Ashima Shiraishi, 14, made history today when she sent Horizon (8C/V15) at Mount Hiei, Japan. She became
the first female and the youngest person to climb V15.
“My dream came true!!!!!!!” she posted on Instagram. “I just sent Horizon V15 in Hiei, Japan!” The ascent comes less than two weeks before her
Dai Koyamada, one of Japan’s strongest climbers, established Horizon on May 8, 2015. He suggested 8C (V15), “maybe harder,” for the 30-move boulder
“No doubt the Super Project was the hardest problem I’ve ever done and that probably means it’s a V16,” he posted on his blog. “However, I’m not quite sure because I don’t have enough references to compare with. I would be able to fully understand
what V15 is like exactly if I did more than fifty or so of them, but my accomplishments don’t even come close to that.” He contemplated calling it
V16, but settled “tentatively” on V15+, he wrote.
Koyamada, 39, has sent at least 25 V15s or harder.
Last December, when Shiraishi made a trip to the region during her winter break from school, Koyamada suggested that she try Horizon “because
it was one of the hardest things he’s ever done, and he thought it would suit me,” Shiraishi told Andrew Bisharat for National Geographic’s Adventure Blog.
And she nearly sent it that trip, but fell from the last hold three times due to wet conditions. Shiraishi returned to the region for spring break and
finished the roof problem on her third day. She is the first person to repeat Koyamada’s Horizon.
In March 2015, Shiraishi sent Open Your Mind Direct in Santa Linya, Spain. The route was originally graded 5.14d, but a hold broke near the top, which upped its difficulty. Shiraishi was the first person
to send the route since the hold broke. While the new grade has been in debate, many climbers believe that it’s now 5.15a.
If the grade sticks, Shiraishi would be the first female to have climbed a solid* 5.15 and the youngest ever. Adam Ondra sent his first 5.15a, La Rambla,
at age 15.
And now Shiraishi, who turns 15 on April 3, joins the ranks of the few climbers, male or female, who have climbed both V15 and 5.15.
A film of Shiraishi’s recent ascents, including Horizon, will be shown in this year’s REEL ROCK film tour.
“I feel like sometimes I have pressure to become the first woman to do a V15, or become the first woman to do a 5.15b,” she told Bisharat. “But, then again,
that’s exactly what I want to do.”
*In 2005, Josune Bereziartu, from Spain, made the second ascent of Bimbaluna, which has a slash grade of 5.14d/5.15a.