Sasha DiGiulian Interview
Where were you born? Alexandria, VA
Where are you living now? NEW YORK CITY!
How long you been climbing?
Since I was 7: 1999
How did you start climbing?
I started climbing after my brother’s birthday party which was at a local climbing gym.
What are you studying and what do you want to do when you’re big?
I am studying Nonfiction Writing and Business. Who says I’m not big now? =] Marketing interests me a lot, and I am now also budding entrepreneur with Sasha DiGiulian Incorporated =]
What routes have you opened and do you have any projects at the moment?
**Listed on Sasha’s website
Rolihlahla and Miss-Behaving were my first first-ascents!
My project is whatever trip is next in-line, which currently is a trip to The Dolomites for some big walls.
Do you ever train specifically for routes?
No, climbing is my form of training that I do most; though, I have now begun training with Ludwig Korb (Dicki) and Robyn Ebersfield trains me virally.
What training do you do and how often do you train?
I train about 5 days a week for about 3 hours- this training is typically climbing, cardio, ab routines, and strength-to-bodyweight exercises like with rings.
What brought you out to South Africa and what areas have you visited?
My favourite areas would be Montagu & Waterval Boven
Arjan talked up South Africa and I saw pictures. Coming to Africa is something I’ve always wanted to do, so I thought why not? Simple!
What would you compare these areas to?
The sandstone (both areas) is like Red Rocks, NV, and The Red River Gorge is also a similar rock but much different style. The style is unique and the rock is bullet-strong. South Africa definitely has some world class climbing, no doubt.
Will you be visiting Rocklands?
My next trip! Unfortunately I ran out of time ;( 3 weeks is not enough!
Notable sends in SA?
I opened Bovens ‘new’ hardest line with the first ascent of the Overlord project at 34/8c/5.14b – “Rolihlahla”
Ed’s note: The line was given to Sasha by Andrew Pedley who bolted the line.
- Onsighted Monster (29/7c+) and The Bovenator (29/7c+) and flashed The Beast (31/8a+)
- 32/8b Godzilla, Waterfall Boven
- 29/8a Jack of all Trades, Waterfall Boven
- 34/8c Rolihlahla, Waterfall Boven
- 31/8a+ Beast, Waterfall Boven
- 33/8b+ Miss-Behaving, Montagu
Was this your first Safari trip, what was the highlight?
OMG AMAZING! Yes, it was! Perhaps our experience at Kruger influenced the name of my new climb in Montagu.. ;] I felt like I was seeing the animals for the first time. Experiencing such incredible creatures in their natural habitat was moving and unparalleled to any other experience I have had. I also lost total respect for zoos!
What do you think of South Africa in general?
I absolutely love it. The landscapes, wildlife, people, climbing- you can’t really get better!
Are you tempted to come back for another visit?
Top 3 climbing areas in the world?
Red River Gorge (USA)
Cataluna Region of Spain (Oliana/Margalef/Rodellar, etc)
Who are your climbing hero’s?
What other places in the world are on your list to visit?
Greece, Southern Spain, return to Japan to climb outside, Thailand, Verdon (France), The Dolomites (Italy)
What motivates you?
The sense of personal satisfaction at the top.
Do you consider yourself a boulderer ?
No – I consider myself more just a climber. I like to aspire to goals set by my motivation given the moment. Most of my motivation is for sport climbing, though.
What projects are you working (Boulder / Sport / Trad)?
Do you ice / alpine climb? Have you ever considered alpine climbing?
No I’ve never done either. Sure, why not! I just need more time. Which I have =]
You mention on your website a project in the Dolomites, any insight that you can share on this?
Right now I plan on traveling to The Dolomites with Edu Marin and Dani Moreno. We will try some hard multipitch routes there. And I am crossing my fingers for good weather!
Ed’s Note: Sasha repeated ‘Bellavista’ 8c on Cima Ovest, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Dolomites and “Camillotto Pellissier” 8a+ (with a 350m solo of the top pitches – both are long multipitch routes).
What has sponsorship allowed you to do with regards to climbing?
My sponsors enable me to follow my heart and to travel to whatever destination captures my attention. I see sponsorship as more of a partnership, and through the relationships that I have with my sponsors, I have been able to aspire to my own dreams and to follow my genuine passion for climbing and more broadly for the outdoors.
Do you warm up?
Yes. This is very important.
Do you follow a diet?
No, no diet, but I like to eat healthy food. As a professional athlete, your body is like your race car. Without the proper fuel, it won’t run at its maximum potential.
Top 5 routes that you’ve climbed this year ?
That is tough! I can’t really create this list because there are too many routes that I have enjoyed; though, Rolihlahla may be the most beautiful line.
What is your hardest onsight and what enabled you to onsight the route (what was different about it)?
I have onsighted 3 8b+’s (5.14a’s) – one in the Red River Gorge and 2 in Spain.
For me, the key to onsighting a hard route is climbing decisively and with precision. When you have positions to rest in, take full advantage of these, come back to zero, and continue upwards. I break routes up by sections of movements separated by either draws or potential rests.
Tea or Coffee?
Good espresso is a necessity
Do you do any other sports?
Running and Skiing
What do you do on a rest day?
Well, in South Africa we went on Safari, explored Cape Point, and hung out with cheetahs! It depends where I am, but I am not a fan of doing nothing on rest days. I like to move!
Biggest weakness when it comes to climbing?
Dynos and Compression.
What inspires you?
Moments in life that I feel like I need to pinch myself to make sure I am not just dreaming.
Do you have a nickname?
Sash, and in my family Punky.
What are your top 3 favourite US climbing destinations?
RRG, Utah, and the New River Gorge. I look forward to climbing more out west!
From what age did you start climbing in competitions?
Since I was 9
What major comps have you got coming up this year?
Next weekend I am competing in the Deep Water Solo Comp in SLC (Ed’s note: Sasha went on to win the Womens event).
I am currently planning my fall schedule and seeing what I am motivated for. Definitely will be in Greece for the comp/festival and at Adidas Rockstars in Germany
Aspirations / routes you want to tick for next year?
We will see
Can you do a 1 arm pull up?
Funniest & scariest climbing experience that you’ve had?
What is the most common question that people ask you?
A. How much do you weigh? Haha! and
B. finger strength training tips
What music do you listen to?
All but metal. I love hip-hop, pop, and country
What is the biggest Epic you’ve had?
Maybe having to attach another rope to mine in order to lower from a 55m wall while using a 70…
Can you walk a slackline?
Have you ever been rescued?
Describe your perfect day?
About 15 degrees, Sun on your back but not too warm on the wall, blue sky, friends, aesthetic landscape, inspiring line to climb
What type of books do you read most and what was the last good book that you read?
Last good book I read was “Under the Banyan Tree” and my favorite genre is historical fiction
What about you has changed the most since you became famous?
Now I travel much more than before. I still love to travel, though.
Most laughable rumour that you have heard about yourself?
Well, not so funny, but I certainly am not anorexic so that was an interesting rumour.
You spent today in Bad Kloof, Montagu. What did you think of Montagu and the climbing there?
I enjoyed it! The valley is indescribably perfect, too.
Who are your sponsors?
Adidas, RedBull, Petzl, LifeStrength, FiveTen, Native Eyewear, Entre Prises, Aguita
Anything you would like to add?
Follow your heart and enjoy being yourself.
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