The Weekly - June 30, 2020 - 12

Resources and Education

Moment of Zenist
Nineteen-year-old climbing phenom Ashima Shiraishi
discusses her career and her collaboration with Evolv
and Brain Dead. This new climbing shoe will raise funds
for DEI and help make the sport more inclusive.
By Chris Van Leuven
LAST WEEK CLIMBING SHOE-

maker Evolv, the creative artist
collective Brain Dead, and professional climber and The North Face
athlete Ashima Shiraishi released
the Ashima X Brain Dead Zenist.
The flashy purple, yellow, and
brown shoe features vegan uppers
and a downturned asymmetric
design. "It's a softer shoe than the
Shaman," Shiraishi says. "It's really
good for overhanging climbs. It's

a competition shoe, and it's good
with agile movements."
One hundred percent of profits
from the Ashima X Brain Dead
Zenist will be donated to nonprofit
organizations that support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in
climbing and the outdoors, including Young Women Who Crush,
Adaptive Climbing Group, a DEI
Film Festival, Brown Girls Climb,
and Long Beach Rising. The shoe

12 THE WEEKLY / OUTDOOR RETAILER SUMMER 2020

goes on presale June 26 through
July 2 for $160.
Los Angeles-based Brain Dead
is known for its psychedelic designs and bold graphics by artists
from around the world. It's also
a record label. Before partnering
with Evolv for the Zenist, Brain
Dead partnered with The North
Face to print designs over TNF's
uber-popular outerwear, including the Nuptse Denali jackets.
When Shiraishi met Brain Dead
co-founder and photographer Kyle
Ng through TNF, the creativity
started flowing.
"We hope, because of this project, we'll have more inclusion in
climbing and more organizations
support diversity in climbing,"
Shiraishi says.
"It's really lacking right now. We
feel the lack of diversity from the
outdoor world is due to the limited
access to underprivileged communities ... we are ready to act," read
one of Brain Dead's posts.
Shiraishi, 19, is one of the
world's best climbers, male or
female. She started competing
at age 7, and she's a World Youth
Champion (X3) in both sport and
bouldering. She's been featured in
Reel Rock, The New York Times,
and The New Yorker, among others. She's also the author of How
to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and
Falls) of a Rock Climbing Champion, which was illustrated by Yao
Xiao and published by Random
House Kids in April of this year.
Reaching the pinnacle of the
sport by her early teens, Shiraishi's
landmark ascents include the first
female to boulder V15; second
female ever (after Tomoko Ogawa)
to boulder V14; the youngest
person to climb 5.14d; and first female to climb a 5.15a. She's the top

in her field in competition, sport,
and bouldering. "It's so impressive
and so far above anyone her age,
and so far above world-class for
anyone," says Emily Harrington, a
member of The North Face climbing team with Shiraishi. This past
winter, Shiraishi climbed her first
highball boulder, the 55-foot-tall
Evilution Direct (V11) on the steep
south face of the Grandpa Peabody
boulder in Bishop, California.
As a young Asian American
female, she's also a minority in
the sport. "I (was) raised not to be
afraid to be different," Shiraishi
says. "For me, growing up in New
York, the climbing gyms were
predominantly white; you didn't
see many kids around."
When we caught up with Shiraishi in Utah, she told us about her
new shoe; what she hopes to see in
the outdoor world regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and her
goals both on and off the rock.
How's your book doing?
It's doing great. It's really cool
to see lots of kids reading it. I'm
happy about that.
What do you have going on
at the moment?
I graduated from high school last
year. I'm currently just living with
my friend in Utah. I'm applying to
colleges this year, and potentially
in 2021, I'll start. There are a few
majors I'm interested in-psychology, sociology. I really love fashion,
but I don't think I would study it;
choosing how much I want to know
at my own pace would be better.
For now, I'm focusing on sport
climbing and bouldering. Some
trad or a big wall would be cool to
do. I haven't done those disciplines yet.

CO U R T E SY E VO LV

Ashima
Shiraishi


https://www.evolvsports.com/

The Weekly - June 30, 2020

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