Michaela Kiersch sent Thanatopsis and Pure Imagination this weekend at the Red River Gorge, Kentucky—her first 5.14b and first 5.14c.
“Best weekend at the [Red River Gorge] ever!!!” she posted on Instagram. “Currently exploding with excitement and completely stuffed with pizza.”
Kiersch, 21, climbed Thanatopsis at the Motherlode’s GMC Wall on her seventh try. The 60-foot, six bolt route was established by Dave Hume in
1996. Jonathan Siegrist called it “short and slabby by local standards”
and “a technical masterpiece” following his ascent in October 2009.
“Such an amazing route—one of my favorites at the grade anywhere,” he wrote on his blog. “On the soft side of 14b, but considerably harder than the other 14a's here, no question. Bottom line—wicked movement
and a welcome change from ultra steep jug climbing: a Red River classic.”
Kiersch kicked it up a notch and sent Siegrist’s Pure Imagination at the Chocolate Factory.
A photo posted by Michaela Kiersch (@michaelakiersch) on
Her ascent came the weekend after Margo Hayes, 18, climbed Pure Imagination. Hayes’s was the second female ascent of the route, after Sasha DiGiulian’s ascent in 2011. Kiersch is the third female to have climbed the route.
Yesterday, riding on her momentum from Pure Imagination, Kiersch climbed Angry Birds (5.13c) at the Drive-By Crag in the Pendergrass-Murray
Recreational Preserve (PMRP). “Victory lap after pure,” she wrote on her 8a Scorecard. “This thing
thwarted me for many weekend attempts!”
Kiersch is from the rockless city of Chicago, Illinois, where she is a student and climbing coach. Follow her on Instagram @michaelakiersch.
Watch Jonathan Siegrist on the first ascent of Pure Imagination (5.14c):