Pure Imagination (5.14d) Repeated By Sasha DiGiulian

Pure Imagination (5.14d) Repeated By Sasha DiGiulian

16 months ago Sasha DiGiulian was a well-regarded competition climber who had redpointed routes as hard as 5.13d.  Then something happened.  What, I don’t know.  But whatever it is I’d like to be able to bottle it up and sell it.

In August of 2010 DiGiulian did more 5.14s in Rodellar, Spain, and this past March she redpointed two 5.14c’s and onsighted a 5.13d during a short trip to the Red River Gorge.  Moving through the summer of 2011 she won overall gold in Arco, ticked off another 5.14c and made quick work of several “easy” 5.14s.

This past week DiGiulian returned to the Red River Gorge where she took things to the next level by doing the 3rd ascent of Jonathan Siegrist’s Pure Imagination (5.14d)1.  Here’s what she said about the send on her 8a scorecard:

Wow, really psyched :) Amazing route, totally on edge climbing up a beautiful line! 6th try, 3rd day on it- seems to be my redpoint trend! Video and Photo footage coming by Keith Ladzinski and Andy Mann. Thanks for this awesome route, Jonathan!

This is the first 5.14d ever done by an American woman, and based on the fact that it only took her 6 tries, it would seem like the ceiling on DiGiulian’s talent has yet to be reached.

Correction:  Well, I dabbed pretty bad on that first paragraph.  DiGiulian actually did her first 5.14a back in 2009 although the pace has obviously picked up in the last year or so.

  1.  Video of Siegrist on the route can be seen here

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29 Responses to Pure Imagination (5.14d) Repeated By Sasha DiGiulian

  1. Doug Lipinski October 17, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Very impressive and inspiring. Great job Sasha!

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  2. Ryan October 17, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    Thats really rad! Theres a few weeks left of good conditions so she’s probably not done yet!

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  3. Jenn A October 17, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    She could conceivably be the first woman to redpoint Action Directe.

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    • Narc October 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

      That would be pretty sick

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    • isaac October 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

      She could be the first woman to redpoint LOTS of stuff at this rate.

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  4. Dave October 17, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    With that kind of talent she could be bagging the FAs on lots of open projects.  No need to wait for a dude to get there first.

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  5. Joel October 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    I want to be psyched for her and female climbers everywhere, I really do, but I’m genuinely concerned part of this success is coming to the detriment of her health. Sasha is disconcertingly thin.

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    • Narc October 17, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

      Everyone can have their opinion I suppose but she’s addressed that issue as directly as possible on multiple occasions so I’m not sure what else there is to say about it.

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    • Dave October 17, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

      Seems like people want to take a paternalistic attitude regarding this athlete’s weight/health.  I’d ask you… is this only because she is a female?  There is no shortage of rail thin gumby bodied guys like Dave Graham out there.   I wonder how many of them get called anorexic.

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      • Joel October 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

        That’s a fair point. Maybe it’s less apparent in the very thin males because they look more muscular. DG is obviously skinny but he never struck me as underweight.
        I was surprised to find myself looking away while watching Sasha compete. She’s that uncomfortably skinny.
        Regardless, climbing 14d (in the fewest tries!) is a huge accomplishment and nothing to deride. I just hope she’s healthy and hard/competitive climbing remains a healthful activity.

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        • TJ January 18, 2012 at 11:49 am #

          I find it interesting that you find her “uncomfortably skinny” and “disconcertingly thin”.  You may be around too many “Americans” and thus have a distorted view :)

          I’m around very trim fit women all the time, so my thought was -she’s an attractive fit young woman. She never even struck me as being particularly thin or skinny…..

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    • joeyjoejoe October 17, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

      Dude, you’re an idiot. “Paternalistic,” as Dave put it earlier, is way too gentle a term. Sasha is winning comps and climbing 5.14d. What leads you to believe she is unhealthy? Do you think elite marathon runners are unhealthy? Many of them are at least as skinny as she is. Get a grip. 

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    • Goetz Joseph October 18, 2011 at 6:35 am #

      This is a common reaction to elite female athletes.  Some accusations have merit, but most do not.  I think men are quick to write off female success to such disorders. 

      As a long time runner, we always knew we were ready to run real fast when people started to say we look too thin or sickly. That is when we knew we were about to pop a fast race.  And trust me, we were eating A LOT.

