Euro Women consolidating sport climbing grades
- Friday 12th December 2014
Dec 12th 2014
European female climbers are consolidating their performances at the highest levels within sport climbing this autumn.
Ever since the late 90’s the stand-out performances in the female elite class belonged to Spain’s Josune Bereziartu. Recognised as one of the strongest female climbers of all time, Jossune was performing at astonishing levels back in the late 90’s and early 00’s when she became the first female to redpoint F8c+ with Noia at Andonno, Italy and the first female to redpoint F9a’s with Bain de sang at Saint Loup and Logical progression at Joyama, Japan. In 2005 Bereziartu went a step further and became the first female to redpoint F9a/+ when she did Francois Nicole’s Bimbaluna at St. Loup in Switzerland. Her on-sighting prowess was up there as well. Eleven years after Frenchman Ellie Chevieux became the first man to onsight F8b+ (Massey Ferguson at the Calanques), Josune became the first female to onsight F8b+ when she did Hydrophobia at Raco de Misa, Spain in 2006. Previously, American Katie Brown had flashed Hydrophobia in 1999.
In 2011 Sasha Digiulian started to close the gap on Bereziartu’s outstanding achievements when, climbing in the Red River Gorge, she onsighted an F8b+ and redpointed Golden Ticket (F9a). Now however, it seems as though the floodgates are opening and more women are consolidating in the higher grades. Freed from her World Cup training and programme, Slovenian climber Mina Marovic has had a stunning month in Spain firstly redpointed Fish Eye (F8c) - her first route at that grade – before onsighted Los Humildes pa casa (F8b+). Both are at Oliana.
Top Austrian climber Angela Eiter is also well in on the scene with some big numbers to her credit since quitting the international competition scene. After her first ascent of Hercules (F8c+) at Götterwandl she repeated Zauberfee (F8c+) at Arco and then did Hades (F9a), her first route at the grade in October. Since then, Eiter has gone on in late November to add a second F9a redpoint to her scorecard, Big Hammer at Pinswang in the Tyrol. Given she has climbed a total of five F8c+ and two F9a this year she's done her bit towards moving the bar upwards on female climbing.
Angela Eiter on Big Hammer (F9a). Photo Bernie Ruech