The Winter Olympics have kicked off in frigid Pyeongchang, but, in a much warmer part of the world, a woman has already made herself a world champion in an extremely difficult, male-dominated sport.
Sasha DiGiulian, 25, has become the first woman to ever climb Mora Mora, a 2,300-foot granite dome in Madagascar that is ranked as one of the most difficult routes in the entire world. So treacherous is it that only one other person—a man—has made it to the top since it was first established in 1999.
DiGiulian, who comes from Alexandria, Virginia, is used to breaking barriers and ascending to new heights. She was already a World Champion Rock Climber who, at only 19, became the first American women to climb grade 9a, which denotes the highest degree of rock climbing difficulty, by scaling Era Vella in Spain. She has been the first person to make it to the top of eight ascents, including the Big Wall in Brazil in 2016 and The Misty Wall in Yosemite in 2017. She already has 30 First Female Ascents under her belt, including the infamous “Murder Wall” in the Swiss Alps, but she plans to get a lot more, as she continues traveling the world and breaking climbing and bouldering records for women everywhere.
Like pro golfer, Paige Spiranac, DiGiulian has gotten flack from the rock-climbing community for being a conventionally attractive and feminine women in a sport that caters to a more nomadic, less polished lifestyle. Like one has anything to do with the other.
“I’ve certainly grown thicker skin through being a woman in climbing,” DiGiulian told Shape. “I like to paint my nails pink, I love high heels, dressing up, and sleeping in luxury. I also love sleeping 1,500 feet up on a little ledge in the middle of Madagascar, waking up, and climbing. The dirtbag lifestyle—that is not me. I am comfortable with who I am and what I am passionate about; this doesn’t mean I’m any less of a climber than the guy who lives in a van.”
“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tmrw is another day, I believe in miracles.” #AH pic.twitter.com/tYDNV1WOl8
— Sasha DiGiulian (@sashadigiulian) February 7, 2018
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