American climber Paige Claassen has climbed her first 9a: Shadowboxing in Rifle, Colorado. The route was first climbed by Jonathan Siegrist in 2011, who described the route as 'a sea of underclings up a stunning 45-metre wall.'
Claassen always seems to have had an affinity with the style of climbing at Rifle where she climbed her first 5.13, The Beast (7c+), and her first 5.14, Zulu (8b+). She wrote on her Instagram: 'It's always exciting to complete a line I'm proud of in this quirky little canyon that allows so much laziness on the approach and demands so much try hard on the wall. Shadowboxing is 90% underclings, 10% micro crimps, and 100% delicate feet, so it's a 200% route.'
Fought my way to the tippy top of Shadowboxing, 5.14d, on Thursday evening. It was a real Disney princess situation up there with all the autumn leaves swirling around in the wind - princess condies, as we now refer to them. I did my first 5.13 (The Beast) and my first 5.14 (Zulu) in Rifle. It's always exciting to complete a line I'm proud of in this quirky little canyon that allows so much laziness on the approach and demands so much try hard on the wall. Shadowboxing is 90% underclings, 10% micro crimps, and 100% delicate feet, so it's a 200% route. Under the tutelage of my Shadowboxing coach, friend, and partner for this Rifle season, @neelyquinn, I did weekly bicep curls, which helped me recover on the undercling rests and power through the undercling cruxes. Thanks for all your support and advice along the way, Neel! Thanks for the send belay @tarakerzhner, and for mirroring my unwavering determination to sleep in the canyon, despite warnings against the cold. Side note, it is now too cold to sleep in the canyon. Seek sun. 📸 by my main squeeze and the only non slaydie who has dared to join us this season, @arjandekock.
Training specifically for the route, Claassen did weekly bicep curls to enable her to recover on the undercling rests and 'power through the undercling cruxes.' In total, she attempted the route around twelve times, over six weeks during the short windows when the route wasn't in the sun.
Claassen has climbed a number of stunning routes in the high 8's, including Just Do It (8c+) at Smith Rock, Odin's Eye (8c+) at Flatanger and Necessary Evil (8c+) at Virgin River Gorge.
Below is a video of her climbing Groove Train (8c) on Australia's Taipan Wall: