Sasha DiGiulian Climbs One of Spain’s Toughest Routes


On Wednesday morning, sport climbing phenom Sasha DiGiulian added another hard route to her resume when she sent Era Vella (5.14d), a long, severely overhanging limestone climb established by Chris Sharma in Margalef, Spain. The send, DiGiulian's second of the grade, is the latest in a string of major accomplishments for the 19-year-old Virginia native: in the past year alone, she's become the first American woman to climb a 5.14d route, won the overall gold at the climbing world championships, and captured her third consecutive national sport-climbing title. 

In an interview last month, DiGiulian told me that she was drawn to Era Vella because it was such a visually striking route. “I'm mostly inspired by the cleanest, most aesthetic-looking lines,” she said. “It's definitely a route that's captured my attention.” DiGiulian ultimately devoted more than three days to the route over the course of two trips to Spain—not long by most climbers' standards, but a serious commitment from someone who, until then, had finished her most difficult climbs in six tries or fewer.

A crew from Big UP films caught DiGiulian's ascent using a remote-controlled tracking rig strung up on the cliff; they plan to debut the footage at this year's Reel Rock film tour, which kicks off on September 13 in Boulder. Until then, enjoy this eye-catching raw footage of DiGiulian working Era Vella, and look for an interview with her in our July issue.

—Adam Roy