An Adelaide toddler has all the makings of a serious rock climber, according to her parents who say the tot has been climbing the walls – literally – since before she was out of nappies.
While most parents would balk at their child scaling walls of up to three metres – without ropes – Bella’s mother Andie Torrealba Meriba isn’t in the slightest bit fazed by her daughter’s unusual antics.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Andie explained both she and her husband Giancarlo are avid rock climbers. The couple climbed throughout her pregnancy, only stopping weeks before Bella was born.
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Baby Bella began rock climbing before she was even out of nappies. Her parents say the toddler is a natural
Both her parents are avid rock climbers with Bella’s mum climbing throughout her pregnancy
Jokingly, Andie said ‘climbing might be in her DNA’.
In addition to taking up climbing as a hobby, Andie is also a climbing instructor at Adelaide’s Bouldering Club.
‘Bella would often come to work with me so I imagine she thinks climbing is something everyone does,’ she said.
‘She thinks of climbing the same way we think of walking. It’s natural for her.’
The toddler’s mother says she ‘thinks of climbing the same way we think of walking. It’s natural for her’
Andie said she’d noticed Bella’s abilities at around three months old, well before she’d even started to crawl.
‘She was hanging from our arms very, very easily.
‘Then when she was about six months old she started hanging from just one arm, then she was hanging from her crib.’
When Bella was about six months old she started hanging from one arm, then she was hanging from her crib
Bella’s natural ability to grip was a clear sign to both Andie and Giancarlo that their young daughter had the makings of a potential climber.
‘When she was eight months we built her a small wall – really to help her stand up before she started walking,’ she said.
‘Then she started climbing it and she seemed to really like it.’
Bella climbing at eight months – with the help of her dad Giancarlo
Andie said they couldn’t keep their daughter off the wall, and that she had become a ‘bit obsessed’.
That Christmas, their present to Bella was another climbing wall – a bigger one, in pink – which the family installed in their living room.
The 2.2-metre new wall proved no match at all for young tot’s skill, said Andie, with Bella scaling it with minimal effort.
Even when the climb was made more difficult by her parents adding extra angles, Bella simply took the challenge in her stride.
Encouraging the tiny tot’s Ninja Warrior side, Andie and Giancarlo suspended gymnastic rings from the lounge-room ceiling.
‘Before long she was climbing the wall, then swinging from one ring to the other like a monkey,’ she said.
Encouraging Bella’s Ninja Warrior side, her parents Andie and Giancarlo suspended gymnastic rings from the lounge-room ceiling
At 16 months old, the fearless toddler was
tackling 3.4-metre-high walls in just seconds, and scaling 20-metre walls in under four minutes.
The avid climber also took to ‘bouldering’ – clinging to the underside of a rock at the gym and making her way along it upside down.
While Andie stresses safety is always her number-one priority, Bella doesn’t generally use ropes when she climbs – although ropes and her parents are always nearby.
Instead, she explains Bella prefers to climb up and down by herself, using a harness. Her proud mum said she is a natural who is able to ‘solve’ a climb by figuring out the easiest way to complete it, and she does so without needing any help.
‘She doesn’t let anyone help her, and tells me to go away if I try to help her.
‘Technique-wise she’s very good, and because she’s being doing it for a long time she’s also extremely strong.
While Andie stresses safety is always her number-one priority, Bella doesn’t use ropes when she climbs
‘She’s learned what she can do and what she can’t and she’s figured out what’s safe and what isn’t.
‘She won’t try a move that’s risky if myself, or my husband, isn’t there.’
Andie said Bella’s antics have seen her become an international sensation with videos of her climbing having been seen by hundreds of thousands of people.
Bella is still honing her skills on outdoor climbs with her rock climbing-obsessed family
While Bella’s still honing her skills on outdoor climbs with the family, she’s busy taking inspiration from all things – and people – climbing-related.
‘She loves monkeys so she eats lots of bananas, and she loves Spider-Man because of the way he can scale walls,’ Andie said.
Both parents believe Bella has the makings of becoming a pro rock climber when she’s older.
The young rock climber takes the business of scaling walls seriously
‘She already has little callouses on her hands from hanging and swinging,’ she said.
‘You can tell she loves it, there’s a good chance that she’ll become a pretty serious climber.
‘Right now she’s just having fun, and she can already do pretty impressive stuff,’ she concluded.