Colorado’s fifth year could be the future of climbing in the United States

BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — Bayes Wilder is only 10 years old, but he’s already made a name for himself in the sport of competitive rock climbing by climbing advanced courses.

“It’s sick, it’s great when I accomplish these amazing feats. But I’m just going out there to have fun,” Wilder said during a training break.

Wilder spends three days a week training indoors at ABC Kids Climbing in Boulder. He often climbs outdoors on weekends with his family. Standing just 4ft 5in tall, Wilder hopes to inspire other kids to achieve their dreams.

“I just keep faith in myself (that kids) my size and age can do this stuff if they practice and commit,” Wilder said.

Officially, Wilder is still too young to participate in domestic competitions. He can start next year when he turns 11. In October, the fifth-grader became the youngest ever to climb Southern Smoke, a course with a 5.14 climbing rating in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. It’s a climb suitable for even the most accomplished climbers.

“For me, it’s like a very big accomplishment. I felt so excited,” Wilder said.

Wilder is clearly ahead of the curve for his age group. He has already conquered elite level roads. The question now is: what is the next step?

“There are so many tough climbs in this world. I just want to go out there and try to do my best,” Wilder said.

Wilder is aiming for the 2028 Olympics. It’s something this young phenom calls “mountain top.”

“Usually in sports, people’s main goal is to get a medal at the Olympics. When you get a medal, you’ve reached a pinnacle in this sport,” Wilder said.

Now that accomplishment would make anyone feel 10 feet tall.

Virginia F. Goins