Women’s Climbing News – December 2019

Hello and welcome to the second edition of Women’s Climbing News! 

Power inspo from Midori Buechli. Photo: Jessica Arwenbest

In this blog I hope to share incredible stories of women crushing, projecting and sending.

The idea behind this blog is to bring together the main news stories from the women’s climbing world into easy bite-size chunks, and raise the voices of climbers whose stories might otherwise be missed. This blog won’t capture all the news from everywhere, but aims to share highlights from the month, to showcase inspiring achievements, sends and stoke.

Thank you to everyone who read, commented, liked and shared the first edition of WCN. I really didn’t know what sort of reaction I would get and I was completely blown away by everyone’s support and interest. I hope you enjoy this next edition as much as the last, and as always I hope you have a month full of sends… Happy Climbing!

Top news stories from November and December 2019

What a month it has been! The nights are drawing in, Britain seems to be endlessly raining, and winter plans are starting to bubble up. Writing this during a downpour it’s hard to imagine that anywhere’s dry, but the season is definitely far from over and from Yosemite to Catalunya women have been bouldering, big walling, sport climbing, placing gear and all round sending on every level…

News Story Number One –  Babsi Zangerl Free’s The Nose alongside partner Jacopo Larcher 

Babsi and Jacopo after completing The Nose

Together they are the 8th and 9th people to ever free the nose, completing the route in 6 days. This adds to Babsi’s El Cap achievements, having already free’d Magic Mushroom (VI 5.14a), Zodiac (VI 5.13d), El Niño (VI 5.13c A0) and Pre-Muir (VI 5.13d). To find out more about the beta they used, their inspiration, and that time a bird flew away with Babsi’s last meal have a little look at her Instagram here!

News Story Number Two – Anak Verhoeven sends Joe Mama 9a+ (5.15a).

Anak Vernoeven on Joe Mama. Photo: Ezra Byrne

Bolted by Joe Kinder the route has been described as “pure power endurance with no clipping anything for the last third of the route.” An Oliana classic Anak red pointed the route changing and developing beta sending on her 10th attempt. As if that wasn’t enough she also on-sighted Gorilas en la Niebla (8b+) – on a day off the project! Absolute hero, if you want to read more about her experience working the route you can have a read of her website here.

News Story Number Three – More Oliana Sends as Daila Ojeda climbs “Crimptonite” 8b/+

On the 3rd November Daila climbed Crimptonite, sharing this short post about the climb. This adds to her previous achievements in Oliana having already climbed Fish Eye (5.14b/8c), Mind Control (5.14b/8c) and bagged the First ascent of China Crisis (5.14a/8b+), amongst other climbs both in Oliana around the world.

News Story Number Four – China Doll (5.14 trad route) sent by Molly Mitchell.

The route is a thin 130-foot granite crack in Boulder, which Molly climbed on lead placing her own gear. She started working the route back in May and sent in mid September, after approximately 50 days spent working the line. When talking about China Doll Molly not only shares her climbing experiences but also her battle with anxiety, and the interlink between climbing and mental health. You can read more of her interview here.  

Molly Mitchell working China Doll. Photo: Scott Crady

News Story Number Five – Hazel Findlay crushes her Yosemite project.

Whilst we’re talking trad Hazel Findlay has sent Magic line, a Project she has been working on with Madeline Cope in Yosemite. The line is run out and technical, given the grade 5.14b from the first ascent, climbed with the gear in place, the second ascent was in 2018 with gear placed on lead and was given an increased grade of 5.14c due to the additional difficulty this causes.  Hazel describes it as “a beautiful crack climb it doesn’t climb like a crack at all. But there isn’t much else it climbs like either.” and managed to send the route on the very last day of her trip despite having to re-work the beta several times after crucial foot holds broke. Hazel’s endless stoke whilst projecting the route is a huge source of inspiration, check out her Instagram to see what I mean.

Hazel Findlay working Magic Line. Photo: Jacopo Larcher

Not so New News

In addition to sharing news of current climbs and achievements, I wanted to dedicate a little section of this blog to sends from the past, rad climbers and inspirational stories. Whether early pioneers, or modern day heroes, I hope to share a woman’s story every month that brings you a huge amount of “wow”

This months story is: Arunima Sinha

I heard this story and I was so blown away by it that I couldn’t not share it. Arunima’s story has got me amazed, intrigued and a little overwhelmed with admiration….I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Arunima was a recent university graduate looking for work. To support one of her applications she had to get the train into Delhi to change an administration error. On the way she was attacked by robbers and pushed from the moving train.

She was hit by another passing train, shattering and mutilating her legs. It’s already a horrific story but only gets worse. Arunima was unable to move or get help, and no trains stopped or raised an alarm, she was there the entire night until someone found her in the morning and she was taken to hospital.

In hospital she had to have one leg amputated at the knee and metal rods in the other. Whilst she was in hospital the media latched onto the story, at the start there was outrage that an estimated 49 trains would have passed her without stopping to help. Then, as the news interest grew, speculations started to flourish with stories that Arunima had jumped rather than being pushed, or that she was trying to avoid paying for a ticket.

Whilst in hospital Arunima decided that she had to do something, to come back stronger, to show that in her words

Today is your day. Bark whatever you want. But someday I will prove, without a doubt, the truth of what happened to me.” My left leg was amputated. A rod was inserted in my right leg, from knee to ankle, to hold the shattered bones together. I pondered on the most impossible dream I could set for myself. I decided to climb the Everest.

Arunima started working on this as soon as she could, raising funds, gaining experience and seeking advice from Bachendri Pa the first Indian woman to climb Everest. What blows me away about this story is that not only does Arunima set this goal, and achieves it, but she achieves it only 2 years after her accident. Arunima is the first female amputee to summit Everest successfully summiting in 2013.

As if that wasn’t enough she has gone on to summit Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Kosciuszko, Carstensz Pyramid and Aconcagua, deciding to climb each of the continents’ highest peaks and successfully achieved the goal in 2019 with Mount Vinson in Antarctica. Incredible! If you want to read more about her story you can read an interview here, follow her Instagram and I would highly recommend watching her tell her own story here. She goes into so much more detail than I have been able to, and shares a detailed account of her Everest summit. Hugely Inspirational!

Go Follow!! – Accounts and shares 

In the last edition of WCN someone commented that I should make an easy list to make it simple to go and follow any of the climbers and photographers from the climbing news…. Well here it is! Enjoy! 


Midori Buechli, Babsi Zangerl, Anak Vanhoeven, Daila Ojeda, Molly Mitchell, Hazel Findlay and Arunima Sinha.


Ezra Byrne, Javi Pec, Scott Crady, Jacopo Larcher and Jessica Arwenbest

That’s all for this month! 

A huge thank you for reading this month’s post and being part of this community, I hope it’s got you inspired, stoked to send, and sparked a generous amount of joy! If you have enjoyed WCN please let us know, I’d love to hear your views and of course feel free to share this post with anyone who might enjoy it too!

 Do you have any news stories you think we should share? An idea for a “Not so New News” feature? Want to have your image featured ? or want to contribute in literally any other way? I would love to hear from you! Drop me a comment, hit up my IG Dm’s or fill out my contact form! Till next month!

Happy Climbing!

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