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Sasha DiGiulian

Sasha DiGiulian, the undefeated Pan American Champion until 2004, is one of modern climbing’s superstars. Her career highlights include winning two Female Overall World Championships and being the first North American woman and third woman in the world to climb a 9a (5.14d). Climber, writer, and activist, Sasha is one of the strongest and most determined athletes of her generation, with over 20 years of climbing and community involvement, as well as multiple awards under her belt.


United States

Date Of Birth



Sport Climbing, Alpine, Big Wall

Hardest Sport


Hardest Boulder


Hardest Trad


Sasha DiGiulian

Ascent Log

Sasha has climbed some of the hardest routes in the world. Below are just a few of her biggest achievements to date.

ClimbTypeSuggested GradeDate of AscentNotes
RayuBig Wall8c13th Sep 2022Sasha climbed Rayu along with Matilda Soderlund and Brette Harrington. Video and Red Bull Interview
Magic MushroomBig Wall7c+29th Aug 2015First female ascent with Carlo Traversi. Video
BellavistaTradE1013th Aug 2013First female ascent. Sasha climbed this route alongside Edu Marin. Instagram Post
Era VellaSport Route9a25th Apr 2012Her hardest route to date. Video
Omaha BeachSport Route8b+Mar 2011Sasha onsighted this route. UKC Article
Cosi Fan TutteSport Route8c+Sep 2011Planet Mountain
Pure ImaginationSport Route8c+15th Oct 2011She got it on her 6th try on the 3rd day. Video

Kit Bag

Climbing Career

Learning the Ropes & Competition

Sasha grew up in the Virginia town of Alexandria. She was introduced to the sport when she was six years old, at her brother’s birthday party in her hometown. She had already won her first regional competition at the age of nine. She won her first National Championship at the age of eleven and went undefeated for the rest of her junior career. In 2011, she won silver in bouldering and gold in overall at the World Championships in Arco.

Sasha at the Climbing World Championships in Arco ©Giulio Malfer

Later that year, she returned home and redpointed Pure Imagination (8c+) suggesting a 9a grade, which was later downgraded by Adam Ondra’s flash in 2012.

At the age of 18, she managed to send her first 9a, Chris Sharma’s Era Vella, in Margalef, Spain and became the third woman in the world to climb such a grade and the first North American Woman.

Sasha had multiple 8b+ onsights, FAs, and over 30 First Female Ascents throughout her career, from North America to Europe to Africa, including Magic Mushroom, the notoriously difficult climb on the North Face of the Eiger in Switzerland.

Her outstanding achievements in climbing and mountaineering earned her numerous awards, the most notable of which were the Piolet D’Or in 2011 and the Arco Rock Legend Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Outdoors (2012).

Photo from Sasha DiGiulian Gallery

Aside from being a formidable climber, DiGiulian has been involved in a number of foundations and social movements, including serving as a Board Member of the Women’s Sports Foundation and as an Athlete Ambassador for Right to Play, Up2Us Sports, Access Fund, and the American Alpine Club, according to her webpage.

In 2018, Sasha was diagnosed with chronic hip dysplasia and opted for hip reconstruction surgery in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic.

“I had what’s called a hip scope, on each hip, in which the labrum is stitched back together and the head of the femur bone is shaved down,” she said in a very complex and beautifully written article in Climbing Magazine.

After five surgeries, recovery sessions, and exercise that lasted until February 2023, she started climbing again a couple of months later, clipping the top chains on Logical Progression (7a+), a 28-pitch, 900-meter behemoth that previously left a scar on her soul with the tragic loss of her friend, Nolan Smythe.

Notable Ascents

Era Vella

In 2012, after working on La Rambla but unfortunately not succeeding in ascending it, Sasha turned to Oliana, where she redpointed Mind Control (8c+), and then to Margalef to visit another Sharma route.

Era Vella, a 45m line with small holds and pockets, caught Sasha’s attention. After a three-day frustrating trial, with falls right at the very beginning, she managed to clip the top chains of this stunning route.

Sasha on Era Vella

The ordeal was as much a mental battle as it was physical. Sasha was losing chunks of skin and falling at the crux multiple times on the dyno move that she herself said is her weakness in climbing.

