Muscle Car, 8B+, for Kelly Birch

© Kelly Birch

American climber Kelly Birch has made the second female ascent of Muscle Car, 8B+, on The 'Scoop' Boulder, in Coal Creek, Colorado, USA.

The Scoop boulder was discovered by Isabelle Faus and Chad Greedy in 2019, who then invited some of the world's strongest climbers, including Daniel Woods, Guiliano Cameroni, Shawn Raboutou, Aidan Roberts, and Daisuke Ichimiya, to come and develop it alongside them. 

In that time, Daniel made the first ascent of Muscle Car, an ascent that Shawn was able to repeat shortly after. In 2020, Muscle Car saw its first female ascent at the hands of Shawn's sister Brooke, in what was her first ascent at 8B+.

Muscle Car is Birch's first boulder at 8B+.

Having competed at youth National and World Championships in sport, speed, and boulder, Birch grew weary of climbing in her late teens and went on to stop climbing entirely for the best part of five years.

She returned to climbing in 2016, having spent the intervening years competing in powerlifting. She completed her first V11 (8A) boulder in 2018, her first V12 (8A+) in 2019, and her first V13 (8B) boulder in 2022.

Birch climbing Evil Backwards, V13 (8B)

'A milestone moment', she said on Instagram, 'I've climbed at this boulder (The Scoop) many times since moving to Colorado about 1.5 years ago'.

'The drive and the approach are short, the setting is beautiful, and it's been a fun place to hang out with friends and try lots of hard link-ups! I've probably climbed on these moves more than any others outdoors…and I've fallen on the heartbreaker "redpoint crux" at the end of Muscle Car at least 25 times'.

'I never got too attached, though, and really just enjoyed trying it occasionally during after-work sessions with friends'.

'Recently, I tried again after a few months away and felt stronger on the moves than last season. And today I finally stuck the crux from the beginning! My fingers then numbed out completely from the cold. I managed to get just enough feeling back to keep it together and top out'.

'So psyched and proud of myself. First of the grade, hopefully more to come'.

Birch's ascent adds her to an elite list of just twenty-three women to have climbed 8B+, eight of whom are American.

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