At the age of thirteen-year-old, Ashima Shiraishi is already one of the strongest climbers in the world. After discovering climbing at the age of six while in New York City’s Central Park, it only took Ashima a year to begin climbing competitively. She soon drew attention not only from the climbing community, but also publications such as Sports Illustrated, The New York Times and The Economist.
Now entering her teenage years, Ashima continues to train at indoor gyms in New York City, and when her school schedule allows, travels the world in search of increasingly difficult climbs. The New York Times has called her a “Bouldering Phenom” while Outside Magazine coined the “Young Crusher.” And rightfully so: no climber, male or female, has ever bouldered at such high level at such a young age.
At age eight, Ashima climbed the challenging boulder problem Power of Silence (V10). During the same year, she became the national champion in her youth category. By the age of nine, she sent Chablanke (V11/12) and Roger in the Shower (V11). Age ten marked yet another record-breaking year for the New York City native: climbing Crown of Aragorn, becoming the youngest person to ever climb the V13 grade.
Ashima has won ABS Youth Nationals five-consecutive times, all while also excelling in in sport climbing. In October 2012, at age 11 she sent Southern Smoke and Lucifer at the Red River Gorge, both grade 5.14c sport climbs, becoming yet again, the youngest person to a sport climb a route of this difficulty.
In 2013, she has continued to excel at both bouldering and sport climbing, adding 5.14b’s at Céüse, 24 Karats and 50 Words for Pump in addition to two more V13’s with One Summer in Paradise and Automator.
In July 2014, she climbed her first V14, Golden Shadow in Rocklands, South Africa. She is only the second officially recorded female climber (Tomoko Ogawa, in 2012) to successfully send a V14 problem.
In 2015, Ashima joins The North Face athlete team as the youngest current member. On the first day of the New Year, she celebrated in true fashion: climbing her second V14, “The Swarm” in Bishop, California, yet again making history, as the first person to top it.
Hometown: New York City
Words to Live By/Personal Mantra: “carpe diem” ( “seize the day” )
Three Things You Always Pack: Clif Bars, Headphones, Beanie
Training Nutrition: lots of candy and good food
Favorite Movie: Roman Holiday
Favorite Book: Murder on the Orient Express
Proudest Career Moment:When I sent The Swarm with a layer of skin on my hands.
Most Humbling Moment: When I climbed with little kids in Rocklands, South Africa for a few days during my trip.
Favorite The North Face Product: the women’s Greenland Down Jacket
How I Relax: listening to music or watching a movie
Weakness/Guilty Pleasure: chocolate and cake
Inspiration Within the Sport: Beautiful boulders and dedicated climbers
Dream Vacation: Mallorca, Spain
Favorite Destination for Your Sport: South Africa
Favorite Piece of History in Your Sport: When Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson freed the Dawn Wall.
Three Surprising Things People Come to Know About Me:
Notable ascents: Bouldering