Child Climbing Champion |

Child Climbing Champion

Geraldine Haldner
Lauren Lee of Utah gives Tori Allen a run for her money at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail.

One of the world’s foremost female climbing stars, Tori Allen,

has been called a “wunderkind,” a child prodigy, a pawn of her parents’ aspirations. But the “tiny Tori,” as she describes herself, is just having fun “being the huge Tori when I climb.”

“I’m just a 13-year-old little girl,” says the 13-year-old freshman, who at 4 feet, 11 inches tall has managed to swing and leap from victory to victory in speed climbing and difficulty climbing events across the nation in just two years of competing.

Unabashed, buoyant and bouncy as a rubber ball, Tori Allen has bobbed to the top of the American climbing scene, claiming top honors in adult difficulty and speed climbing events at the National Climbing Championships in San Francisco in April and leaping to the top of the podium in Dyno climbing and bouldering competitions at the Phoenix Bouldering Contest and the ABS National Championships in Boulder less than one month earlier.

Barely tipping the scale at 80 pounds, Tori Allen is used to being called a “squirt, a midget” both at school and in normal life. But once she gets on the climbing wall, she is a giant.

“That’s were everyone goes `wow’,” she says.

Allen is used to being glared at by other mom’s at junior climbing events. And her carefree conduct prior to competitions at adult events “confounds many of the other competitors, who are so methodical and meticulous,” says her mom, Shawn Allen.

“I just listen to my CD player, walk around, talk to other competitors, draw on my Etch-A-Sketch or blow bubbles,” says the teenager, who is feared by grown-up climbers for her disproportionately long fingers, toes and arms.

“They’re only positive 2 inches on each side,” she says using climber lingo for “positive ape index,” a measurement of limbs that makes or breaks a climber.

Tori Allen competed in Teva Mountain Games held in Vail this summer. For more information on t he Teva Mountain Games contact the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau at

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