Ashima Shiraishi, a 14-year-old New Yorker, is arguably the most talented rock climber in the world. She got her start climbing Rat Rock (officially known as Umpire Rock) in Central Park at age 6, an easy climb by global standards — and soon by hers — but also a hub of outdoor climbing activity in NYC. This past March, at the age of 13, she became the first woman and youngest person of either sex to ever complete a 5.15, the highest possible difficulty for a climb according to the Yosemite Decimal System. Even more impressively, she only spent 4 days “projecting” the route — the process of trial and error by which climbers learn how to complete a climb. The men who completed the route before had projected their route for weeks, if not months.
In August, Ashima won gold medals in bouldering and sport climbing in the 15-and-under bracket of the world championships in Arco, Italy. She was the only climber, of any age, to complete the four bouldering problems, and she completed three of them on her first try. She is not allowed to compete against adults in sanctioned tournaments until she turns 18, but Ashima is already among the best in the world.
Read the full story at The New Yorker.