Heart with Sasha DiGiulian
NAME: Sasha DiGiulian
YEARS PARTICIPATING: 17 years
PERSONAL CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Female Overall World Champion, 3x National Champion, undefeated PanAm champ since 2004, First North American Woman to climb the grade 9a, the hardest sport climb achieved by a woman, over 2 dozen first female ascents including 6 first ascents
Sasha DiGiulian is one of those women that really is indescribably incredible. Over the course of her career thus far she has won almost every climbing competition out there, as well as been the first female to climb pretty much every famous outdoor ascent. She balances out her life being an accomplished female rock climber, with also being enrolled as a full time business student at Columbia University. Her accomplishments, positive attitude, and well-spoken words about the sport have helped to bring rock climbing to the main stream and solidifying it as a true sport that is here to stay for both women and men.
Sasha has truly inspired me from the moment I met her with her passion for sport, life, and adventure and her drive to do it all. At such a young age she is truly impacting not only her sport, but also women’s sports in general making yet another male dominated sport more accessible for other women.
Q: Rock climbing and business school?! Quite different aspirations, do you feel they balance each other out?
I am studying nonfiction writing and business at Columbia University. I’m actually graduating in less than a month. I have found the balance to be tricky at times when it comes to fitting in everything that I’d like to do in my schedule. Though, I have grown a lot from the experience. A large part of being a professional climber is telling a story and articulating adventures that I have to an audience- whether through content production like videos, speaking, or even just sharing an experience on social media. I have always valued writing and I use it as my outlet to open up to myself personally, and also to write about adventures that I go on. Lately I’ve been more involved with speaking and working as an ambassador with nonprofits and I find practicing and learning writing in school has helped me fine tune my ability to voice what I believe in in my career. Studying business has also been valuable in its application to my career as an athlete. As individual athletes we are constantly defining the brand that we define ourselves to be. In this way, as a personal brand, it helps to learn the best methods from which to collaborate with other brands (companies and organizations) and also to be able to understand strategy, partnerships, negotiations, etc.
Q: In rock climbing, there is an entire part of the sport that you are very well known for, sport climbing. There is no competition for this style climbing, you are just out there pushing yourself for the sake of pushing yourself. Is this a hard thing to describe to people when they ask what you do?
Haha, yes, it is. Something that I love about communities like within the action sports world is that we can all relate to this feeling of freedom while pushing our limits and challenging ourselves outdoors. The average person in New York can understand how to relate success with my competition results much easier than my drive to travel around the world exploring culture and new lines (climbs).
Q: Best advice you ever received?
You will limit yourself if you are afraid of failure. Define yourself.
Q: Dirty hippy style or clean-cut preppy boys?
Haha! I don’t know. I always am drawn to athletes or guys who are really passionate and committed to what they are doing. The biggest turn off to me is someone who gives up what they love to try to compromise for me. Intellect is important to me, too though. I don’t want to just talk about how stoked we are about our sports/jobs!
Q: Favorite place in the world?
Q: Best GoPro hack for getting those insane “I am falling off the side of a massive cliff photos”?
I like to use the wrist mount when I am rock climbing, or mount the GoPro on my helmet to get the motion shot of my hands and the landscape that my eyes can see.
Q: Are you afraid of heights at all?
No, not really. I have moments when exposure takes my breath away, still, though.
Q: Personal favorite place to study?
Comfortable coffee shop- ideally a quiet buzz of commotion but no obnoxiously loud people..!
Q: Salty or sweet?
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