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Q&A: Mirko Caballero flashes his first V11 in South Africa

Mirko “Kid Crusher” Caballero, 13, has flashed his first V11, Desperado, in Rocklands, South Africa.

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Mirko Caballero flashing Un Petit Hueco dans Rocklands (V8) in Rocklands, South Africa. Photo courtesy of Mirko Caballero.Mirko “Kid Crusher” Caballero, 13, has flashed his first V11, Desperado, in Rocklands, South Africa. Other problems Caballero has sent during his time there include Witness the Sickness (V11), Nutsa (V11) and a flash of Un Petit Hueco dans Rocklands (V8).

This past March, Caballero became the youngest person to climb V14 by sending the beautiful Meadowlark Lemon Sit. He plans to climb in South Africa for another four weeks.

Rock and Ice checked in with him to ask about flashing Desperado, hanging in South Africa and his thoughts on climbing.

A couple sites rate Desperado as an 8B [V13]. What do you feel the grade is?
There’s no way this is an 8B [V13]! Though I wished I flashed an 8B, 8A [V11] seems much more fitting.

How’s the climbing in South Africa?

The climbing here is absolutely surreal. It is just beyond imagination! There’s rock everywhere around, and it’s often high quality.

You’ve traveled all over the world. What’s the culture like there compared to other places?
I haven’t really noticed a giant difference in culture especially seeing as I’ve been spending all my time around climbers at the crags. I’ve only been to town once for groceries …

Mirko Caballero on Witness the Sickness (V11) in Rocklands, South Africa. Photo courtesy of Mirko Caballero. What other routes have you done there? Any favorites?

Witness the Sickness, Nutsa, and Black Velvet were also super good climbs. I’ve changed sectors every day just sampling new climbs.

Are you going to do any rope climbing while there?
No, just bouldering this time. Hopefully someday though.

Who are you with?

I’m here with my parents, and we’re traveling and climbing together with the Raboutou family (Robyn, Brooke, and Shawn). It’s fun to climb with a group of friends, but we also meet lots of climbers daily.

Daniel Woods, Jimmy Webb and Paul Robinson are in South Africa, too. Are you going to meet up and climb with them?
I hope that we’ll meet with them, so far we have climbed with Nina Williams and Beau Kahler. We also met a strong local climber, Steve Bradshaw …

Do you have any climbers you look up to or respect greatly?
Many … Daniel Woods, Adam Ondra, Jimmy Webb, Nalle Hukkataival, and many more.

What’s your favorite part about climbing?
Always meeting new people, and getting the opportunity to travel the world to climb.

What has been your most important/meaningful send thus far?
Definitely sending Meadowlark Lemon V14, because it is my hardest send so far, but sending Evilution Direct (V11) – the famous Bishop highball – ranks right up there too.

You started climbing so young and have already accomplished a lot. Do you think you’ll get burned out at any point?

I don’t think I will ever burn out. For me, climbing is really more than just a sport, it’s basically my entire life.