Inspiring portraits

When Michaela Kiersch send one of America’s hardest routes

Last January, Michaela Kiersch made the first female ascent of the fiendishly thin Necessary Evil (5.14c) in the Virgin River Gorge, Arizona.

We got the pleasure to interview her…

Hi Michaela, we heard that you used to drive 14 hours round-trip to the Red River Gorge each weekend to climb— is it correct ?

Yes, when I lived in Chicago a group of climbers always drove 14 hours round trip to climb in Kentucky. The climbing there is some of the best in the world, and after a while you get used to the drive. I liked being able to escape to the forests on weekends !

Picture by James Lucas @james_lucas

Can you tell us more about you?

I am 23 years old, I was born and grew up in Chicago, but currently I live in Salt Lake City.

I’ve been climbing for 15 years and have mainly focused on competitions and outdoor sport climbing.


You are freshly graduated right ?

I graduated in November with a Bachelor of Science degree and plan to continue my studies in the next couple of years.


How has it been having more freedom for climbing?

It has been incredible to be able to focus only on my climbing for the last few months. I feel like I can really dedicate more time to my training and traveling.


Ascent of the Golden Ticket in the Red River Gorge.  Picture by Simon Carter @simoncarter_onsight

Do you climb outside more than indoor?

I think I keep it pretty balanced between climbing inside and outside. I still love competing and I am currently training for competitions but I would never give up my outdoor projects.


How did you get started coaching?

I started coaching when I was around 15 years old at the local climbing gym. I have always loved working with kids and teaching them to climb seemed like a logical step.

I think the most important thing a coach can do is to help fostering a love for the sport and teach the children how to be responsible and respectful members of the climbing community.


What is your biggest climbing dream?

To love the sport for my entire life and always find fulfillment and happiness while climbing.

What’s your current challenge?

Getting accepted into graduate school and getting stronger!


Credits : Michaela Kiersch @michaelakiersch

Can you tell us 5 things that our readers don’t know about you? 😉

I hate peanut butter

My favorite color is purple

I have a twin sister

I am afraid of spiders

My pinky fingers are really short!



Watch Michaela’s incredible ascent of the Necessary Evil (5.14c) in the Virgin River Gorge, Arizona 😉

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