Meet the 12-year-old grinder who just sent V14


A child with a thick tuft of black hair and big brown eyes shot on the wall of Movement Climbing, Yoga, & Fitness, located in Denver, Colorado’s trendy River North neighborhood. He muscled into a motion, rocked on his foot, then stabbed for the crimp. He fell out of it just shy, breaking free with a thud. From the ground, he placed his hands on his hips and watched the movement. He chalked himself up and prepared to try again.

Given the boy’s age and height – he was only 4ft 11in – I might not have taken notice. But the kid was working on the problem alongside veteran climbers Jimmy Webb and Daniel Woods, who were also struggling to solve it. Something cool was happening. I watched 12-year-old Beckett Hsin crush it alongside adults.

“They are sort of his heroes,” his father, John Hsin, told me later.

Beckett regularly scales boulders that most adult climbers can only dream of climbing. On Monday, September 12, in Lincoln Lake, Colorado, he took another personal step by completing the course Low spatial awareness, which is rated V14.

Beckett’s rise came a week after sending Spatial awareness (V13). He also completed a host of other Lincoln Lake classics, such as Haribo without sugar (V10), Sparrowhawk (V10), Overhang crossing (V12), and honey badger (V11).

On Monday, September 12, at Lincoln Lake, Beckett marked another personal milestone with “Spatial Awareness Low” (V14). (Photo: Courtesy of Beckett Hsin)

When I spoke to him on video chat, he was quiet and shy and incredibly humble about his accomplishments. “I feel like my shipment of Low Spatial Awareness is controversial,” he said, “because it’s a little hole that you crawl out of, and I can fit into it a little better than most people.

That’s right – because of his size, Beckett Beckett can keep crawling into space where other climbers have to diverge to the right. While building the climb he buffered a lot, descending 15 before finally sticking it later in the day. “So the way I do it is probably easier…And there’s only been two previous shipments, so maybe it’s not V14,” he said.

The previous two climbs, however, were made by seasoned professional climbers Drew Ruana and Griffin Whiteside. The resistant grade, Beckett is only the second 12-year-old climber to achieve this, after French climber Oriane Bertone, who sent golden shadow at Rocklands in 2018.

Beckett traces his love of rock climbing to his father. Growing up, John Tsin was a competitive gymnast. Later, in college, he started climbing recreationally and enjoyed the natural crossovers – body movement control, proprioceptive demands. When his eldest son, Sam, injured his back in gymnastics, John suggested he try rock climbing. Sam fell in love and Beckett quickly followed.

[Also Read: Bayes Wilder Sends Two V12s (Two Months After 5.14c). He’s Only 10]

Beckett joined the competitive youth team at ROCK’n & JAM’n gymnasium in Thorton, Colorado. At first, climbing was just fun. “I made a lot of blunders and ran around disturbing all the kids on the team,” he said. But in recent years, Beckett has begun to take coaching more seriously, with competing on the US team in international competitions being one of the end goals. He’s on the right track – earlier this year he placed second in athletics and third in bouldering in his category at the U.S. National Youth Championships.

Beckett on “Haribo without sugar” (V10). (Photo: Sam Hsin)

Bouldering, says Beckett, was his favorite discipline. But lately he’s been more interested in lead climbing, which is aided by the fact that he’s now old enough to lead in the gym. With the next competitive season starting in October, he says plastic is currently the main focus. But outside of competitive season, Beckett tries to get out every weekend. His favorite crags are located in Lincoln Lake and Rifle, Colorado, where his toughest send-off to date is fluffy boy (5.13c). He also has a project in Boulder Canyon, midnight express (V14), whom he hopes to find soon. Beckett’s dream is to complete The game (V15), also in Boulder Canyon. But that’s for the distant, very distant future, he stresses.

When I asked him what he liked about the sport, Beckett replied that he did not want to distinguish the reasons. “For me, it’s just rock climbing,” he said.

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