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Over the weekend, 19-year-old Italian climber Laura Rogora redpointed Ali Hulk Sit Start Extension Total (9b, 5.15b), in Ali Baba’s Cave in Rodellar, Spain. Rogora is now the second woman to have ever climbed the grade, after Angela Eiter’s ascent of La Planta de Shiva (5.15b) in 2017. Rogora clipped the chains after just five sessions.
The original Ali Hulk (9a, 5.14d) was first climbed by Dani Andrada in 2007. Since then the route has acquired quite a few variations. An extension was added to the end, bumping the grade up to 9a+ [5.15a], then a 15-move sit start boulder problem was tacked onto the start. Climbing the route from the sit start all the way through the extension is the 9b [5.15b] Ali Hulk Sit Start Extension Total, first climbed by Jonatan Flor in 2019.
Less than two months ago, Rogora joined the 5.15-club with her ascent of Pure Dreaming Plus (9a+, 5.15a) in Arco, Italy. She was the fifth woman to ever climb a 5.15 route, after Margo Hayes, Anak Verhoeven, Angela Eiter, and Julia Chanourdie. Eiter skipped 5.15a altogether with her ascent of La Planta de Shiva (5.15b).
Rogora’s progress from 5.15a to 5.15b in a matter of weeks is nothing short of impressive, and she has firmly established herself as one of the hardest climbers in the world. She completed her first 9a [5.14d] at age 14, and has since redpointed 15 routes graded 5.14+ or harder. Rogora is a two time World Youth Champion in bouldering, a World Youth Champion in lead, a European Champion in lead, and has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed to 2021.