Ashima Shiraishi

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Ashima Shiraishi
Personal information
Nationality Japanese-American
Born (2001-04-03) April 3, 2001 (age 16)
New York, NY
Occupation Student, rock climber, sport climber
Height 154 cm (5 ft 1 in)
Weight 40 kg (88 lb)[1]
Climbing career
Type of climber Bouldering, Lead climbing
Highest grade
Known for Youngest person to climb a 5.14d/5.15a (9a/9a+)  route, and first female to climb a V15 (8C) boulder
Updated on September 11, 2017.

Ashima Shiraishi (born April 3, 2001 in New York, NY) is an American rock climber. She started climbing at age six at Rat Rock in Central Park with her father. In a few years, she became one of the top female boulderers and sport climbers in the world. Currently, she is widely considered to be the best teenage climber of either gender. Her outstanding accolades include first place finishes in international competitions, multiple first female and youngest ascents, and several corporate sponsorships. She is featured in several short documentary-style films and is the subject of the documentary short "Return to the Red" (2012).[2]

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


Ashima was born in New York, NY on April 3 of 2001. She is the only child of Tsuya and Hisatoshi Shiraishi who immigrated from Japan in 1978 to New York, NY. Her father, Hisatoshi "Poppo" Shiraishi was trained as a dancer in Butoh.[9] When she was 6, her parents took her to Central Park and she discovered Rat Rock where she first started to rock climb and later started climbing at Brooklyn Boulders in Gowanus, Brooklyn.[10]

She started 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 Ashima's father (who has been her coach since then).[11]

Ashima first made a name for herself by bouldering at a very high level at a very young age. At age 8, she climbed the classic boulder problem Power of Silence (V10), in Hueco Tanks, Texas. At age 9, she also climbed Chablanke (V11/12) and Roger in the Shower (V11) in Hueco Tanks, and several other difficult boulders. At age 10, she climbed Ethan Pringle'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.[12]

She has also excelled in lead climbing. At age 11, on October 2012, she climbed Southern Smoke at the Red River Gorge, a grade 5.14c (8c+) sport climb, becoming the youngest person to climb a route of this difficulty.[13]

In 2013, Ashima continued to excel at both bouldering and lead climbing, adding to her ticklist a 5.14a (Slow Food at Céüse)[14] two more V13s (One Summer in Paradise and Automator)[15][16] and finally two 5.14c's (24 Karats and 50 Words for Pump).[17] On 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.[18] She was the second officially recorded female climber (after Tomoko Ogawa) to successfully climb a V14 problem.[19] On the first day of 2015, she climbed her second V14 (V13/V14), The Swarm, claiming the first female top-out of the problem.[20][21][22]

At age 13, Ashima climbed her first 5.14d/9a, Open Your Mind Direct R1 in Santa Linya. The route was thought to be harder while Ashima was attempting it, for she had broken a hold near the top.[23] Although, on Christmas Day of 2015, Edu Márin Garcia climbed the route past Ashima's end point to the second top and confirmed Ashima's route as a 5.14d/9a.[24] In the same climbing trip Ashima 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.[7][23][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 Ashima 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. Additionally, 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 in 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, The North Face, Clif Bar, Petzl, Coca-Cola Japan, All Nippon Airways and Nikon.

Alongside fellow American climber Kai Lightner, she is featured in the short film "Young Guns" in Reel Rock 11 (by Sender Films). The film covers her successful attempt of the 8C (V15) climb in Japan in 2016.


Climbing World Championships[edit]


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

Notable ascents[edit]


8C (V15):

8B+ (V14):

8B (V13):

Other Bouldering Achievements:

  • Chblanke - V11/V12 (8a/8a+)
  • Ashimandala - V11 (8A)
  • Roger in the Shower - V11 (8A)
  • Power of Silence - V10 (7C+)

Redpointed routes[edit]

9a or 9a+ (5.14d or 5.15a) - (grade that has not reached consensus):[7][23][25]

9a (5.14d):

8c+ (5.14c):

  • Southern Smoke - Red River Gorge (USA) - September 2012[38]
  • Lucifer - Red River Gorge (USA) - September 2012[38]
  • 24 Karats - Red River Gorge (USA) - October 2013[39]
  • 50 Words for Pump - Red River Gorge (USA) - October 2013[39]
  • La Fabela - Santa Linya (ESP) - March 2014 - First female ascent[40]

8c (5.14b):

  • Digital system - Santa Linya (ESP) - March 2014[40]
  • Rollito Sharma extension - Santa Linya (ESP) - March 2014[40]


