On November 7, 24-year-old French climber Julia Chanourdie redpointed Eagle 4 (5.15b) in Saint Léger du Ventoux, France. With her ascent, Chanourdie joins the short list of female climbers who have climbed 5.15b.
Eagle 4 is one of only three 5.15b’s in France. Adam Ondra completed the first ascent in 2018. It was repeated only one other time by Hugo Parmentier this spring. Chanourdie’s send marks the third ascent of the steep, technical, and burly route.
“It all happened so fast!” Chanourdie wrote on Instagram. “I felt it coming though, because I'd put in a good run the day before. I was really motivated, even though I couldn't quite envision sending my first 9b [5.15b]. Late in the evening, I had to psych myself up before my 4th run. But after the first move, everything started to flow.”
The temperature dropped in the evening and conditions became ideal for hard climbing. Chanourdie held on through the precise crux sequence and clipped the chains on her project.
Chanourdie grew up in a climbing family and has had a successful career in the competition circuit, both as a youth and adult. She placed second in the Toulouse Olympic Qualifying Event, earning a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, with competitions this year having been continually postponed or canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she has focused her efforts on outdoor climbing.
In March, she made history by becoming the fourth woman to climb 5.15 with her ascent of Super Crackinette (5.15a), also in Saint Léger, France. Less than eight months later, she has upped the ante by climbing Eagle 4. The only other female climbers to have sent 5.15b are Angela Eiter with a 2017 ascent of Planta de Shiva, and Laura Rogora’s ascent of Ali Hulk Sit Start Extension Total earlier this year. Of note, Chanourdie and Rogora each climbed both their first 5.15a and 5.15b this year, adding to the steadily growing number of women climbing the grade.