At just 19 years old, Chaehyun Seo has climbed “La Rambla” 9a+ in Siurana, Spain. The young Olympian made the top after just seven tries!
In a recent Instagram story, she fell off right before the chains on her sixth try but fired it on the very next attempt.
Chaehyun is now one of just a handful of women who have climbed 9a+ or harder, as well as becoming the first Korean woman to climb the grade. “La Rambla” was also the route that Margo Hayes climbed back in 2017, marking the first woman to climb the grade.
Chaehyun competed in the first appearance of Sport Climbing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (in 2021…). She was the only female from Korea to qualify, competing when she was just 17. She managed to get through to finals but took eighth place after placing poorly in the Speed segment.
Chaehyun has been traveling and climbing Europe lately, getting outdoors for a good chunk of time after mainly competing at indoor competitions. She was recently spotted bouldering in Fontainebleau for her birthday.
It’s great to see a competition crusher try some routes outdoors, and now is the perfect season to do it. It’s common to see indoor climbers take a few months in Winter while the IFSC competitions aren’t scheduled. This could be one in a handful of big sends for Chaehyun and her competitive colleagues while it’s cold.
The last we heard of Chaehyun Seo outdoors was on the 9a “Bad Girls Club” in Rifle. She sent this when she was only 14 and still under five foot tall!
Despite the outdoor tilt recently, Chaehyun has still been making podiums. She took 3rd at the Morioka event of the IFSC World Cup Bouldering & Lead event in October and has made nearly every podium of the IFSC circuit this year.
Interestingly, Chaehyun has been joined on this latest circuit by her idol – Jain Kim. Jain was previously Korea’s most well-known comp climber before she took a two-year break to raise her new baby. Now, she’s back with aims to compete and win in the 2024 Olympics.
The hardest sport climb by a woman is Laura Rogora with “Erebor” 9b/+ last year. The grade was given by Stefano Ghisolfi who set the route. Adam Ondra (who has just done another 9b+ “Zvěřinec”) made the third ascent after Laura and gave it a personal grade of 9b.
Margo Hayes was the first woman to climb a confirmed 9a+ on “La Rambla”, but also made quick work of two more 9a+ routes, “Papichulo” in Oliana and “Realization/Biographie” at Céüse.
Photo by Bernardo Gimenez @bernardo_gimenez