Ashima Shiraishi

Ashima Shiraishi (白石阿島, Shiraishi Ashima, born April 3, 2001) is an American rock climber. Shiraishi started climbing at the age of six at Rat Rock in Central Park, joining her father. Only a few years later, she quickly established herself as one of the top boulderers and sport climbers in the world. Her numerous accolades include first-place finishes in international competitions, and multiple first female and youngest ascents. Shiraishi is featured in several short documentary-style films, and is the subject of the documentary short "Return to the Red" (2012).[2]

Ashima Shiraishi
Climbing World Championships 2018 Lead Final Shiraishi (BT0A2525)-3.jpg
Shiraishi at the Climbing World Championships 2018
Personal information
Born (2001-04-03) April 3, 2001 (age 21)
New York City, New York, United States
OccupationStudent, rock climber, sport climber
Height154 cm (5 ft 1 in)
Weight40 kg (88 lb)[1]
Climbing career
Type of climberBouldering, Lead climbing
Highest grade
Known forYoungest person to climb a 5.14d/5.15a (9a/+)  route, and first female to climb a V15 (8C) boulder
Updated on October 31, 2017.

The New York Times referred to her as a "bouldering phenom".[3] Outside Magazine described her as a "young crusher".[4] And The New Yorker called her "a Gretzky of the granite".[5] At age 13 she became the second-ever female, and youngest person, to climb a sport route with a difficulty grade of 5.14d/5.15a (9a/9a+).[6] In 2016, she made the second ascent of Horizon in Mount Hiei, Japan and became the first-ever female to solve a V15 (8C) boulder.[7]


Shiraishi was born in New York City on April 3, 2001. She is the only child of Tsuya and Hisatoshi Shiraishi, who immigrated from Japan in 1978 to New York City. Her father, Hisatoshi "Poppo" Shiraishi, was trained as a dancer in Butoh.[5] When she was 6 years old, her parents took her to Central Park, where she started climbing at Rat Rock. She later climbed at Brooklyn Boulders in Gowanus, Brooklyn.[8]

Shiraishi began climbing competitively at age 7, in 2008, and paired with coach Obe Carrion, an accomplished climber. Their partnership ended in 2012, largely due to tensions and disagreements between Carrion and Shiraishi's father, who has coached her since.[9]

At age 8, Shiraishi climbed the classic boulder problem Power of Silence (V10), in Hueco Tanks, Texas. At age 9, she climbed Chablanke (V11/12) and Roger in the Shower (V11) in Hueco Tanks, and several other difficult boulders. At age 10, she climbed Fred Nicole's notorious Crown of Aragorn (V13) also in Hueco Tanks. She is the youngest person ever to climb this grade, and one of very few female climbers to climb a confirmed V13.[10]

Shiraishi also excelled in lead climbing. At age 11, in October 2012, she climbed Southern Smoke at the Red River Gorge, a grade 5.14c (8c+) sport route, becoming the youngest person to climb a route of this difficulty.[11]

In 2013, Shiraishi continued to excel at both bouldering and lead climbing, adding to her ticklist a 5.14a (Slow Food at Céüse)[12] two more V13s (One Summer in Paradise and Automator)[13][14] and finally two 5.14c's (24 Karats and 50 Words for Pump).[15] In July 2014, she climbed what might be her first V14, Golden Shadow; however, there is a suggestion that Golden Shadow is V13 or V13/V14.[16] She was the second officially recorded female climber (after Tomoko Ogawa) to successfully climb a V14 problem.[17] On the first day of 2015, she climbed her second V14 (V13/V14), The Swarm, claiming the first female top-out of the problem.[18][19][20]

At age 13, Shiraishi climbed her first 5.14d (9a), Open Your Mind Direct R1 in Santa Linya. The route was thought[by whom?] to be harder while Shiraishi was attempting it, for a few months earlier a hold had broken off near the top.[21][22][23] However, on Christmas Day of 2015, Edu Márin Garcia climbed the route past Shiraishi's end point to the second top and confirmed Shiraishi's route as a 5.14d (9a).[24] In the same climbing trip, Shiraishi climbed Ciudad de Dios, making her the youngest athlete to climb a 5.14d/5.15a (9a/9a+) and the second female climber to climb at this level.[6][21][25] The route has been climbed by 6 other athletes, but there is still no definite consensus on whether the grade is 5.14d or 5.15a.

