Back in 2011 we introduced WYSKers to champion rock climber Sasha DiGiulian who was 18 at the time, and had just become the first American woman to successfully climb “Pure Imagination” in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge.
Well, this phenom is at it again. Now 22, and entering her senior year at Columbia University, Sasha is currently (as in right now) scaling the dangerous and deadly Eiger mountain in the Swiss Alps in an attempt to become the first woman to scale the alpine peak via the La Paciencia route.
This is no easy feat, many have died trying to reach the peak of Mount Eiger, nicknamed the “murder wall.” The 6,000-foot vertical sheet of limestone is considered one of the world’s most dangerous climbs.
“I think that it’s wrong to think that people can be fearless. I think that fear is inevitable, but I don’t think that fear needs to be inhibiting.”
When Sasha first announced her intention to take on the challenge she received some pretty harsh comments from naysayers, “People saying like, ‘Little girls don’t belong on the Eiger.’ People actually laughed in my face when saying I was trying something on the Eiger,” Sasha said in a recent interview.
Explaining the significance of her climb, Sasha added, “When other women open the floodgates to showing that something is possible then all of a sudden you see progression in a sport.”
As of this weekend, Sasha and her support climber Carlo Traversi, have climbed more than half of the hardest sections, but they have been stalled by inclement and threatening weather, which is one of the many major challenges climbers face on Eiger. Weather permitting, they hope to reach the peak this week.
Sasha has been climbing since she’s 6 years old and is one of the youngest in the field. She has won the World Championships for Female Overall, placed Silver in the Bouldering World Championships, as well as Bronze in the Duel. Sasha has been the undefeated panAmerican Champion 2004 to the present, and is a three time US National Champion.
So how does a world champion rock and alpine climber face her fears? “I think that it’s wrong to think that people can be fearless. I think that fear is inevitable, but I don’t think that fear needs to be inhibiting.”
Wise words from a woman facing the “murder wall.”