The US-Americans Michaela Kiersch and Paige Classen sends an ascent of the classic „Dreamcatcher“ 9a in the climbing crag Squamish in the Canadian province of British Columbia. They are now both members of the still quite exclusive club of female climbers, who were able to manages a 9a route. For Paige it was the third and for Michaela the first 9a route.

Michaela tried her hand at the route three years ago, Paige even seven years ago. Now both of them were able to score points on the route after a temporary break due to bad weather. The very technical route was first climbed by Chris Sharma in 2005 and has only had a few, to date, exclusively male ascents.

Paige to her ascent: Dreamcatcher. 9-2-21. I first tried this line 7 years ago. By the end of a month long trip, I could barely do each individual move, and could link only 2-3 moves together at most. I’ve spent the last 7 years becoming a different climber – trying to climb faster, more explosively, and with more confidence. I lifted weights and set sideways sloper campus simulators and rehearsed left heel hooks until I strained my hamstring. I came here not knowing what to expect. I wanted to do this route more than any route I’ve done, but also knew I’d be ok if I didn’t. After six sessions of progression, I walked up to the route on Thursday feeling distant from climbing in mind and body, but felt like rehearsing some new beta I’d found. As I left the ground, a group of people unexpectedly popped out of a hole in the ground just beneath the route. My mind was everywhere and nowhere. I climbed well to the final rest, stuck my highpoint, and then made a conscious decision to not let go. I think I tried the hardest I’ve ever tried in my life. What a weird day, but so happy to have found my passat on this dream line.

Thanks to my #1@arjandekock for all his support + snapping these pics yesterday with @twincannons. Thanks to @eddiebauer for making this trip possible and to @lasportivana @physivantage and @maximropes @kiltergrips for always supporting my goals.

Michaela to her ascent: Dreamcatcher has been a dream of mine since @chris_sharma established the first ascent in 2005. Truthfully, for most of those years it felt out of reach. It still feels surreal.

I tried this route 3 years ago and couldn’t really do the moves consistently. Leading up to this trip, I focused on increasing my finger strength, endurance, and doing LOTS of sideways campusing. I was able to do all of the moves on my first day back and was excited to start piecing together bigger links. After a heavy rain, the route was a waterfall. I was stressed about the weather (classic Squamish) and doubted if I’d be able to send before heading back to school. On my 5th day, the holds were still a little seep-y. It alleviated some of the pressure and I decided to just have fun and go for it. Next thing I knew, I was clipping the chains of my first 5.14d/9a.

Dreamcatcher has seen relatively few ascents, all by men until this month. It was magical to share moments on the route with @paigeclaassen, and to feel so welcome to try my hardest alongside her. It feels empowering and momentous to add two female ascents to this climb.

I’m inspired to keep dreaming up bigger dreams and so thankful for the many opportunities and support I’ve had which has helped get me to this place.

Photos: (c)  @thefoxes @justgoclimb; @arjandekock