Who Is Ashima Shiraishi? – Making History From Age 8

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Who Is Ashima Shiraishi?

Ashima Shiraishi took the climbing world by storm when she started taking down world class boulders as a young kid. At just eight years old she climbed a V10 / 7C+ boulder, a V11 when she was nine, and a V13 at just ten! For most these are career goals, yet she’d climbed them at half the height.

As she’s grown up Ashima has continued to climb harder boulders as well as move into Sport Climbing and competitions. In Youth World Championships she took Gold in Lead and Bouldering for three years straight in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

In 2016 she also managed to climb the V15 / 8C boulder “Horizon” in Japan. The incredible feat saw her as the first female as well as the youngest person to have ever climbed V15 at the time. This solidified her place in climbing history and is still one of her crowning achievements.

Though she is very much still a climber pushing at the highest levels of the sport Ashima is still dedicated to studying and life outside climbing – including a keen interest in fashion culture. She will be competing in the 2021 Climbing World Cup alongside studying at UCLA.

Ashima Shiraishi is sponsored by The North Face, Evolv, Coca-Cola, Petzl, Clif Bar, Nikon, and All Nippon Airways. She has featured in Time, GQ, High Snobriety, and the New Yorker. She’s made appearances on the Late Late Show and done a TEDx talk!

How Old Is Ashima Shiraishi?

Ashima Shiraishi is 20 years old and was born on April 3rd, 2001.

Ashima Shiraishi Height

Ashima Shiraishi is 5 foot 1 inches tall or 154 cm.

Ashima Shiraishi Ape Index

Ashima Shiraishi has a +4 inch Ape Index. Meaning her wingspan (fingertip to fingertip measurement) is 4 inches longer than her height.

When Did Ashima Shiraishi Start Climbing?

When Ashima was just six years old she went to Central Park in New York with her parents and saw the Rat Rock – named for the rats that used to swarm under it at night. Rat rock is large boulder that can be scrambled up by kids on one side but has plenty of challenging problems along the other.

Ashima started her career scrambling and climbing up this rock and then started attending a local climbing gym. From here she got a coach and with her Dad starting to focus on this new obsession. You can actually see some really old footage of her here at Rat Rock before she became famous.

Ashima was born in New York and has lived there most of her life. Her local gym is Brooklyn Boulders and she can still be seem training there often. It was only a year after starting climbing that she started competing at local comps.

A big part of Ashima’s training was with Team ABC – a team and gym based in Bolder Colorado. The team features some of America’s best including Brooke Raboutou, Shawn Raboutou, Megan Mascarenas, and Margo Hayes.

Is Ashima Shiraishi In The Olympics?

No, Ashima didn’t qualify and won’t be competing in Climbing at the 2021 Olympics. In the two qualifier events she attended she got 44th at the 2019 Combined World Championships and 22nd at the Toulouse Invitational. She didn’t attend the Pan-American Championships which would have been her last chance.

It’s a shame she won’t be representing the USA this year but there’s a really strong chance she’d qualify in Paris 2024. She’d also not need to train for Speed then and hopefully be done with her studies and ready to fully commit her time.

Read More About The Competitors In Tokyo 2021
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Who Is Janja Garnbret?
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Ashima Shiraishi Training Program, Diet + Nutrition

While she attended school Ashima was still training at the gym five nights a week. Training for her involves a lot of being on the wall, as well as a thorough warmup and flexibility exercises. Three to five hours is standard unless she has longer periods of time off.

As she starts college it’s likely she’ll have to be just as disciplined to keep climbing at this high a level. The biggest boon from her plan is the consistency of climbing hard regularly.

Ashima has a plant-based diet as of 2018. Plant-based means her diet revolves mostly around veg, fruit, nuts, and other naturally growing foods and products. It doesn’t mean you don’t eat meat or meat products but that normally isn’t the focus on your intake. She also makes sure she gets enough protein from various sources.

As a result Ashima is functionally Vegan or Vegetarian for most or her meals. She has said on her insta – “I feel HAPPIER and stronger from the change. Increase of energy and glowy skin is a plus. Each person can have a different experience but I’ve noticed my performance climbing go up :)) it also feels good to be helping the Earth reverse climate change and water shortages“.

