The only direction for Ashima Shiraishi to go is up.
The 15-year-old, who lives in New York City, is one of the top rock climbers in the world of either gender. In 2014, she became the youngest person and only the second female to climb a 5.15a/9a+ grade, which is the third-most difficult climbing rating.
Shiraishi started climbing at six years old. Her parents, who immigrated from Japan in 1978, took her to Central Park, where learned how to climb on Rat Wall. From there, she joined various climbing gyms around the city to work on her skill and strength.
Climbing was not originally a part of the plan. They hardly knew that it existed. The real miracle may be that a little girl from the unmountainous island of Manhattan, born to insular, artistic immigrants who had never tied a figure-eight knot, became, by the age of fourteen, possibly the best female rock climber ever—a Gretzky of the granite. (The New Yorker)
“I feel like climbing is going to be a sport that females might be able to take the lead in,” she told VICE Sports in this video.
No matter what wall (literal or figurative) Shiraishi encounters in her life, we’re sure she’ll climb up and through.