Sasha DiGiulian: Where is the Climber Now?

Sasha DiGiulian is honestly quite like her mentor, Carolynn “Lynn” Hill, since she’s a young trailblazing pioneer in her own way, something absolutely nobody in the climbing industry can deny. After all, as explored in HBO’s ‘Here to Climb,’ while the latter opened doors for women in this profession, the former has showcased that one can truly make a living through climbing alone. It thus comes as no surprise she’s often referred to as the original athletic influencer within this community, only for it to motivate her to consistently achieve new heights in her pro career too.

Sasha DiGiulian Has Over 30 First Female Ascents to her Name

Alexandria, Virginia, native Sasha was merely six when she first came across sports climbing, just for it to spark such a passion in her that she was competing across the nation a year later. “My brother had a birthday party at a climbing gym called Sport Rock [in 1998]…,” she recalled in the aforementioned original. “I really liked it; I kept going back in line to have another turn.” It then quickly became obvious this competitive figure skater wanted to shift to competitive bouldering/climbing instead, which she was able to do with the unwavering support of her parents.

Hence began Sasha’s journey of breaking all expectations, starting with her climbing her first 5.13b at the tender age of 11 — this is actually a climb grade/level deemed extremely difficult. Fast forwarding around eight years later, the high school graduate won gold in the female overall category at the 2011 International Federation World Championships in Italy, along with a silver in bouldering plus bronze in duel. This was while she was traveling across Europe for her gap year to hone her skills as a professional rock climber in outdoor as well as international settings because she wanted to be the best.

Sasha subsequently returned to the US and studied non-fiction writing plus business administration at Columbia University in New York, all the while also still dominating the climbing industry. In fact, she secured gold in all her categories at the 2012 Pan-American Championship in Venezuela, actually went undefeated in any competition for the ensuing four years (until 2016), and is a three-time US National Champion. It was during this period that she set her sights on becoming the first female to ascent as many Big Walls as possible to make it clear to the world she’ll only ever be stopped if she herself decides.

Just some of Sasha’s achievements since then have been completing more than 30 first female free ascents (FFFAs) as well as eight significant first free ascents, including Rolihlahla in South Africa, The Misty Wall in Yosemite National Park, Pico Cão Grande in São Tomé & Principe, and Rayu in Picos de Europa National Park, Spain. Though she’s not naive enough not to realize that she has had some troubles along the way, especially in terms of letting her ego get in the way of team spirit or the wear-and-tear of her body — yet she has always managed to bounce back because climbing is admittedly her true love.

Sasha DiGiulian Has Expanded Her Wings in the Past Few Years

While Sasha has no plans of retiring as a professional climber anytime soon, she does understand there are limitations to what she can push her mind and body to execute as the years pass by. Therefore, she has gradually expanded her wings into other avenues too, all the while remaining true to who she is as not just an athlete, a competitor, as well as a force of nature but also a person. In other words, today, this 31-year-old is an adventurer, environmentalist, entrepreneur, and writer who has learned that even when she can’t compete or ascent Big Walls, she can still climb to inspire — just like her idol Carolynn “Lynn” Hill.

Starting with Sasha’s career as a writer, the Columbia University graduate has a column with Outside Magazine at the moment, has been published by many other renowned platforms such as CRACE, National Geographic, Rock & Ice, plus Seventeen, and is an author. Her debut book — a memoir titled ‘Take the Lead’ — actually came out in September 2023, giving us a raw account of her journey from a child prodigy to one of the most decorated female climbers in the world, all navigating public scrutiny in this male-dominated sport.

As if that’s not enough, having previously been a representative on the board of the International Federation of Sport Climbing, Sasha now even serves on the Board of the Women’s Sports Foundation and is a Global Athlete Ambassador for Right to Play, Up2Us Sports, as well as the American Alpine Club. Furthermore, she is the brains behind a superfood protein bar brand called Send Bars, is paving new routes on well-known free climbing spots, and most recently also completed her first Ironman 70.3 triathlon to show the world she’s still very much in shape despite her 2020 hip reconstruction surgeries.

Sasha DiGiulian is Happily Based in Colorado With Her Husband

According to reports, Sasha had relocated from New York to the climbing epicenter of Boulder, Colorado, right after graduating college in 2016 so as to truly be a part of this sports community. “I fell in love with the fact that, in climbing, there’s an endless spectrum of personal achievements and it’s a physically and mentally demanding sport,” she once said. “It’s also served as my vehicle to explore the remotest corners of the world and has been my gateway to creating a global community,” so having a stable home here has settled her.

Coming to Sasha’s personal standing, she blissfully tied the knot with filmmaker Erik Osterholm on September 2, 2023, roughly six years after first meeting him while climbing Mount Washington for a Red Bull documentary that he was directing as well as producing. Since then, as seen above, this dog mom, public speaker, and proud feminist has even referred to him as her “ride or die” while indicating his commitment, love, support, plus warmth have enabled her to grow in ways she never could’ve imagined.

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