Nikon Imaging | United Kingdom | Europe

MASTERING A VERTICAL MISSION

At just 15 years old, Ashima Shiraishi is considered one of the strongest and most skillful rock climbers in the world. The young phenom from New York City has scaled some of the world’s hardest rock climbs thanks to her sheer finger strength and dancer-like grace. Apart from mastering her next great climb, her mission is to push the limits of the sport itself.

DISCOVERING HER PASSION IN CENTRAL PARK.

Six-year-olds don’t typically discover their life’s passion in a playground, but Ashima did. In New York City’s Central Park, she saw some climbers scaling a jagged boulder nearby and asked to give it a try. This subset of rock climbing known as bouldering, which uses no ropes or harnesses, excited her immediately and she has been climbing each day since.

SMASHING EXPECTATIONS WITH EVERY HANDHOLD.

Ashima is known for being one of the strongest young climbers in the world, and has mastered climbs that no other women have. In 2016, she became the first female climber to complete the boulder problem Horizon at Mount Hiei in Japan with a difficulty rating of V15 (the toughest mountains are rated V16).

"MY DREAM IS TO PUSH MY OWN LIMITS, AND HOPEFULLY ONE DAY I'LL PUSH THE LIMITS OF CLIMBING ITSELF."

DANCING UP THE MOUNTAIN FACE.

If Ashima’s climbing appears graceful and effortless, it is because her father and coach Hisatoshi “Poppo” Shiraishi has instilled these qualities in her. Poppo is a former modern dancer and choreographer, which made dancing a natural part of her life from an early age. Together, the two have discovered the many parallels between dancing on a stage and “dancing” up a mountain face.

"I'M TRYING TO CLIMB THINGS PEOPLE THINK ARE IMPOSSIBLE FOR A TEENAGE GIRL."