Sasha DiGiulian: Rock Climber Extraordinaire

Name: Sasha DiGiulian

Major: Creative Writing Nonfiction and a concentration in either Business or Sociology

College/Year: Columbia ‘16

Sasha DiGiulian is just like you and me. She loves the city and hanging out with her friends whether on campus or downtown. The stress culture doesn’t seem to get to her, although she thinks the general stress level could be taken down a notch, and like all of us she often finds herself procrastinating and struggling to get enough sleep. She loves Columbia and, oh I forgot to mention—she’s also a world famous rock climber with her very own Wikipedia page (and no, it’s not actually a page for a B-movie actress with the same name—it’s really hers).

The list of ‘notable achievements’ on her website extends far beyond the average college student’s resume. She’s a representative on the board of the International Federation of Sport Climbing, an Ambassador to the Outdoors for the Outdoor Federation, a recipient of the Golden Piton Award for Breakaway Success in Sport Climbing and she was the first American woman and third woman of all time to climb 5.14d (mountains in the US are graded on a scale of 3-5.15c—so for those of us who are not professional climbers, 5.14d is basically a really, really steep and scary cliff).

Sasha’s Columbia experience has been unique because she is generally in the city for 4 days a week and traveling for the other 3. It’s not always easy to spend so much time in the air, and she often has to miss class, which can be frustrating. But she keeps herself positive and has always found that “the busiest person is the most productive person.” When she’s in transit she often has little else to do but homework, and her cell phone has no service so she can get a lot of work done on the road.

So what does a typical week look like for a world famous athlete? Sasha has to train 6 days a week, and she usually climbs 3 hours a day for 5 days a week. She intersperses some cardio with all of her climbing and does “complex training like weights, pull-ups, push-ups, ab-work outs and strength-to-bodyweight exercises.” When she’s in the city, she goes to class, trains, and studies. She always saves time for her friends though when she’s in the city, “because without friends, who do we enjoy having fun with?”

Sasha started rock climbing when she was seven after her brother’s birthday party at a local climbing gym. She never foresaw climbing as her profession—she just genuinely loved the sport.  She’s currently in the beginning stages of developing a cross-pollination business project with other professional female athletes and some of the companies that she works with, and soon she’ll be jetting off to Hawaii, Montreal, and Spain! And of course, she’ll be taking her exams soon too. Good luck, Sasha!

Finally, if there’s one thing Sasha knows, it’s that the happiest people are the most successful people. Her advice to Columbia collegiettes? “Find your passion and live it.”