. Photo courtesy Christine Ruana

3/11/13 – Young guns Drew Ruana (13) and Mirko Caballero (12) have been helping set standards for youth climbers all over. Both have redpointed up to 5.14a sport climbs—most recently Scarface at Smith Rock, Oregon, for Ruana, and Übermensch at Pinnacle National Monument, California, for Caballero. And in bouldering, Caballero has multiple V12s under his belt, and placed first in his division (Male Youth C) at ABS Nationals this month. In a sport where young climbers are quickly catching up to the achievements of adults, these boys have set their sights even higher for 2013.

What type of climbing do you like best? Drew: Bouldering is really fun, but I like sport climbing the best.

Mirko: I used to prefer bouldering and didn’t want to touch a rope because I was way too scared to be up high, but lately I’ve been sport climbing a lot. I’m trying to get into everything: bouldering, sport climbing, crack climbing, big wall climbing.

You’ve been climbing some big walls, Mirko? Mirko: I climbed The Rostrum [5.11c, 8 pitches, Yosemite] with Jim Herson, and we are planning some other long climbs in preparation for the Nose on El Capitan this April—hopefully in less than 15 hours. I’m super psyched about it!

Can you tell me about your training schedule? Drew: I usually train two or three days. I can’t train too much because my fingers feel like they’re going to fall off! I climb for fun on the weekends.

Mirko: I usually train three days a week, and then climb on the weekends for fun.

Are you training for any particular route? Mirko: Other than El Cap, I’m training to try Lucifer [5.14c] and Pure Imagination [5.14d] in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky.

Drew: Right now I’m training for Extended Evil at Little Si, Washington—hopefully it will be my first 5.14b.

Mirko Caballero flashes Rude Boys (5.13c) at Smith Rock, Oregon. Photo courtesy Killko Caballero

Do you think being short is an advantage or a disadvantage? Drew: I can grab smaller holds that no body else uses, so that can be an advantage. But sometimes I’m just too short to reach the next good hold.

Mirko: I find when I’m bouldering I’m usually with older, taller people, so I have to find my own way to climb the same routes. It’s kinda fun to find your own upside-down toe-hook or knee-bar beta.

Which climbers inspire you? Drew: Adam Ondra because he puts up so many new routes and sends them really quickly; Ryan Palo because he’s climbed so many routes and is really nice to me when I ask for beta; and Sean Bailey from my climbing team.

Mirko: I admire Tommy Caldwell because he’s a great climber and a nice guy. I also admire Adam Ondra for his fighting spirit.

Do you want to eventually put up new routes? Mirko: Oh, yeah! I can’t wait to start doing that. Sometimes I’ll notice tons of different potential routes. I want to get up there, bolt, and climb them.

Drew: I’m saving up for a power drill! I’ve seen so many routes at Smith that have great potential. I just need to wait a couple of years.

And we look forward to seeing them! Thanks guys!

Date of interview: March 8 2013

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