On July 20, 2017, professional rock climber Sasha DiGiulian became the first woman to summit Mora Mora, a mountain in Madagascar that is one of the most difficult free-pitch climbs in the world. Oh, and she's only 24.
"When we summited, I almost didn't believe it actually happened. I was kind of stunned," Sasha told mbg just days after her climb, her voice light and happy. "I felt like I was going to wake up and have not actually reached the top and still have three full days ahead of me of trying to do this thing."
All in all, the climb took Sasha nearly three weeks, and she says one of the most terrifying parts was looking down. "At about 1,500 feet up, you’re really exposed to this sheer cliff drop below you," she remembers. "At first I was afraid to fall, but if you think too much about being scared, you'll never do it. I definitely had this moment when I was totally gripped and didn’t know if I could proceed upward, so I had to mentally flip a switch from 'I'm so scared to fall' to 'I’m not thinking about falling.'"
It may have been the most difficult one to date, but this climb is one of the hundreds Sasha has done. She's been climbing her entire life, and having this physical toolbox has given her an admirable set of mental skills, too.