Matilda Söderlund returns to form at Red River Gorge
Swedish rock climber Matilda Söderlund has repeated Pure Imagination 8c+ at Red River Gorge, USA
It’s all happening at Red River Gorge at the moment. Shortly after Mélissa Le Nevé’s ascent of Golden Ticket, Sweden’s Matilda Söderlund managed to tick Pure Imagination, another huge 8c+ at the sweeping Chocolate Factory cliff. Freed by Jonathan Siegrist in 2010, Sasha DiGiulian pulled off the first female ascent just a year later. Although initially graded 9a, the grade soon settled in at 8c+ and in 2012 Adam Ondra managed to onsight both Pure Imagination and Golden Ticket on the same day.
Söderlund’s ascent marks an impressive return to form after having spent a few years concentrating on her studies. The Stockholm based climber had shot to fame in 2012 and 2013 with impressive redpoints up to 8c+ and, above all, with her flash ascents of two 8b+, Friends like you in Germany’s Frankenjura and Kale borroka at Spain’s Siurana. A finger injury in 2013 coincided with the start of university and consequently Söderlund’s focus shifted, although this didn’t stop her from placing 12th at the 2014 Lead World Climbing Championships at Gijon in Spain.
After gaining her degree in Business and Economics at the end of 2017 and finishing her internship, Söderlund turned to climbing full time and told her coach that she wished to start training again. The 26-year-old told planetmountain.com "Actually, my ultimate goal and dream scenario that I set the day we started training again was to be back at this level by the end of 2018. I’ve been training really hard so I’m super happy about this send."
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STOKED!!! I’m so, so happy that I managed to keep it together and send Pure Imagination (5.14c / 8c+) on my last day in Red River Gorge. What a line! This one meant a lot to me The cold weather sure provided an extra challenge, but most of all it was a mental battle. After falling high up on the route about a week earlier, the cold weather stopped me from having any good tries on it and I started to lose faith. But so the last day came and the conditions were PERFECT. I walked up to the crag psyched to climb and give it all I got, not thinking of my previous tries or weather I would send or not. The moves had never felt easier and I could clip the chains of this five line, it was a magical moment that I will remember fora long time Thanks to my Viking team mates for coming out to belay me and keeping the psyche high @tinajhafsaas @hannespuman @kristoffer_klevern @kenneth_climbs + @vogmarty @andywickstrom ... Bolted by @pugklime , FA by @jonathansiegrist and FFA by @sashadigiulian