Ashira and 14c- Thoughts?


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Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 29, 2012 - 11:43pm PT
So, as you all have no doubt read, an 11 year old girl from New York is crushing 14c. This is hugely thought provoking. One side of me is incredibly impressed and entirely inspired that one so young could be so persistent and motivated. All advantages of small stature notwithstanding, she must have an incredibly cool head and wonderful technique. But another side says it points out the invalidity of climbing ratings, the transiency of the strength to weight ratio of pre-adolescents (Cicada where are you?) and the wonder of if an 11 year old truly understands the consequences of a life threatening sport. The sending spree at least deserves a thread in contemplation. Help me solidify my thoughts. I realize that this will remain a remarkable feat regardless of my/our opinions-- it just crys out for deeper contemplation.

Boulder climber
Oct 30, 2012 - 12:01am PT
Having climbed with and around her, I can vouch for her psych and drive. She crushes in the boulders and now apparently on the ropes as well. She pushes herself very hard and it shows. On the same trip she did two 14a's and I think one was a flash.

I hope she does not burn out like so many kids before her.

Her abilities do call into question the nature of ratings, but so do the abilities of really tall climbers and super strong climbers and all other anomalies in the climbing world. We all have styles of climbing we are better at, those abilities do not change the ratings, why should hers?

Oct 30, 2012 - 12:05am PT
She hadn't even climbed a 5.14a before and she sent her first in two tries, and then flashed her next. Then she redpointed 5.14c in 4 tries and climbed another 14c by the end of the week.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Oct 30, 2012 - 12:08am PT
Fabulous accomplishments, but the ratings were developed for adult males with adult male strength-to-weight ratios, not ratios which likely run quite significantly higher than that.
The Warbler

the edge of America
Oct 30, 2012 - 12:09am PT
I always thought climbing comps should have weight classes, like fighting, rather than age classes...
all in jim

Oct 30, 2012 - 12:21am PT
You may have made the same observations about Beth Rodden and Katie Brown when they were sub-100lb teenagers onsighting 5.13 and 5.14 respectively.

Both grew up, put on weight and continued to set the bar: Beth with an ascent of yosemite's hardest crack (still unrepeated) and Katie with a rare (is hers the only one?) onsight of RNWF of Half Dome (5.12).

Chris Sharma was also pulling off amazing feats as a 110lb 13-year old. He continues to break barriers as a burly grown-up.

I'll bet Ashima is a special climber of the same ilk as the aforementioned, and if she stays psyched will be pushing the standards in a few years as a bigger girl.

If you disagree, name a top climber who wasn't a talented (and light statured) youngster.

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA
Oct 30, 2012 - 12:24am PT
FYI it's Ashima, not Ashira.

Amazing accomplishment but you still pose good thoughts regarding it Pete.

Topic Author's Reply - Oct 30, 2012 - 12:27am PT
No, no, I hope she goes on to greatness. But it is she a "better climber" than, say, Ueli Steck, because she climbs a higher rating? Some would say yes.

Edit: I remember my satisfaction and sense of self esteem as I climbed my "first 5.10 ..11..12etc" and how I felt at one point that it was a measurement of my self-worth. I don't mean to imply that I'm above the ratings game. Is there a better way of rating that encompasses size advantages/disadvantages, commitment, length , dangerousness, deviousness versus straightforwardness, or ambient conditions ? Does it matter because its all contrived bullshit in our heads and the rocks are the rocks? What is the yardstick by which we measure success? I guess, as I get older, it's the friends I make through climbing and the feeling of power and beauty. Maybe Ashima feels that way already, and is 3 decades ahead of me in that regard also.

Oct 30, 2012 - 12:27am PT
Yea, I wanna see her climb supercrack & see how that goes.

Many don't even bother with 5.10 & 5.11 anymore it seems. 5.12 is the new 5.8 for kids these days. Virtually none of these little phenoms seem to give two turds about pluggin gear, baggin peaks, or suffering either, WTF?!

Difficulty &/or grades is the endgame for the next generation it would appear.

Amazing stuff they are doing, I'd love to see these little kids crushing in person.

 edit: good point below Jim, the kids are unstoppable!
all in jim

Oct 30, 2012 - 12:31am PT

She could probably layback Supercrack and yawn the whole way up.

Ice climber
dingy room at the Happy boulders hotel
Oct 30, 2012 - 12:35am PT
bring her to the Valley, or IC and let's see how she likes crack climbing

Social climber
Oct 30, 2012 - 12:36am PT
I think it's great this kid is climbin' so very hard. I don't think size or weight or age should come into it. She climbs hard stuff. Yey !

She's a sport-climber/boulderer type of climber and , as such, isn't gonna be climbin' big alpine routes.


Maybe she will one day and that would be fabulous.

I wish her all the best in many years of great climbing.

Topic Author's Reply - Oct 30, 2012 - 12:38am PT
Tami nailed it.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 30, 2012 - 12:41am PT
Well, when it comes to women's gymnastics, perhaps the nearest analogy, most of the best competitors are younger than or just at puberty. Why should it be much different for types of climbing where gymnastic/athletic ability is the key?
all in jim

Oct 30, 2012 - 01:21am PT

Hard climbing is very much about gymnastics and acrobatics. Always has been.

Boulder climber
Oct 30, 2012 - 01:36am PT
Cicada where are you?
I started a thread about her a few years back. A relative later posted that she was still very active in comps and clmbing.

Mountain climber
Oct 30, 2012 - 01:47am PT
re. 10b4me - bring her to the Valley, or IC and let's see how she likes crack climbing

The New Generation(on topic) -

So Mirko, what are you climbing tomorrow?
Me: My first multi-pitch and my first crack climb
Dan & Luke: Which one?
Me: The Rostrum!
Dan & Luke: Really?? Dude! Good luck....

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Oct 30, 2012 - 01:57am PT
No one claims that 16 year old gymnasts aren't really at their peak on account of their size. No one asks to watch the upsized weight class instead for more valid tricks.

Social climber
Oct 30, 2012 - 02:15am PT
the consequences of a life threatening sport.

Like cheerleading, skiing, gymnastics....

Yea, I wanna see her climb supercrack & see how that goes.

I wanna see you send 2 5.14C's. What makes you think she can't accomplish that if she put her efforts and mind into it?

This number sh#t is so f*#king boring..
Makes me want to quit the sport and be a hiker....

Others interpretations and goals in climbing should never, ever influence you. Why should you give a f*#k what other people are inspired by, if it doesn't affect you? What are you, Republican?

suck diiiicks haters.

:) kisses!

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA
Oct 30, 2012 - 02:35am PT
Ashima was in Reel Rock 2011. A big piece about her and her coach. She was only 9 then and had made her first trip to Hueco.
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