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Ashima Shiraishi May Be First Female to Climb 5.15

Ashima Shiraishi, age 13, may be the first female, and the youngest climber ever, to break the 5.15 barrier. Yesterday, March 17, she sent Open Your Mind Direct in Santa Linya, Spain, after four days projecting the route.

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Ashima Shiraishi, age 13, may be the first female, and the youngest climber ever, to break the 5.15 barrier. Yesterday, March 17, she sent Open Your Mind Direct in Santa Linya, Spain, after four days projecting the route.

Originally a 5.14d, after a hold broke near the top of the route local climbers have said that it is now more likely to be 5.15a, according to Ashima on
Instagram. Ashima was the first person to send the route since the hold broke.

Joe Kinder, a well-known pro climber, wrote on Facebook: “Ashima…You rule…After visiting this cliff for years now I can confirm how hard
this thing is. Most people that have climbed it have put in seasons or years. Congrats lil chica! I cannot wait to see what’s next.”

If Open Your Mind Direct, with the broken hold, is confirmed as a 5.15a, not only will Ashima be the first female to have climbed
a solid (no slash grade) 5.15, but also the youngest ever. Adam Ondra sent Rambla (5.15a) at 15.

Ashima, from New York City, began rock climbing in Central Park when she was 7 years old. A year later, she was climbing V10. When she turned 9, she reached
the V11/12 level, and at 10, V13. In 2012, at 11 years old, she climbed Southern Smoke (5.14c), Red River Gorge, Kentucky, becoming the youngest
climber to send 5.14c. In 2014 Ashima became the second female in history to climb V14, Golden Shadow, and she sent her second V14, The Swarm, earlier this year.

Read: Chasing Winter Debuts: Q&A with Ashima + Video (2013)