The Hardest Move Ever Done by a Woman? Alex Puccio Climbs Jade (V14)

posted by dpm on 08/04/2014

Alex Puccio has climbed Jade (V14) in Upper Chaos Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park. This was her first of the grade and she's now the fourth female to climb V14 after Tomoko Ogawa (Catharsis 2012), Ashima Shiraishi (Golden Shadow 2014), and Shauna Coxsey (New Base Line 2014). If you haven't been following along, the most recent three females to break into the V14 grade have all done so in the past three weeks.

Alex Puccio on Jade (V14). Photo: Alex's Facebook

Alex reported her send on Facebook and revealed the impressive speed with which she sent the problem.

"SO EXCITED!!!" she wrote. "Sent Jade 8B+/V14 today!  It was my fourth day at the climb today and I did it first go. Almost sent it first day on it, but fell of the last hold and tore my finger tip. Went back 2 other days in the worst conditions and realized I will need to it be dry to do it. It finally stopped raining and I had a good dry day, a little warm, but really dry and was able to do it."

Since women climbing V14 this month has become commonplace, it's worth pointing out a few things that set this ascent apart from others. First, Alex did this boulder really quickly, possibly the fastest ascent yet. She almost sent it on her first day, then tried for two days in terrible conditions, then sent first try on her fourth day. Is this the fastest ascent of the boulder problem? If not, it's still way faster than America's best male boulderers that invested many days into the first ascent back in 2007. Seven years later, Jade is still a coveted ascent among bouldering's elite males, and not one that comes easy.

It's also worth remembering that Jade was originally given the V15 grade, a grade that it held for about three years before settling in at solid V14.

Most interestingly, though, is the powerful nature of Jade, a one move power problem that finishes up Green 45 Stand (V10.) It's not surprising that Alex was able to do what's known as "the move" on Jade. It's only been a month since she sent her first V13, Top Notch, a problem that, like Jade, has an extremely difficult move that's considered one of the hardest in the Park. Alex seems to have broken the stereotype that women are more suited to technical, endurance problems and gone straight for the boulders with the hardest individual moves.

The one move nature of Jade sets it apart from the very few other V14's that have been climbed by women. Though all are impressive ascents, and equally difficult (according to the subjective grading scale), "the move" on Jade is arguably the hardest move ever done by a woman.