Female rock climbers are the best and most interesting to watch as they master the hardest routes indoors and on the rock.
In this post, we look at 7 of the world’s best female rock climbers, and these are by far some of my favorites. Not only are they master climbers, but they are also super inspirational to women and rock climbers worldwide.
I also really love watching the Top Male Rock Climbers in the world and find them super inspirational too.
But in this, we look at 7 of the best female rock climbers who are the best in the world at what they do.
It’s no surprise that 2 of these top 7 female rock climbers are from Boulder, Colorado Boulder, a major hub for rock climbing and outdoor recreation.
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7 Top Female Rock Climbers
1. Ashima Shiraishi
She gained recognition at a young age for her exceptional climbing skills and has set numerous records and achieved impressive feats in rock climbing.
After starting climbing at a very young age, she quickly progressed in the sport and became one of the top climbers in the world. She has excelled in bouldering and sport climbing and has climbed some of the world’s most challenging routes and problems.
Her achievements include sending challenging routes such as “Open Your Mind Direct” in Santa Linya, Spain, and “Horizon” in Mount Hiei, Japan.
She has been featured in climbing documentaries, magazines, and news articles, and she’s considered one of the sport’s rising stars.
In 2015, at 14 years old, she became the first female in history to complete a V15 grade climb (the second hardest difficulty level for outdoor rock climbing). She is also the youngest person ever to complete one.
She was the world’s youngest person to send a V10 (The Power of Silence) at age eight and a V12 (Martini Right) at age nine, the youngest to send a 5.14c at age eleven, and the world’s first female to climb a V15 (Horizon) at just fifteen.
When Ashima was thirteen, she became the first woman, and the youngest person of either sex, ever to “send” (complete) a 5.15, a route called Open Your Mind Direct, which was recently upgraded from a 5.14d to a 5.15a.
She spent just four days “projecting” the route—that is, studying and solving all the problems on it by trial and error. The men who had done it before had spent weeks if not months.
Her titles include six Youth World Championships, the 2017 USA Climbing Sport Open National Champion, and the 2019 USA Climbing Bouldering Open National Champion.
2. Margo Hayes
Margo Hayes was born on February 11, 1998, in Boulder, Colorado, and she started climbing at a young age.
Her dedication and exceptional skills have earned her numerous accolades and a strong reputation within the climbing community as one of the best female rock climbers around.
She gained widespread recognition for becoming the first woman to climb a route graded 9a+ (5.15a) by successfully ascending “La Rambla” in Siurana, Spain, in February 2017, one of the world’s hardest sport climbing routes.
In addition to “La Rambla,” she has also accomplished other challenging climbs, such as “Biographie” (formerly known as “Realization”) in France.
Margo Hayes’ achievements have inspired many climbers and helped pave the way for more female rock climbers to tackle the most difficult climbing routes.
Margo was born in the heart of the rock climbing universe, Boulder, Colorado, and dedicated herself to climbing from age 10.
Her grandfather, Dr. James Morrissey, was part of the first successful climb of the Kangshung Face on Mount Everest.
Her Father is also known for scaling the legendary cliffs of Yosemite Valley.
At 19 years old, she sent two 5.15a sport routes, La Rambla and Biographie. This immediately established her as one of the world’s top sports climbers and the first woman to climb in the grade.
She won both the Bouldering and Lead Climbing events at the World Youth Championships in Guangzhou.
But she is best known for being the first woman ever to climb 5.15 (9a+), a grade only around 60 men in the world have climbed.
She is ranked among the greatest climbers of all time, and her accomplishments include:
- First female ascent of 5.15 grade, La Rambla 5.15a
- First female ascent of Biography, 5.15a
- First female ascent (ninth overall) Bad Girls Club, 5.14d
- 2017 Climbing’s Golden Piton Award
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3. Alex Puccio
Born June 15, 1989, in McKinney, Texas, Alex Puccio is a professional American rock climber specializing in bouldering.
She started climbing at age thirteen and first participated in the U.S. Bouldering Championships in 2006 at age 17. She won the title in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Puccio has cemented her place as one of the strongest female climbers on the scene, notching seven V12s and winning a string of ABS titles and a World Cup.
She competes in climbing competitions and splits her time between climbing outdoors and indoors.
She is known for being one of the strongest female rock climbers in the world and is one of the most successful climbers of her generation.
An icon of the sport of bouldering, Alex has won 11 National Bouldering Championships, making her the most successful US competitor in history and the most successful female boulderer of all time.
4. Janja Garnbret
Born 12 March 1999 in Šmartno pri Slovenj Gradcu, Slovenia, Janja Garnbret started climbing at 7 years old and took part in her first national competition at the age of 8.
In July 2015, just after turning 16, she started competing in the senior category of the Lead Climbing World Cup.
Janja is a Slovenian professional rock climber specializing in sport climbing and competition climbing and has won multiple competition lead climbing and bouldering events.
In 2021, she became the first-ever female Olympic gold medalist in climbing and is widely regarded as one of the greatest competition climbers ever.
Janja Garnbret has been a dominant force in international climbing competitions, consistently winning gold medals at World Cup events and World Championships.
She is known for her impressive technique, strength, and mental composure, which have allowed her to excel in both lead climbing and bouldering competitions.
