Sasha DiGiulian Notches First Ascent in South Africa

Sasha DiGiu­lian has an impres­sive climb­ing resume. She start­ed her career at age sev­en and began com­pet­ing at nine. Before she even grad­u­at­ed high school, she had mus­cled her petite, 97-pound body to the top of some of the most gru­el­ing sport climbs in the Amer­i­can South­east. She red­point­ed the clas­sic routes South­ern Smoke (5.14c) and Lucifer (5.14c) at the Red Riv­er Gorge in Ken­tucky like they ain’t no thang.

As a full-time stu­dent at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, the 21-year-old is still push­ing her climb­ing to new heights. She recent­ly trav­eled to South Africa to climb at Water­val Boven, one of Africa’s pre­mier crags. This video cap­tures the grit of the young climber as she estab­lish­es a beau­ti­ful new route she named Rolih­lahla in hon­or South Africa’s influ­en­tial anti-apartheid leader Nel­son Mandela.