posted by dpm on 10/22/2012
The 11-year-old phenom Ashima Shiraishi is visiting the Red River Gorge and sent God's Own Stone (5.14a) on her first day there. She tried the route once last year and then sent it 2nd try this time around. With her ascent, Ashima joins the list of many other females and children to have climbed the incredibly beautiful route on the Gold Coast Wall. Recently, the line was also ticked by Chelsea Rude of Colorado, Corrie Eldred-Klein, and pseudo-local Whitney Boland. Ashima has a week left in her trip so we'll likely be reporting more in the next few days.
Ashima on God's Own Stone (5.14a) Photo: Audrey Sniezek. Read some of Audrey's thoughts on Ashima at Audrey's blog.
Today, Ashima flashed Omaha Beach (5.14a). Omaha Beach climbs out the center of the daunting Madness Cave. It overhangs nearly as much as it gains vertically and is a pure, 35-meter stamina test. I spoke with Nick Duttle, who's been showing her around, and he broke down the ascent: "On the ground before she started, I gave her a few tips about which holds to grab but it was pretty much an onsight. She just climbed up there, shaking out wherever, and eventually got up on the headwall. She went to the anchor of The Madness first and clipped it but didn't take. I had to yell up, "Hey Ashima! You have to go to that other, higher anchor!" She kind of looked up there and unclipped her rope from The Madness anchor and then just climbed up there like it was no big deal."
Currently, Ashima's not the only superstar posted up at the Red right now either. The stars have descended upon Kentucky for the prime season and hard routes are going down daily. Jon Cardwell has been destroying the place with first try ascents of three 5.13d's, five 5.13c's, fourteen 5.13a and 5.13b routes, and a redpoint of Fifty Words for Pump (5.14c). Daniel Woods ticked off Southern Smoke (5.14c) and Thanatopsis (5.14a/b).
But the big news hasn't even happened yet. Adam Ondra boards a plane tomorrow for the Red River Gorge. All hard routes are currently in a state of DEFCON 1 meaning that absolute annihilation is imminent. There's been much speculation on the internet message boards about exactly how much domination will occur. Many agree that the world's first 5.14d onsight is a possibility... unless the Kentucky Bourbon gets him first. Good luck Adam!