  1. ^ Tilton, Morgan (April 28, 2016). "Ashima Shiraishi: Rock Climbing’s Media Darling". Retrieved 2017-07-19. 
  2. ^ "Return to the Red". 2012-12-08. Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  3. ^ Doyne, Shannon (2012-04-12). "Bouldering Phenom". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  4. ^ Roy, Adam (2011-07-09). "Science of Young Crushers". Outside. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  5. ^ MacDonald, Dougald (May 11, 2005). "Josune Climbs Possible 5.15". Climbing Magazine. Retrieved March 25, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Josune Bereziartu repeats a 9a+". UK Climbing. May 2005. Retrieved March 25, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Ciudad de Dios, 9a/+, by Ashima". UK Climbing. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  8. ^ Planetmountain (22 March 2016). "Ashima Shiraishi claims first female 8C boulder with Horizon". 
  9. ^ Paumgarten, Nick. "The Wall Dancer: Ashima Shiraishi’s route to the top". The New Yorker. Condé Nast (2016-01-11). 
  10. ^ Bosman, Julie (2012-05-12). "Ashima Shiraishi, 11, Conquers Difficult Bouldering Climbs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-04-21. 
  11. ^ Weil, Elizabeth (2015-12-07). "Ashima Shiraishi Could Become Best Female Climber in the World at Just 14". ESPN. Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  12. ^ Fox, Amanda (2012-03-21). "10 year old repeats crown of aragorn". Climbing. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  13. ^ Climbing, DOM (2012-10-26). "Ashima Sends Southern Smoke". DPM Climbing. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  14. ^ Larson, Jens (2013-07-26). "Céüse 8b+ by Mirko (12) and Ashima (11)". Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  15. ^ Parker, Chris (2013-08-15). "12-Year-Olds Mirko Caballero and Ashima Shiraishi Send V13 in Magic Wood". Rock and Ice. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  16. ^ Kahn, Chris (2013-09-25). "Ashima sends Automator V13/8B". Rock and Ice. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  17. ^ Hewitt, Andrew (2013-10-07). "Ashima Shiraishi Makes First Female Ascent of 24 Karats (5.14c) in the Red". Rock and Ice. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  18. ^ "Golden Shadow". 27 Crags. 
  19. ^ Leslie Hittmeier (11 July 2014). "Ashima Shiraishi Becomes Second Female To Climb V14". Climbing Magazine. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  20. ^ "The Swarm". 27 Crags. 
  21. ^ "Ashima Shiraishi and Paige Claassen Join The North Face". 2015-01-29. Retrieved 2015-02-09. 
  22. ^ "Ashima Shiraishi Earns FFA of The Swarm". 2015-01-01. Retrieved 2015-02-09. 
  23. ^ a b c d "Shiraishi Becomes First Female to Climb a 5.15". Outside. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  24. ^ a b Fernández, Isaac. "Edu Marín hace 'Open your mind direct' 9a+: "2015 ha sido uno de mis mejores años"". Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  25. ^ a b c "Reaching new heights: girl ascends to rock-climbing royalty – at only 13". Guardian. 22 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "BOULDERING: Double Victories for Females". Retrieved 2016-11-15. 
  27. ^ a b IFSC, ed. (July 20, 2017). "Shiraishi's profile and rankings". Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Ashima Shiraishi claims first female 8C boulder with Horizon". Retrieved 2017-10-10. 
  29. ^ "Ashima Shiraishi Climbs First V15". Climbing Magazine. Retrieved 2017-10-10. 
  30. ^ a b "Ashima repeats Sleepy rave, ~8C". Retrieved 2017-10-10. 
  31. ^ " | Ascent of Sleepy Rave by Ashima Shiraishi". Retrieved 2017-10-10. 
  32. ^ Yap, Audrey Cleo. "15-Year-Old Ashima Shiraishi Nabs First Place at USA Climbing Championships". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  33. ^ IFSC, ed. (July 20, 2017). "World Cup Rankings". Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "8B Senders Ladies Club". 2013-08-19. Retrieved 2017-10-12. 
  35. ^ "Could This 15-Year-Old Redefine Rock Climbing?". 2016-11-03. Retrieved 2017-10-12. 
  36. ^ " | Ascents for Sleepy Rave". Retrieved 2017-10-12. 
  37. ^
  38. ^ a b "Red River Gorge: Adam Ondra 9a flash and Ashima Shiraishi 8c+ redpoint -, climbing, News, mountaineering". Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  39. ^ a b "Ashima Shiraishi Makes First Female Ascent of 24 Karats (5.14c) in the Red". Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  40. ^ a b c Cusidó, Oscar (2014-07-26). "Ashima Shiraishi, la niña araña" (in Spanish). Am14. Retrieved 2014-07-30. 

External links[edit]