11/22/13 - Belgian climber Muriel Sarkany has joined the (very small) ranks of women who have climbed 9a/5.14d with an ascent of Punt X in Gorges du Loup, France.
Sarkany, 39, started climbing at age 16, and soon after won her first competition. She is a former Lead World Champion and five-time winner of the Lead World Cup. She was active in the comp scene from 1996 until 2009, when she retired from competing. She climbed her first 5.14c in 2012 with Ultimate Sacrifice, also in Gorges du Loup. She got serious about working on Punt X in August, and finally finished the route yesterday.
Sarkany is the fourth (confirmed) woman to climb 5.14d, after Josune Bereziartu (2002, Bain de Sang), Sasha DiGiulian (2011, Pure Imagination; 2012, Era Vella), and Alizee Dufraise (2012, La Reina Mora). In 2011, Charlotte Durif reported an ascent of PPP, but some, including the Kairn.com, challenged the claim.
French climber Alexander Chabot first climbed Punt X in 2007 and thought it could be as hard as 5.15a. Adam Ondra and Sean McColl are among the few who have repeated the route, and Ondra suggested 5.14d felt more appropriate.
Date of ascent: November 21, 2013