14-Year-Old Makes Climbing History Over Spring Break

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 Ashima Shiraishi, 14, climbing Horizon (V15), at Mt. Hiei, Japan. Photograph by Brett Lowell / REEL ROCK

Ashima Shiraishi, 14, climbing Horizon (V15), at Mt. Hiei, Japan. Photograph by Brett Lowell / REEL ROCK

During a spring-break trip to Japan this week, teen climbing phenom Ashima Shiraishi, of New York City, essentially reached the pinnacle of climbing difficulty by successfully climbing a boulder problem with a rating of V15. Just a week shy of her 15th birthday, Shiraishi is not only the first woman to climb a V15 boulder problem, but also the youngest person ever to accomplish that feat.

 Shiraishi specializes in bouldering, or climbing rocks typically between 15 and 20 feet tall without the use of ropes or a harness, using climbing shoes and with only a firm mat for protection from falls. Boulder problems range from V0, the easiest, to the hardest at V16. The V15 she climbed is named Horizon, and has only been climbed by one other person.

 Shiraishi spent her last spring break making headlines when she became the first female to climb 5.15a in sport climbing, which uses ropes and gear, and also has its own rating system. Because bouldering and sport climbing require different strengths and styles, most climbers excel at either one or the other, which makes Shiraishi’s accomplishments all the more remarkable.

 “To perform at such a high level in both disciplines is akin to a runner winning an Olympic medal in both the sprinting and long-distance categories,” notable climbing journalist Andrew Bisharat wrote when covering Shiraishi’s recent first female ascent for National Geographic Adventure.

Shiraishi’s ascent of Horizon will appear on the REEL ROCK Tour this fall.

For more information on Ashima Shiraishi follow her on Instagram @ashimashiraishi or visit www.thenorthface.com.

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