The Outside Blog


Tomoko Ogawa Raises the Bar for Women Climbers

If Japanese climber Tomoko Ogawa looks like she's been practicing the problem in the video above for years, it's because, well, she has. Ogawa, 34, starting working Catharsis, a V14 in Shiobara, Japan, three years ago. At the time, no woman had ever climbed a boulder problem harder than V12. Angie Payne hadn't touched The Automator, and Ashima Shiraishi, who made news this year when she climbed V13 at 10 years old, was still unknown.

Ogawa leapfrogged them last week when she finally sent her project, in the process becoming the first woman in the world to climb a consensus V14. Success didn't come easy: Ogawa estimates she spent 30 to 40 days and "a few hundred attempts" trying Catharsis since 2009. In an interview with U.K. Climbing, she offered a glimpse at the intense training she went through to close the deal: 

"I thought, I need more finger strength and reach. I did 'finger pull ups' for a long time that I had seen Daniel Woods do in a DVD. It is like hanging on a campus board with open hand and close it to crimp, and open and close over and over again while you are hanging."

Ogawa's ascent is the third known send of Catharsis, which climbs out a horizontal roof on small pockets. Dai Koyamada opened the problem in 2005; in February, Daniel Woods nabbed the second recorded ascent, confirming it at V14, though he called it "soft" in a note on

—Adam Roy

to Outside
Save Over

Magazine Cover

iPad Outside+ App Access Now Included!






Previous Posts




Blog Roll

Current Issue Outside Magazine

Subscribe and get a great deal! Two free Buyer's Guides plus a free GoLite Sport Bottle. Monthly delivery of Outside—your ultimate resource for today's active lifestyle. All that and big savings!

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Gear of the Day The latest products, reviews, and editors' picks. Coming soon.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Ask a Question

Our gear experts await your outdoor-gear-related questions. Go ahead, ask them anything.

* We might edit your question for length or clarity. If it's not about gear, we'll just ignore it.