5/31/12 – Matilda Söderlund has just returned to her native Sweden after a week in Frankenjura, Germany, where she redpointed Odd Fellows, her first 5.14b. Just two days earlier, the 20-year-old flashed Friends Like You (5.14a), and earlier this month, she also flashed Kale Borroka, another 5.14a, in Siurana, Spain. With the two latter ascents, she joins the very elite club of 5.14 female flashes, alongside Sasha DiGiulian and Charlotte Durif.
“I am super happy about climbing my first 5.14b!” Söderlund says. “I have felt that it was possible for a little while now, but to actually climb it feels absolutely great. Odd Fellows is such a beautiful route, with technical climbing on small crimps, which I really like!”
This was Söderlund’s first trip to Frankenjura, and she hopes to return in the fall.
“The style of climbing in Frankenjura is rather different compared to where I have been climbing before,” she says. “I climbed many routes that consisted of very technical climbing, where I often had to position my body and really trust my feet in order to find the right sequence. It took a while to get used to it, but I thought it was fun and interesting, and I really liked it.”
Söderlund has emerged on the climbing scene the past nine months with her frequent onsights up to 5.13d and her rapid personal improvement. She onsighted her first 5.13a in September 2011 with Magic Boulevard in Riugréixer, Spain. In April, she returned to Spain, making her hardest onsights to date, with three 5.13d’s in two days. She spent 16 days there, where she onsighted 11 routes 5.13a and up. Itching for more Spanish limestone, Söderlund traveled back to Siurana for four days in early May, where she flashed and/or onsighted several more routes 5.13a and harder. (Read more about her April trip, including an interview, here.)
Now that Söderlund is back in Sweden, she plans to begin training for competitions, and hopefully go to Céüse, France, in July.
“My goal right now is to continue to improve and push my own limits,” she says. “I am really motivated to challenge myself even more on rock, but also to take part in some of the competitions. I would also like to go on a longer trip and find a route to really spend time on, which would be something that I have not really done before.”
Dates of ascents: April-May 2012
Sources: Matilda Söderlund, 8a.nu