Ashima Shiraishi Competition Results

Ashima has been competing in local and USA National comps since she was very young. In 2015 she started competing at IFSC competitions around the world – coming out of the gate hot with back to back wins in Youth Climbing World Championships in Lead and Bouldering

Ashima Shiraishi Bouldering

In 2019 Ashima won the USA Bouldering Open Championships, over others who are competing in the Olympics. The previous two years she’d been second after all-time great Alex Puccio. For 2015, 2016, and 2017 she won Bouldering at Youth Climbing World Champs.

Ashima Shiraishi Lead Climbing

Ashima is equally as strong a lead climber as she is a boulderer. In 2015 through 2017 she won the Lead event at the Youth World Champs. She also took second at the US Lead Open Championships in 2019.

Ashima Shiraishi Speed Climbing

Speed Climbing just isn’t Ashima’s thing, it’s been the lowest of her results in comps. However, she did that Gold at the USA Sport & Speed Open National Championships in 2017.

Ashima Shiraishi Outdoor Climbing

The outdoors is where Ashima Shiraishi has really shone. While it’s possible to compete indoors and send hard outdoors no other young climber has done both to the high degree of Ashima. Below are a few of her notable outdoor climbing ascents on Boulders and Sport Climbing.

Age 8 Power Of Silence” V10 / 7c+ Boulder
Age 9Roger In The Shower” V11 / 8B Boulder
Chablanke” V11/V12 / 8B+ Boulder
Age 10Crown Of Aragorn” V13 / 8B/8B+ Boulder
Age 11Southern Smoke” 5.14c / 8c+ Sport Climb
Slow Food” 5.14a / 8b+ Sport Climb
Age 12Golden Shadow” V13/14 / 8B/8B+ Boulder
Age 13The Swarm” V14 / 8B+ Boulder
Ciudad de Dios” 5.14c/d / 9a/9a+ Sport Climb
Open Your Mind Direct R1” 5.14d / 9a Sport Climb
Age 14Horizon” V15 / 8C Boulder
Sleepy Rave” V15 / 8C Boulder
Ashima Shiraishi bouldering V13 outdoors at 10

Many of these ascents become “first female” or “youngest” records. Though most have been overtaken she is still up there as possibly the fastest progressing young climber and we’re absolutely sure she’s on track for more amazing things.

What Climbing Shoes Does Ashima Shiraishi Wear?

Ashima is sponsored by Evolv and wears mainly all their shoes. When she was younger she designed a pair of performance shoes for kids called the Ashima. She recently worked with design label Brain Dead and redesigned the Evolv Zenist with a new look and features – creating the Ashima x Brain Dead Zenist. It’s also what she wears.

It’s a high performance shoe and has been popular with a lot of top performing climbers for years. It has split sole allowing the forefoot to move separately from back. It’s a soft shoe designed for hard indoor bouldering and comps, using an aggressive down turn and super sticky Trax rubber.

You can buy them in a Men’s or Women’s version (larger or smaller mid-foot and heel respectively). It’s also vegan as all Evolv shoes are. All profits from the special edition go to DEI grass roots communities though it’s hard to find this one in stock.

Ashima Shiraishi’s Cool Pants

If you’ve seen Ashima climbing or training you’ve probably seen her wear some cool three-quarter length china style pants. Every pair was hand-sewn by her Mom who designed them, with her Dad helping pick the material. Ashima’s been wearing them since she was a kid and estimates she has around 70 pairs!

Ashima Shiraishi Fall + Injury

Ashima took a large fall at a climbing gym in 2016 when she was topping out on a route. She was being belayed with a GriGi 2 when it seems that she fell while her dad had the lowering handle pushed down from the top. This is really common way for people to give slack while they belay and can lead to an uncontrolled drop if the climber falls while paying out slack.

She was taken to hospital after but made a full recovery, only receiving minor injuries. It’s worth saying her father has belayed for years and is very experienced. Have a rethink about how you belay with a Grigri using this video. Thumb only for pushing down the cam, not the whole hand.

Ashima Shiraishi’s Book – “How To Solve A Problem”

Ashima is now also a published author having written her own book aimed at young people. It’s lushly illustrated and meant for young climbers or other kids who want inspiration and encouragement going for their dreams.

Ashima Shiraishi - How To Solve A Problem

Ashima Shiraishi – How To Solve A Problem

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Ashima Shiraishi Instagram + Social Media

Ashima has over 310 thousand followers on her Instagram, and 70 thousand on her Facebook athlete page. She also uses Twitter.

Header image courtesy of Simon Legner from wikimedia.