      To quote CUs Cross Country coach, “By the time we get to nationals I want you all to look like skeletons with condoms pulled over your bodies.”

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      • Aaron Schneider October 18, 2011 at 7:06 am #

        I agree with Goetz. Sometimes when you exercise enough on a daily basis, despite making yourself full at 3 meals a day (and even eating past stuffed) isn’t enough to do anything but maintain weight.  And then, sometimes it’s hard to even maintain and not lose.  It is more common in guys cuz of hormone levels, but does happen in women too.  Someone who does not eat enough would not be able to perform at this level.  

        Routes beat the crap outa me, and I’m definitely not climbing 5.14′s.  I have troubles imagining anyone who isn’t eating enough could crush 5.14′s.

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  6. Climber49er October 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    Re: “she’s addressed that issue as directly as possible on multiple occasions”
    - not really taking sides, but somewhat irrelevant. Plenty of people with problems deny them to others (and often themselves) for very longs periods of time. That being said, I don’t know if she does or doesn’t have a problem (though I do think that as she is a “celebrity” atleast in our small world, she is fair game for discussion).

    Really though. She needs to branch out. Not to say she hasn’t crushed it at other places, but she REALLY needs to gets some hard sends in somewhere other than the Red. Or atleast more, harder ascent elsewhere. The red is a very specific, fairly unique form of climbing. She is definitely crushing now, the new wave of climbers, no American or female, but new wave in the world. A definitely leader in the new generation. 

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    • ammagamma October 18, 2011 at 1:14 am #

      Other people that know her have spoken up on her behalf in one form or another. The fact that the issue has been adressed directly by the person in question and people that actually see her in real life makes these random internet comments about her “looking skinny” pretty worthless. 

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    • SPro1 October 18, 2011 at 9:08 am #

      She’s sent 5.14 in Utah and Spain, are those sends no longer valid?

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    • Olli-c January 18, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      Are you on drugs? or just troll food? She is 19 how do you expect someone who has just finished high school to have travelled the world and climbed many routes in multiple locations at the highest standards? You wouldn’t tell someone who has just red pointed their first 5.12 that they REALLY need to go and climb in some other places. Even so people have different likes and dislikes, what if the red is her favorite place to climb you cant tell her that she needs to climb in other places, climbing is for fun right? why would you go and climb somewhere that you dont like when you could climb at your favorite place more? Secondly There is no way any human can climb that hard without eating enough, her latts are mahusive, if she has an eating disorder those would shrink right off. Stop being silly or il send this man after you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLEo7H9tqSM&feature=related

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  7. vouldering October 17, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    She demonstrates physical excellence and courage, regardless. Perhaps she could climb harder given her prudence and maturity. She inspires singular focus on physical excellence.

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    • Crayonsto October 18, 2011 at 12:21 am #

      English word vomit??

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    • Crane October 18, 2011 at 2:30 am #

       PUKE!

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  8. Rowan900 October 18, 2011 at 4:12 am #

    She should go on a diet. That would be super rad. Then 9a+ would be in the bag.

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  9. funk October 18, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    she should go do FRFM before Ondra, et al.

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  10. eddie October 18, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Wow. Some girl climbs a hard route.  Report on 8a immediately digresses into whether or not another girl is a liar. Report on climbingnarc immediately spins into allegations of anorexia/denial/etc.  Internet is amazing.

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    • Narc October 18, 2011 at 11:58 am #

      Fun times. You should see the comments that didn’t make it through.

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      • Cadaverchris October 18, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

        ugh – thanks for moderating the trash out.  Congrats to Sasha!

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      • eddie October 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

        I can imagine it gets nasty, thanks for your hard work narc!

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  11. Parker24 October 20, 2011 at 12:25 am #

     Wow, she has made  tremendous strides in the last year or so. Many young female climbers now look up to her as a role model, and want to be like her, and would do whatever she does to be so good. So, how did she go from being really good(5.13) to off the charts (5.14d) in the last year? What is her recipe for success? Who trains her?  Must be a great coach, love to know his/her strategy and training methods?

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    • Narc October 20, 2011 at 7:07 am #

      I don’t think anybody has been training or coaching her. Perhaps it’s as simple as her having a lot more time to climb once she graduated from High School??

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