In 2015, 2016, and 2017 Shiraishi won the IFSC World Youth Championships for both Lead and Bouldering in the Female Youth B category.[26][27] In March 2016, at 14 years old, she climbed the boulder problem Horizon (8C/V15) in Mount Hiei, Japan.[28] She is the second person ever to finish this problem. With this achievement she became the first female climber as well as the youngest climber to climb this bouldering grade.[29] A few months later, she climbed Sleepy Rave, another V15 (or V14 according to some),[30] in Grampians National Park, Australia.[31] 

In 2017, she was the winner of the female sport category at the USA Climbing Sport & Speed Open National Championships (SCS nationals) held in Denver, Colorado, and placed second at the USA Climbing Bouldering Nationals (ABS nationals) to 10-time champion Alex Puccio.[32] In the same year, she started competing in the Climbing World Cup as an adult.[33]

She is sponsored by Evolv, Arc’teryx, Clif Bar, Petzl, Coca-Cola Japan, All Nippon Airways and Nikon.

In 2021 she announced plans to enroll at UCLA.


Climbing World ChampionshipsEdit


Discipline 2015
Youth B
Youth B
Youth A
Lead 1 1 1
Bouldering 1 1 1
Speed - - 28
Combined - - 2

USA Open ChampionshipsEdit

Discipline 2019
Bouldering[34] 1
Lead[35] 2

Notable ascentsEdit

Boulder problemsEdit

8C (V15):

8B+ (V14):

8B (V13):

Other Bouldering Achievements:

  • The Shining - V12/13 
  • Lethal Design - V12 (8A+) - flash
  • Chablanke - V11/V12 (8a/8a+)
  • Ashimandala - V11 (8A)
  • Roger in the Shower - V11 (8A)
  • Power of Silence - V10 (7C+)

Redpointed routesEdit

9a or 9a+ (5.14d or 5.15a):

  • Ciudad de Dios - Santa Linya (ESP) - March 23, 2015 - First female ascent.[6] The route has been repeated by several others, but they have not reached consensus about its grade[6][21][25]

9a (5.14d):

  • Open Your Mind Direct R1 - Santa Linya (ESP) - March 17, 2015 - First female ascent. The route was initially graded 9a (5.14d), but later a hold broke off leading to speculation that the route might have become harder, possibly 9a+. Shiraishi was the first climber who climbed it after the hold had broken.[21][24][25][22][23] However, in December 2015 Edu Márin Garcia climbed the route past Shiraishi's end point to a higher top and confirmed the initial 9a (5.14d) rating for Shiraishi's route.[24]

8c+ (5.14c):

  • Southern Smoke - Red River Gorge (USA) - September 2012[41]
  • Lucifer - Red River Gorge (USA) - September 2012[41]
  • 24 Karats - Red River Gorge (USA) - October 2013[42]
  • 50 Words for Pump - Red River Gorge (USA) - October 2013[42]
  • La Fabela - Santa Linya (ESP) - March 2014 - First female ascent[43]

8c (5.14b):