With bloody fingers and a smile on her face, Sasha managed to redpoint this route, confirming her place in the 9a climbers club.

Magic Mushroom

After waiting and trying for weeks to find good weather conditions, Sasha and her partner Carlo Traversi finally got a chance at the Magic Mushroom on August 27th, 2015.

This was not their initial plan, as they were planning to climb La Paciencia, but the bad weather kept playing tricks on them. When all hope seemed lost, a local Swiss alpinist, Roger Schäli, recommended Magic Mushroom as it was considered less difficult. 

The 20-pitch, 600-meter, 7c+ climb on the North Face of the Eiger was Sasha’s second encounter with the Alps, having climbed Bellavista (8c) in the Italian Alps in 2013.

Sasha on Magic Mushroom ©Frank Kretschmann and Adidas Out

She described her first impressions and full experience in an interview for Red Bull:

“My first impression when I arrived to the Eiger was that I was in over my head…The wall is massive, intimidating and just outright scary.” said Sasha when facing the Eiger.

The DiGiulian-Traversi team completed the entire route without falling. Sasha became the first female to free climb Magic Mushroom and the fifth woman in history to climb the Eiger by climbing this route. They also became the first American team to do so.

“This was a goal that was a challenge to me because it was a step into the unknown,” said Sasha in the same Red Bull interview. “The experience was tough for me because I was a beginner on new terrain. Being pushed to that point of physical and mental exhaustion and then realizing the dream encourages me to take more chances. You never know until you try.”


On September 13th, 2022, an international all-female team was about to make history. Sasha DiGiulian, Matilda Soenderlund, and Brette Harrington set out to climb Rayu, a 600-meter-tall wall on the South face of Pea Santa de Castilla in Spain’s Picos de Europa massif.

Their attempt would not only be the second ascent of this big wall but also a first, as it was completed by the first all-female team.

DiGiulian, Söderlund, and Harrington on Rayu 8c pitch ©Jan Novak/Red Bull Content Pool

Sasha and the others had to spend several weeks learning the rock and climbing the first pitches before they could free-climb it. Although Rayu is a bolted route, the large gaps between the bolts in some pitches required the use of trad climbing gear to ensure the climber’s safety.

The ascent was finished on September 13th with the three climbers taking turns in freeing each pitch. Unfortunately, Brette Harrington encountered some difficulties and wasn’t able to free climb the whole route.

Personal & Business Life


If you’ve been keeping up with Sasha for a while, you’ll know that she was in a relationship with Norwegian comp climber turned 9b crusher turned YouTuber, Magnus Mitdbo. The pair went out for just over 2 years between 2008 and 2011. Together they traveled to some really cool climbing places and they have remained good friends.

Send Bars

Frustrated with the lack of suitable options for snacks she could take on her climbing expeditions, Sasha partnered with Arianne Jones, a nutritionist, professional chef, and Olympian in luge. Together they created Send Bars, a line of nutritional bars designed to aid in performance and recovery.

These aren’t just your average protein bars and you know when Sasha is involved, they are going to be good! They are packed full of greens you wouldn’t otherwise take with you on an expedition. I mean, who takes a salad on a skiing trip? No one.

Climbing Emoji

Here’s an interesting fact about Sasha! Did you know the climbing Emoji is based on her? Sasha Tweeted about the lack of representation of climbing and she was heard! She sent a photo of her climbing to EmojiPedia which was turned into a sketch. This was then turned into an Emoji and now it is available on all phones in each gender and skin tones. 

Video Library


Born and raised in Jiu Valley, Romania, I am a true mountain enthusiast, absorbing knowledge from each sport the area offers. Snowboarder in the winter and a hiker and climber in the summer, I love spending my days up in the Carpathians. I have had a passion for writing ever since I laid my hands on my first keyboard, and I always have a curiosity for gear and great stories. I split my time between various jobs and hobbies, including being a full-time psychologist, repairing skis in the winter, and working with kids at my local gym whenever I have time.

Ashima Shiraishi
Jernej Kruder

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