12/17/13 - Paige Claassen is traveling and climbing around the world on her Lead Now tour, which aims to raise money to empower women and children around the world. Currently, she's climbing in India, where she just made an ascent of the country's hardest route: Ganesh (5.14a).
Claassen became enchanted after seeing a video of first ascensionsist Gérôme Pouvreau on the route (see the video below). Fellow French climber Alex Chabot bolted the line, near Badami, on a beautiful striped orange wall. Ganesh is a dynamic, powerful route on bulgy sandstone, which initially gave Claassen trouble. With daily temperatures reaching into the 80s, Claassen and her crew, Jon Glassberg and two Indian climbers, could only climb in the early mornings. And with only two weeks in India, there was no time to waste. "I’m learning to try as hard as I possibly can on every attempt, rather than expecting to take long periods of time to complete routes," Claassen says on her blog. "As a result, I’ve found that when you’re trying your hardest, you can typically pull things off when you least expect it."
After five days of working out more technical beta, Claassen clipped the chains to make the route's first female ascent. "Ganesh is certainly the most powerful route I’ve ever climbed, and also makes it on my top-five-routes-of-all-time list," she says. Ganesh also tops a list of impressive ascents since she's done while traveling: the first ascent of Digital Warfare (5.14a) in South Africa, China Climb (5.14b) and Sea of Tranquility (5.14a) in China, Art Attack (5.14b) in Italy, and many more.
Next, Claassen will fly to Turkey and climb at Geyik Bayiri.
Date of ascent: December 2013