Michaela Kier­sch


ROUTE South­ern Smoke (5.14c) LO­CA­TION Red River Gorge, Ken­tucky

In late Fe­bru­ary and early March, over an eight-day win­dow, 22-year-old Chicago na­tive Michaela Kier­sch dou­bled her num­ber of 5.14c sends. The DePaul Univer­sity sci­ence ma­jor ticked off her fourth, fifth, and sixth 5.14c’s with Twenty Four

Karats, South­ern Smoke, and 50 Words for Pump, the first at the Gold Coast, the lat­ter two at Bob Mar­ley Crag. “It must have been th­ese Star­bucks drinks I’m into,” Kier­sch said, re­fer­ring to the Dou­bleshot En­ergy drinks she downs on the seven-hour drive to the cliffs. Fin­ished with her rock goals for the sea­son, Kier­sch com­peted at USA Sport Climb­ing Na­tion­als the week­end af­ter her big sends, plac­ing fifth. She’ll re­turn to the Red where she’s hop­ing to climb a few projects be­fore head­ing to Ceüse for the sum­mer.

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