|Born||19 January 1972|
Lazkao, Gipuzkoa, Spain
|Height||174 cm (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||57 kg (126 lb)|
|Spouse(s)||Rikar Otegui (m. 1999)|
|Type of climber||Sport climbing, bouldering, Competition climbing, Traditional climbing, Alpine climbing|
|Known for||First female to climb 8c (5.14b), 8c+ (5.14c), 9a (5.14d) and 9a/9a+ ; first female to onsight 8a+ (5.13c), 8b (5.13d), 8b+ (5.14a); first female to solve 8B+ (V14), 8C (V15)|
|Updated on 20 January 2022.|
Josune Bereziartu, also known as Josune Bereciartu Urruzola (born January 19, 1972) is a Basque rock climber. For a decade starting in the late 1990s, she was considered the strongest female sport climber in the world, and is regarded as one of the most important female rock climbers in history. In 2005, Bereziartu almost completely closed the gap with the strongest male climbers by climbing to grade 9a/9a+ when world's hardest climb was at 9a+/9b. She is known for being the first-ever female in history to climb 8c (5.14b), 8c+ (5.14c), 9a (5.14d) and 9a/9a+ graded sport routes. She is also known for being the first-ever female in history to onsight 8a+ (5.13c), 8b (5.13d), and 8b+ (5.14a). She was one of the first-ever females to solve bouldering problems at 8A (V11) and above.
Josune Bereziartu was born on January 19, 1972, in Lazkao, a Basque town of the province of Gipuzkoa, northern Spain. Josune was first inspired to climb after watching a Spanish TV show documenting two girls climbing in the Verdon Gorge, and started climbing at 17.
In 1998, Bereziartu came to international attention with her repeat of Honky Tonky at Oñate, which made her the first-ever female in history to climb an 8c (5.14b) route. In 1999, she consolidated this achievement by repeating 8c routes White Zombie and Ras at Baltzola. In 2000, Bereziartu set a new record by becoming the first-ever female in history to climb 8c+ (5.14c) when she redpointed Honky Tonk Mix at Oñate. In October 2002, she set another record by becoming the world's first-ever female climber to climb a 9a (5.14d) route, when she redpointed Fred Nicole's Bain de Sang in St Loup, Switzerland. In 2004, she climbed Logical Progression in Japan, another 9a (5.14d) route that was only freed a few years earlier by Dai Koyamada. In May 2005, she set a further record, becoming the first-ever female to climb 9a/9a+ when she redpointed Bimbaluna in St Loup, in Switzerland; at that time, no male climber had broken the 9b (5.15b) grade barrier, and it would be another three years until Chris Sharma would climb Jumbo Love, the world's first consenus 9b route.
Bereziartu also set new records for onsight ascents. In 2000, she made the first-ever female onsight of an 8a+ (5.13c) route in history when she climbed Bon Vintage at Terradets in Spain. In 2002 she made the first-ever female onsight of an 8b (5.13d) route in history when she climbed Steroid Performance at Horai in Japan. Finally, in 2006, she made the first-ever female onsight of an 8b+ (5.14a) route in history when she climbed Hidrofobia in Montsant, Spain.
Bereziartu was a keen bouldering climber, in which she also set several records. In 2001, she became the second-ever female to solve an 8A (V11) problem, with Berezi, and in 2002, became the second-ever female to solve an 8A+ (V12) problem with Solaris. In 2002, she became the first-ever female to complete an 8B+ (V14) boulder traverse, when she solved La traversia De Balzola, at Balzola in Spain. In 2004, she pushed the female record further by completing the 8C (V15) boulder traverse, E la nave va, Lindental, at Lindental in Switzerland.
Bereziartu has also followed the path of earlier female sport climbers like Lynn Hill and Catherine Destivelle, freeing old aid climbing routes into major new multi-pitch traditional climbing routes in the mountains, such as Yeah Man (8b+, 300m, 9 pitches, with Rikar Otegui) in 2002, and El Pilar del Cantabrico (8a+, 500m, 13 pitches, with Iker Pou) in 2004, and Super Weissmuller (8a+, 300m, 8 pitches, with Rikar Otegui) in 2007. In March 2008, Bereziartu and Otegui created a new seven-pitch alpine route on the north face of Peña Telera, called Frenesi (ED+ M7 R, 450m, 7 pitches), while in late 2008 they were climbing hard mixed ice routes in Banff, such as Nemesis (VI WI6), and Phyllis Diller (M11).
