At 13, Girl Scales Notorious Rock Climbing Wall

In a stunning achievement, 13-year-old New Yorker Ashima Shiraishi has conquered perhaps the toughest ascent for any rock climber of her age.

Shiraishi recently scaled up the notorious “Open Your Mind Direct” located in northeast Spain, one of the most technical climbs in the world. She reportedly completed the climb in just 10 minutes.

In a message posted to Instagram she excitedly proclaimed “OMG!”

She said local climbers told her the route had become more difficult since one of the holds broke and that she was the first to scale it since. This increased difficulty is an important distinction making this route a solid 9a+ in the European grading scale or 5.15a in the American scale. There are just two levels of difficulty above this and until now no woman has ever climbed something that difficult. 

In a sport where bragging rights are king, any official designation making Shiraishi the “youngest to climb the toughest” still waits consensus among the rock climbing world. 

Speaking with The Guradian this week, Shiraishi said she was happy and that her hands were wrecked from the grueling holds. 

The teenager has been captivating the climbing world in recent years by bouldering some extremely tough routes at a very young age such as “Southern Smoke” in the Red River Gorge. She got started in the sport by bouldering in Central Park. Her story has become such an inspiration for other young people that she even delivered a TED talk in October 2014. 

For a look at just how tough Shiraishi’s recent climb in Spain was check out this video of Mateusz Haladaj from the film The Santa Linya Collective. Haladaj reportedly made 200 attempts to scale it. Though Shiraishi completed her climb in 10 minutes, she reportedly worked on it for several days, falling off dozens of times. 

Mateusz Haladaj – Directa open your mind 9a (very short version) from MadSkillz Media on Vimeo.