After three years of hard work, Japanese climber Tomoko Ogawa climbed Catharsis (V14) in Shiobara, Japan, a town known for its boulders and hot springs. She is the first woman to climb this grade.
The route has about 20 moves and starts on a horizontal roof, forcing climbers to hold their bodies off the ground by their toes and fingertips. Climbers must also make a tenuous, full-body turn-around in the middle of the route. The climb was established in 2005 by another Japanese climber named Dai Koyamada, and repeated by Daniel Woods earlier in 2012.
Ogawa finally sent the route after her third try on Oct. 20.
No one expected that Ogawa, 34, would be the first woman to accomplish this feat. Only five women have bouldered the easier grade of V13—including Americans Angie Payne and Ashima Shiraishi—and Ogawa was not among them. She had, however, climbed two V12 problems in Japan.
Ogawa wrote about the ascent on her blog, where her enthusiasm is evident.