  • Digital system - Santa Linya (ESP) - March 2014[43]
  • Rollito Sharma extension - Santa Linya (ESP) - March 2014[43]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Tilton, Morgan (April 28, 2016). "Ashima Shiraishi: Rock Climbing's Media Darling". Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "Return to the Red". December 8, 2012. Archived from the original on October 2, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  3. ^ Doyne, Shannon (April 12, 2012). "Bouldering Phenom". New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  4. ^ Roy, Adam (July 9, 2011). "Science of Young Crushers". Outside. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Paumgarten, Nick. "The Wall Dancer: Ashima Shiraishi's route to the top". The New Yorker. No. 2016–01–11. Condé Nast.
  6. ^ a b c d "Ciudad de Dios, 9a/+, by Ashima". UK Climbing. March 23, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  7. ^ Planetmountain (March 22, 2016). "Ashima Shiraishi claims first female 8C boulder with Horizon".
  8. ^ Bosman, Julie (May 12, 2012). "Ashima Shiraishi, 11, Conquers Difficult Bouldering Climbs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  9. ^ Weil, Elizabeth (December 7, 2015). "Ashima Shiraishi Could Become Best Female Climber in the World at Just 14". ESPN. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  10. ^ Fox, Amanda (March 21, 2012). "10 year old repeats crown of aragorn". Climbing. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  11. ^ Climbing, DOM (October 26, 2012). "Ashima Sends Southern Smoke". DPM Climbing. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  12. ^ Larson, Jens (July 26, 2013). "Céüse 8b+ by Mirko (12) and Ashima (11)". Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  13. ^ Parker, Chris (August 15, 2013). "12-Year-Olds Mirko Caballero and Ashima Shiraishi Send V13 in Magic Wood". Rock and Ice. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  14. ^ Kahn, Chris (September 25, 2013). "Ashima sends Automator V13/8B". Rock and Ice. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  15. ^ Hewitt, Andrew (October 7, 2013). "Ashima Shiraishi Makes First Female Ascent of 24 Karats (5.14c) in the Red". Rock and Ice. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  16. ^ "Golden Shadow". 27 Crags.
  17. ^ Leslie Hittmeier (July 11, 2014). "Ashima Shiraishi Becomes Second Female To Climb V14". Climbing Magazine. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  18. ^ "The Swarm". 27 Crags.
  19. ^ "Ashima Shiraishi and Paige Claassen Join The North Face". January 29, 2015. Archived from the original on February 9, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  20. ^ "Ashima Shiraishi Earns FFA of The Swarm". January 1, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  21. ^ a b c d "Shiraishi Becomes First Female to Climb a 5.15". Outside On Line. March 18, 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  22. ^ a b "Ashima Shiraishi climbs 9a/9a+ at Santa Linya in Spain". Planet Mountain.
  23. ^ a b "VIDEO: Ashima Shiraishi climbs Open your mind direct, ~9a/+, at Santa Linya, Spain". UK Climbing.
  24. ^ a b c Fernández, Isaac (December 24, 2015). "Edu Marín hace 'Open your mind direct' 9a+: "2015 ha sido uno de mis mejores años"". Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  25. ^ a b c "Reaching new heights: girl ascends to rock-climbing royalty at only 13". Guardian. March 22, 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  26. ^ "BOULDERING: Double Victories for Females". Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  27. ^ a b IFSC, ed. (August 20, 2019). "Shiraishi's profile and rankings". Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  28. ^ "Ashima Shiraishi claims first female 8C boulder with Horizon". Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  29. ^ "Ashima Shiraishi Climbs First V15". Climbing Magazine. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  30. ^ a b "Ashima repeats Sleepy rave, ~8C". UK Climbing. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  31. ^ "Ascent of Sleepy Rave by Ashima Shiraishi". Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  32. ^ Yap, Audrey Cleo. "15-Year-Old Ashima Shiraishi Nabs First Place at USA Climbing Championships". NBC News. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  33. ^ IFSC, ed. (August 20, 2019). "World Cup Rankings". Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  34. ^ "Bouldering Open National Championship Results".
  35. ^ "Sport&Speed Open National Championships Results".
  36. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "8B Senders Ladies Club". August 19, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  37. ^ "Could This 15-Year-Old Redefine Rock Climbing?". November 3, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  38. ^ " | Ascents for Sleepy Rave". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  39. ^ "Ashima Shiraishi Sends Jade V14 in Colorado". August 20, 2021. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  40. ^ "3rd V13 for Ashima Shiraishi - Rock Climbing & Bouldering Articles". Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  41. ^ a b "Red River Gorge: Adam Ondra 9a flash and Ashima Shiraishi 8c+ redpoint". Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  42. ^ a b "Ashima Shiraishi Makes First Female Ascent of 24 Karats (5.14c) in the Red". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  43. ^ a b c Cusidó, Oscar (July 26, 2014). "Ashima Shiraishi, la niña araña" (in Spanish). Am14. Archived from the original on December 9, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.

External linksEdit