Bereziartu participated in few climbing competitions which reduced her sponsorship profile, preferring instead the feel of real rock, and the challenge of bringing female sport climbing to the highest grades. In 2001, she told PlanetMountain when asked about the state of female sport climbing: "What can I say about that? It looks as if women are only present in competitions. It's obvious that this isn't the case but there are so few women climbing hard outside". Talking about her choices in a 2021 Climbing interview, she said: "Looking at my career with the perspective of age, I’ve learned that it’s important to maintain your freedom and to follow the things that excite you—not what others expect you to do".
In 2003, Climbing awarded her the Golden Piton Award for the sport climbing category (and an honorable mention in the 2004 bouldering category), calling her "hands down, the world’s top female redpoint climber, with numerous extreme bouldering endurance tests to her credit". In 2005, she was named one of National Geographic's Adventurers of the Year, for her ascent of Bimbaluna. In 2006, she was awarded one of the very first Arco Rock Legends awards (known as the Oscars of climbing), the Salewa Rock Award, for her contribution to sport climbing. In 2007, reporting on her freeing of multi-pitch alpine routes, Alpinist said: "This climb serves as yet another testament to Bereziartu's prowess; since the late 90s, Bereziartu has worked to push the limits of female climbing in various disciplines".
In 2008, Climbing called her "the strongest female rock climber in the world". National Geographic noted that at the height of her career in the early to mid-2000s, "She was also climbing two or three grades harder than any other woman". A 2017 Climbing magazine review of the history of women's climbing noted that "In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Basque Josune Bereziartu became the world’s best female sport climber", and that she had "dramatically narrowed the gap between men and women". In 2021, PlanetMountain, ranked Bereziartu as one of the most important female climbers in history, saying: "In short, from 1998 to 2005 Bereziartu's hegemony on rock was absolute. With these redpoints, and with her first female 8b+ onsight completed in 2006, Bereziartu reduced the gender gap on multiple occasions, inspiring thousands of other climbers. In addition to these physical achievements, it is worth dwelling on how they were carried achieved: always with absolute modesty, always with a smile".
In 1999, Bereziartu wedded her long-term climbing partner, Rikar Otegui, who himself climbs to 8b+ (5.14a). Bereziartu was not always a full-time professional climber, and during the week, Bereziartu sold insurance and investments for a Spanish insurance company, Mapfre in the early 2000s. In addition, Bereziartu designed resin holds to sell for indoor climbing walls.
- Powerade – Vadiello (ESP) – May 21, 2007; world's fourth-ever female ascent of an 8c+ route.
- Na Nai – Baltzola (ESP) – June 18, 2003; world's third-ever female ascent of an 8c+ route.
- Noia – Andonno (ITA) – October 18, 2001, world's second-ever female ascent of an 8c+ route.
- Honky Tonk Mix – Onate (ESP) – 2000, world's first-ever female ascent of an 8c+ route.
- Fuente de energia – Valdiello – November, 2005; world's third-ever female onsight of an 8b route.
- La Réserve – St Léger (FRA) – October 1, 2005; world's second-ever female onsight of an 8b route.
- Steroid Performa – Japan – December 28, 2004; world's first-ever female onsight of an 8b route.
- Bon Vintage – Terradets – Valdiello – 2000; world's first-ever female onsight of an 8a+ route.
- Berezi – Larraona (ESP) – 2000. Only the second-ever female ascent of an 8A boulder problem after Catherine Miquel ascended Duel in 1998.
- El Castillo de los Sacristanes 8a+ (5.13c), 400-metres, 10 pitches – Ordesa Park (ESP) – 2009 – First free ascent with Rikar Otegui.
- Zaratustra 8a+ (5.13c), 400-metres, 10 pitches – Ordesa Park (ESP) – 2008 – Fully free ascent with Rikar Otegui.
- El Ojo Critico – 8a (5.13b), 400-metres, 10 pitches – Ordesa Park (ESP) – July 6, 2007 – First free ascent with Rikar Otegui.
- Super Weissmuller 8a+ (5.13c), 300-metres, 8 pitches – Petit Pic De Ansabere (FRA) – June 2007 – First free ascent with Rikar Otegui.
- Divina Comedia 7c (5.12d) A2, 275-metres, 11 pitches – Ordesa Park (ESP) – July 2006 – First free ascent with Rikar Otegui.
- Yeah man 8b+ (5.14a), 300-metres, 9 pitches – Gran Pfad (SUI) – July 1, 2004 – First free ascent with Rikar Otegui.
- El Pilar del Cantabrico 8a+ (5.13c), 500-metres, 13 pitches – Naranjo de Bulnes (ESP) - July 2002 - First free ascent with Iker Pou.
Mixed ice routes
- Firenze (ED+ M7 R), 450m, 7 pitches – Peña Telera (North Face) (ESP) – March 2008 – First free ascent with Rikar Otegui.