One of her notable achievements is winning multiple IFSC World Cup titles and becoming one of her generation’s most successful competition climbers. She has also won numerous World Championships and European Championships in lead climbing and bouldering.
Garnbret’s achievements have made her a role model and inspiration for many climbers, and her successes have contributed to the growing popularity of sport climbing and bouldering as competitive and recreational activities.
Since her debut in the 2016 Sport Climbing World Cup, she quickly ascended, winning the 2016 World Championship and Overall World Cup in lead and combined. With over 30 World Cup wins and 6 World Champion titles, her standout year was 2019, when she achieved a historic clean sweep in bouldering, winning every World Cup competition.
Not stopping at her previous achievements, Janja’s success continued at the Hachioji, Japan, Climbing World Championship. She made history by claiming titles in all three categories (lead, boulder, and 3×3 format), a feat unmatched by any other female climber.
📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out Top 5 Most Legendary and Difficult Climbing Routes
5. Brooke Raboutou
Born April 9, 2001, Brooke is a professional climber from the USA who trains with team ABC Colorado.
Known for her achievements in both sport climbing and bouldering, Raboutou was born on April 9, 2001, in Boulder, Colorado, USA, into a family of climbers.
Her parents, Didier Raboutou and Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou, are former world-class climbers, greatly influencing her climbing career.
Her mother, Robyn Erbesfield, a famous climber, is also the main coach of Team ABC Boulder in Colorado.
Her brother, Shawn Raboutou, is a professional rock climber specializing in bouldering.
Brooke Raboutou began climbing at a young age and quickly rose through the ranks, earning her place as one of the top climbers in the world. She has excelled in both bouldering and sport climbing competitions.
At two years old, she began what has become a lifelong passion. By age nine, she was sending V10 and became the youngest female to climb a 5.13b.
The following year, she sent V11 and became the youngest female to climb 5.13d, and later became the youngest American and youngest female to climb 5.14a.
At 11, she became the youngest female to send 5.14b, with Welcome to Tijuana in Rodellar, Spain.
At 14, she sent 5.14c, with the Joe Kinder classic Southern Smoke in the Red River Gorge.
By the time Raboutou entered the adult circuit, she had spent over a decade on rock.
Raboutou has competed in international climbing events, such as the IFSC World Cup series, and has achieved impressive results, often finishing on the podium.
Notably, she has been part of the U.S. national climbing team and consistently delivered strong global performances.
Her climbing achievements include:
- Youngest female (9) to climb 5.13b (2010).
- Youngest female (10) to climb 5.13d (2011).
- Youngest female and American to climb 5.14a (2011).
- Youngest female (11) to climb 5.14b (2012).
- Youth B Combined World Champion (2016).
- Youth A Combined Pan American Champion (2017).
- Youth A Lead World Champion (2018).
- 5th Place, Sport Climbing, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (2021).
6. Shauna Coxsey
Shauna Coxsey was born in Cheshire, northern England, on January 27, 1993, and first went to a climbing wall when she was four years after she was inspired by a movie starring French free climber Catherine Destivelle.
Coxsey has consistently performed well in international bouldering competitions, including the IFSC World Cup series.
She has won multiple World Cup titles, and her strength, technique, and competitive spirit have made her a dominant force in the sport. Additionally, she has represented the United Kingdom in climbing events at the World Championships.
Besides her very successful competition career, Shauna Coxsey has significantly contributed to outdoor climbing, completing challenging boulder problems and routes worldwide.
Shauna also initiated, founded, and organized the Women’s Climbing Symposium to positively impact people’s climbing with activities that connect, develop, and inspire.
She is the most successful competition climber in the UK, having won the IFSC Bouldering World Cup Season in 2016 and 2017.
Cozsey retired from competition climbing after competing in the 2020 Olympics
Shauna Coxsey is already the most successful competitive climber in British history, having reigned supreme at the British Bouldering Championships numerous times and becoming the country’s first overall winner of the IFSC Bouldering World Cup.
7. Miho Nonaka
Miho Nonaka is a highly accomplished Japanese rock climber known for her excellence in the discipline of bouldering and lead climbing.
Born on October 18, 1997, in Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan, she has gained international recognition for her impressive achievements in competitive climbing.
Nonaka has consistently performed well in the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup series, competing in bouldering and leading climbing events. She has achieved numerous podium finishes and has been a top-ranked competitor globally.
Miho Nonaka’s climbing style is characterized by her strength, agility, and technical skills, which have allowed her to tackle a wide range of challenging climbing problems and routes. She has represented Japan in various international climbing competitions, including the World Championships and the Olympic Games.
Nonaka’s dedication and success in the sport have made her a prominent figure in the climbing community and a source of inspiration for many aspiring climbers, both in Japan and worldwide.
She is a Japanese boulderer who was introduced to climbing by her father at nine and competed in her first World Cup at 17.
Her father and sister introduced her to climbing when she was 9, and she competed in her first World Cup at age 17.
2015 she took Bronze overall in the Bouldering World Cup, then Silver in 2016. In 2018 she finally took first place for the Gold by winning nearly every event – cementing herself as a world-class competitor and one of the world’s best female rock climbers.
Nonaka is also an Olympic silver medalist from Tokyo 2020, winning silver in the women’s combined climbing event.
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Last Updated on November 20, 2023