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Michaela Kiersch Climbs 16 Double Digit Boulders in Magic Wood

Michaela Kiersch climbed her hardest Sport Route, Boulder and earned her doctorate, all in the same year

It never stopped. After tackling Dreamcatcher, and in the days before, Chicago’s Michaela Kirsch climbed numerous challenging boulder problems and sport routes. As the seasons changed, Kiersch continued to new heights, graduating and climbing multiple boulder problems V13 and harder.

Fall 2021

In September Kiersch climbed America’s first 5.14b (8c) Super Tweak. Kiersch climbed the Boone Speed original with Speed behind the camera. Her ascent was the first female ascent of the difficult test-piece, a route designed to mark progression in American rock climbing. As such, the two-crux sport route features a nasty problem before the first bolt that Kiersch protected with pads. 

Two weeks later, Kiersch announced her ascent of Dreamcatcher in Squamish British Columbia. Her ascent came days after Paige Claassen attained the first female ascent of the famous Sharma route. While in Squamish, Kiersch also made a rapid ascent of Black Hole right, a V11 in the Apron.

Winter 2022

Something happened with the new year. Kiersch began her season with a flash of Gunga Galunga V10. She followed this with an ascent of Community Service V10 in Red Rocks. Days later, Kiersch put down Power Save V12, a route that received a renaming from Alex Puccio and Kiersch. 

A day later, Kiersch posted about her ascent of Hungry Hungry Hippos another V12. As her base of harder boulder problems for the season grew, so did her ability to move through more challenging rock climbs. Not only could Kiersch climb hard, but she was climbing hard quickly. The next stop was Hailstorm. 

This popular V14 saw history-making ascent from Allison Vest earlier this year, making her the first Canadian woman to climb V14. This climb became Kiersch’s first V14 as well. In a post, she expressed surprise.

I’m really proud of this moment and honestly a little surprised. I’ve now sent my hardest route (Dreamcatcher) and boulder to date while finishing my doctorate”

As winter became spring, Kiersch announced her ascent of Meadowlark stand, a V13 FA’d post-break by Canada’s Oscar Baudrand. 

Spring 2022

Then Spring fell. As Kiersch entered the final month of her doctorate, she took time away from projecting to focus on school. Still, her training appeared effective enough for she climbed her project, Apex Predator 5.14c, just weeks before graduating as a Doctor of Occupational Therapy.

Kiersch then began her post-grad travels, heading first to Manikia, Greece for Petzl RocTrip. The event concluded and she looked to Switzerland where she met with Alex Puccio, Robyn O’Leary, Nina Williams, and Guliano Cameroni. 

Although she had spent the previous portion of the Spring season rope climbing, Kiersch seemed ready for punchier Boulder problems. While some athletes require an adaptation period, Kiersch sent the thin-edged Steppenwolf V13 on her second day in Magic Wood. 

While this ascent would, for many make a good trip, Kiersch had quite a bit more to give. Utilizing her endurance, she climbed Riverbed, a longer V13. This ascent joined her crew’s team ascent of Piranha V10, and Kiersch’s ascent of Left Hand of Darkness. 

Accustomed to the crag, she continued to tackle the hardest problems of her trip. Fully two weeks into her trip by this point, Kiersch climbed One Summer in Paradise V13. In her post on Instagram, even Kiersch noted her shifting, progressing ability.

“This trip feels like my summer paradise. I’m not sure what the secret sauce is, but somehow I’ve gained a lot of momentum with my climbing in the last 6-8 months.

I’m not sure that my recent ticks have anything to do with my training or strengths. Honestly, it feels really closely linked with my happiness. Graduating felt like a huge weight off my shoulders. I always knew I’d go to grad school, and that commitment was impending for years. I’ve got a new freedom with my time this month, a freedom I’ve never had.

I’ve also come to such a peaceful place with my body. Those of you who have been following me over the years know that I’ve struggled with insecurities surrounding how I look and how that may impact my climbing abilities. It finally feels like I’ve settled into myself and embraced my natural figure. I’m meeting myself where I’m at. It feels good.”

A quick ascent of Foxy Lady V11 followed, preceding her ascent of Tigris Sit V14. Puccio also went on to climb this one. The aggressive boulder problem became the first of two V14’s she climbed on her trip. Kiersch sent New Base Line V14 in four sessions, before finishing her trip with a quick ascent of Body Count V12. 

These ascents do not include those she only reported this afternoon, which further include

  • Electroboogie V12
  • Never Ending Story Pt 1 V12
  • Pura Vida V12
  • Muttertage V12
  • Stairway to Heaven V11
  • Minisex Roof Low V11
  • Rythmo V10

In total, Kiersch climbed 16 boulders V10 and harder between May and June 10.

Featured image of Michaela Kiersch by Nina Williams.