posted by dpm on 08/14/2011
Last weekend 13 year-old Megan Mascarenas’ made a quick ascent of the compression problem Mirror Mask at Area A, Mount Evans, Colorado. There is some controversy regarding the start of Mirror Mask, with several different positions, and grades, cited by different climbers. Megan was shown the problem by some other climbers and told that there was a high and low start to Mirror Mask that went at V9 and V11 respectively. (The lowest start to the compression rail is Dave Graham’s V14 Big Worm.) Encouraged by her new friends Chris Sullivan and Keiko Tanaka, who took all the photos of her on the climb, Megan quickly pieced together the high start and sent in around six tries. She gave the low start one try before moving on. The next weekend she returned and quickly sent the lower start as well for her hardest send to date, and also (we believe) for the first female ascent of the boulder. We asked Megan a few questions about her climbing and her ascent.
Megan on Mirror Mask. All photos: Keiko Tanaka
DPM: Megan, how long have you been climbing?
MM: 11 years, since I was two.
DPM: How did you get into it?
MM: My stepdad got me into climbing. He took me to the gym. I started getting outside a few years ago, mostly bouldering.
DPM: What is your favorite area?
MM: Probably Mount Evans.
DPM: Do you go there a lot?
MM: I started going there two weeks ago but we have gone every weekend for the whole weekend. We camp in between. During the week we go to The Garden of The Gods [near Megan’s home of Colorado Springs, Colorado].
DPM: Tell me about Mirror Mask.
MM: The stand starts on a good pinch on the face and a hold around the corner, and the lower start starts hugging the arête underneath. I figured out the bottom beta for myself and then Chris Sullivan helped me with the top part beta. I would like to thank Chris and also Keiko Tanaka for their encouragement, I would have never gotten on the boulder if they hadn’t taken me up there.
DPM: So, what next?
MM: I want to try Bierstadt. I can get half way up but it’s really hard on your hands. I think I’ve got the beta pretty well worked out so I just have to give it some good goes. I also tried Seurat (V8) the day after I did Mirror Mask. I got up to the pocket thing [ed. Basically 1 move from done] but I was tired from Mirror Mask. At Ute Pass I’m working on the Bloody Arete low. I got the stand start, I think they say it’s like V8 or V9, and the sit start is like V10/11.
DPM: You compete, and when you do, you usually win. Will you keep competing next year or are you going to focus on climbing outside?
MM: I want to focus on bouldering, but I like bouldering competitions so I’ll keep climbing indoors and outdoors. In November I’m going to Hueco with Robyn Raboutou [one of her coaches, the other is the esteemed Kevin Branford]. Kevin and Robyn are both great inspirations to me.
DPM: So did you learn anything from this ascent? Like that you should try harder things ‘cause you might send them?
MM: I learned that climbing is more than just a one person thing, and that climbers are the coolest people ever!
DPM: We think so too. Thanks Megan!