On Sunday, October 22, Austrian Angy (Angela) Eiter completed La Planta de Shiva, the first 9b (5.15b) climbed by a woman. Eiter began work on the 45-meter route (150 feet) in Villanueva del Rosario in southern Spain, in October 2015, sending the first pitch of it, rated 8c (5.14b), that year.
“I was [drawn to the] beauty and difficulty of the line and the route suited perfectly to my style,” she told Climbing.
Two years ago, after two burns on the second, crimpy pitch, “I managed to check out all the [sequences], but on some parts I wasn’t able to link more than two or three moves,” the 31-year old said. She then put the project on pause for a period.
Three months later, after her friend Jakob Schubert nabbed the second ascent of the power-endurance line in January 2016, her enthusiasm reignited, spurred on by his post-send words, calling it the “biggest fight of my life.”
La Planta de Shiva was bolted by Manolo Del Castillo. Adam Ondra made the first ascent of the overhanging line of gray and orange limestone with blocky edges and tufa pinches in 2011.
After Schubert’s redpoint, Eiter began working exclusively on pitch 2, a section “a lot harder than anything I’ve ever climbed before,” she said. Over the next two years, she took seven trips to the crag, with visits ranging from one to two weeks. When she was home in Tarrenz, Austria, 1,400 miles from Málaga, Spain, she trained on a wall that replicated the power and intensity required of the route.
“Joy and disappointment came along with me,” she said, “as the whole process was plagued with frustration, especially when two holds broke off. Then I got inflammation on my pulley, and also tore my hamstring.”
Professional boulderer and sport climber Eiter is a four-time World Champion, European Champion, World Cup Champion and winner of the Rock Masters. She’s also the founder of K3-Climbing, a gym in Mieming, Tirol, Austria.
La Planta de Shiva is currently the hardest sport route climbed be a woman. The line adds to Eiter’s impressive tick list, which includes four routes rated 9a/5.14d:
- Bernie Musculus, Nifada, Greece
- Era Vella, Margalef, Spain
- Big Hammer, Pinswang, Austria
- Hades, Nassereith, Austria
In February of this year, Margo Hayes officially broke the 5.15 barrier for women climbers, with her ascent of La Rambla. Hayes has since sent Realization/Biographie, Chris Sharma’s benchmark 5.15. Then in September, Anak Verhoeven made the first ascent of Sweet Neuf (9a+/5.15a), in Vercors, France. Of note, in 2005, Josune Bereziartu redpointed Bimbaluna (5.14d/5.15a), which stood as the hardest sport route climbed by a woman for 10 years.
Regarding her groundbreaking ascent, Eiter said, “I reached the plant [Ed. The namesake plant below the anchors] totally exhausted.”