- Arco Rock Legends, Salewa Rock Award, 2006.
- National Geographic, Adventurers of the Year, 2005.
- Climbing Magazine, Golden Piton Award (Sport Climbing), March 2003.
- Documentary on Bereziartu: Manuel Rojo, Carmen Portilla (director) (2012). Viviendo al filo con Josune Bereziartu (Motion picture). RTVE. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- Documentary on climbing in Naranjo de Bulnes: Sebastián Álvaro, Manuel Rojo (director) (2002). La ola perfecta (Motion picture). RTVE. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- History of rock climbing
- List of first ascents (sport climbing)
- Silvia Vidal, Spanish female rock climber
- Pegg, Dave (1 May 2000). "In your face: Josune Bereziartu". Climbing. No. 194. p. 54. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
- Hobley, Nicholas (22 November 2021). "Josune Bereziartu, Lynn Hill, Luisa Iovane: three women who have left their mark in the history of rock climbing". PlanetMountain.com. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- BEREZIARTU, JOSUNE (20 June 2021). "Interview with Josune Bereziartu: First Woman to Send 5.14b, 5.14c, and 5.14d/15a No Longer Feels the Need to Climb". Climbing. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- Oviglia, Maurizio (23 December 2012). "The evolution of free climbing". PlanetMountain.com. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
- Middleton, Nicholas (9 July 2017). "BEREZIARTU FREES 5.13 IN THE PYRENEES". Alpinist.
- "Frenesi new route on Pena Telera for Bereziartu and Otegui". PlanetMountain.com. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- Mohr, Kathrina (27 March 2008). "Sport Climbers Establish Trad Scarefest in Spain". Alpinist. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
- McDonald, Dougald (12 December 2008). "Josune Bereziartu Ticks Hard Canadian Ice". Climbing. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- "Josune Bereziartu, interview after Noia 8c+ at Andonno". PlanetMountain.com. 31 October 2001. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- "2003 Golden Piton Awards – Bouldering". Climbing. 31 March 2004. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- "Adventurers of the Year 2005: Josune Bereziartu: Climber". National Geographic. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- Stefanello, Vinicio (1 September 2006). "Arco Rock Legends: Josune Bereziartu and Angela Eiter at the top". PlanetMountain.com. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
- McDonald, Dougald (12 December 2008). "Josune Bereziartu Ticks Hard Canadian Ice". Climbing. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- Bishart, Andrew (1 March 2017). "American Woman Reaches a New Milestone in Rock Climbing". National Geographic. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- Walsh, Megan (14 November 2017). "Can't Keep Her Down: A Consolidated History of Women's Climbing Achievements". Climbing. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
- planetmountain.com, ed. (May 25, 2005). "Josune Bereziartu e Bimbaluna 9a/9a+".
- planetmountain.com, ed. (December 22, 2004). "Japan climbing tour di Bereziartu e Otegi".
- planetmountain.com, ed. (November 13, 2002). "Josune Bereciartu e il primo 9a femminile".
- planetmountain.com, ed. (May 28, 2007). "Josune Bereziartu sale Powerade, 8c+ a Vadiello".
- planetmountain.com, ed. (July 3, 2003). "Na-Nai 8c+, per Josune Bereziartu".
- planetmountain.com, ed. (April 18, 2006). "Arrampicata: Josune Bereziartu prima donna sull'8b+ on-sight".
- planetmountain.com, ed. (May 24, 2003). "Bereciartu su "E la nave va", 8c traverse".
- planetmountain.com, ed. (April 16, 2002). "La Travesia De Balzola per Josune Bereziartu".
- planetmountain.com, ed. (March 24, 2003). "Solaris, 8a+ boulder per Bereciartu".
- "Josune Bereziartu and Rikar Otegui free El Castillo de los Sacristanes in the Ordesa National Park". PlanetMountain.com. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- "Zaratustra in Ordesa National Park for Josune Bereziartu and Rikar Otegui". PlanetMountain.com. 15 July 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- Hobley, Nicholas (11 July 2007). "Pilar de Cotatuero, Ordesa: Bereziartu and Oteguia add 'El Ojo Critico' 8a". PlanetMountain.com. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
- "Bereziartu and Otegui free Divina Comedia". PlanetMountain.com. 10 July 2006. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- planetmountain.com, ed. (August 11, 2004). "Yeah man: prima libera per Josune Bereziartu e Rikar Otegi".
- "Bereziartu and Pou climb multi-pitch "El Pilar del Cantabrico", Picos De Europa". PlanetMountain.com. 16 July 2002. Retrieved 20 January 2022.