09 January 2015
Sasha DiGiulian, one of the most popular and strongest climber in the world, the last week trying ice and mixed climbing in Colorado. After repeating this summer with Edu Marin Viaje de Los Locos, 8b + in Sardinia, DiGiulian approached this new discipline training with Will Mayo in a week of "boot camp" at East Vail and Ouray, and this weekend she will compete at the annual Ouray Ice Festival.
DiGiulian, who had never climbed on the ice before the last week, flashed an M8 pitch in Vail during her first day of mixed climbing. On her fifth day of boot camp, she redpointed The Flying Circus (variously given M8+ to M10), a variation of the 2008 competition route at Ouray. On April 6, followed Mayo up Bridal Veil Falls (WI 6) by the classic Telluride, 80-meter pitch.
Asked why she decided to check out ice and mixed climbing, DiGiulian responded, “Why not? Learning to mixed climb is another dimension to the sport. I feel like I have come across a whole new frontier. Instead of just going on another sport climbing trip and having a guaranteed awesome but similar experience to all my other winters, I chose to try something new. You never know until you try, right?”.
Mayo said that his pupil is “a remarkable individual. It's amazing to see a world-class athlete step out of her element and embrace an extremely different discipline, and to do it with such an open mind. She's exceptionally intelligent and is learning the new game quite quickly. Most of all, the girl is just genuinely having a blast, which is so often the the most integral aspect of success.”
As for the competition in Ouray, DiGiulian said participating just for fun. Some of the best female mixed climbers from around the world will participate in the competition, including the Italian Angelika Rainer, ranked second in UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup last season. “Having just a week under my belt, I’m not sure what to expect,” said DiGiulian "But it's incredibly exciting."