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Solveig Korherr Crushes “Southern Smoke” and “Lucifer” in the Red River Gorge

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After an already impressive campaign this spring, German climber Solveig Korherr returned to the Red River Gorge, Kentucky this fall and wasted no time picking up where she left off—ticking Southern Smoke  (5.14c) and Lucifer (5.14c) in a two-week span. These were her first two climbs of the grade; however, the 21-year-old didn’t stop there, sending the Motherlode’s hardest line Thanatopsis (5.14b) and the difficult fitness link-up Southern Pump (5.14a) quickly thereafter.

Korherr on Southern Smoke (5.14c), Red River Gorge, Kentucky. Photo: Billy Simek.

After trying Southern Smoke, at Bob Marley crag, for one day this past spring, Korherr had the climb in her sights for the fall season. Following an initial session reacquainting herself with the beta, she returned on November 14 and surprised everyone, including herself, with a send on her second go of the day. It took her just six attempts total.

“I gained a lot more confidence after having sent Southern Smoke, which was my first of the grade,” Korherr said. “I went into trying these other 5.14s with a lot more confidence.” That conviction continued to manifest itself with a redpoint of the savage Red River Gorge testpiece Lucifer, on November 26. At the time of its first ascent in 2006, it jockeyed for the title of the Red’s most difficult climb and has since seen ascents from the likes of Chris Sharma, Jonathan Siegrist and Ashima Shiraishi; and Red River Gorge mainstays Dru Mack and Michaela Kiersch.

When asked about how she came into this trip so well prepared, Korherr said, “I tried to keep my endurance level from the previous trip in the summer and focused even more on finger strength and power endurance.”

That, coupled with “an intensive six-week training cycle before [she] came to North America,” was more than enough to fire three of her hardest routes to date.

[Also Read The Gorge Cup And Why The Red River Gorge Is The Best Crag In America]

The German climber has now switched her focus to Pure Imagination (5.14c) and accruing additional mileage on more of the area’s classic 5.13s for the remainder of her trip, weather-permitting.

Prior to coming to Kentucky this fall, Korherr also made a stop in the New River Gorge, West Virginia and bagged an ascent of Proper Soul (5.14a). This slew of redpoints comes on top of Korherr’s other Red River Gorge sends, including Swingline (5.13d) and White Man’s Shuffle (5.13d) (both secondgo), the notoriously sandbagged Nagypapa (5.13d), plus True Love (5.13d), Last of the Bohicans (5.13d), and Black Gold (5.13c). In case that wasn’t enough, during her first trip to the Red this past spring, she onsighted both Omaha Beach (5.14a) and Kaleidoscope (5.13c), in addition to ticking off God’s Own Stone (5.14a), Transworld Depravity (5.14a), and Ultra Perm (5.13d).

So in case you had not heard of Solveig Korherr, now you have. Stay tuned: we expect big things from this up-and-coming German crusher.


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