Here to Climb (2024) Movie Script

[TV static drones]
[bright tone]
[crunching footsteps]
[feet scraping]
[suspenseful orchestral music]

Climbing's always
been my first love.
[hyperventilating and giggling]
Sasha showing some finesse.
[cheers and applause]
Since I was 16, I've been in
the limelight of climbing.
No question, the best female
climber in our country.
I love the winning.
First place, Sasha DiGiulian.
People were like,
Sasha DiGiulian,
this little kid that's
crushing everything.
Every time I climb, it's like
you fall, you fall, you fall.
Slam into the
wall, and it hurts.
Kinda frustrated.

I learned in order to capitalize
on your achievements,
you need to capture them.
[upbeat music]
Social media changed the game.
This is Sasha
DiGiulian tuning in.
It's like a level of intimacy
that never existed
in climbing before.
She changed the
face of climbing.
[camera shutter clicking]
The fact that I'm marketable...
Is my hair okay?
Kind of not, but.
Enables me to do what I do
and make a living off of it.
Once you share yourself
with the world,
people are going to
have a problem with you.
But if you have haters,
that's how you know you made it.
Her definition of success
is that she gets to the top.
You have such an
incredible career.
[cheers and applause]
She's so polarizing.
I don't know how much of Sasha
is a crafted public persona.
[Sasha groans]
She doesn't look like a climber.
Some people say, "Why are
you sexualizing the sport?"
People criticize her and
call her dumb and anorexic.
Sasha's story is amazing.
That's why it's so frustrating
when Sasha overhypes
some ascents.
If you omit certain details,
people are going
to be suspicious.
It's bullshit.
I just play the game.
Okay, don't mess this up.
You know what to do.
[cheers and applause]
Right, left, pull, foot up,
push, push, push.
Make it up there,
make it up there.
[suspenseful ambient music]

[birds singing]

Very good.
Yes, summit.
Our anchor.
- Yeah.
- Nice.
[both imitate explosion]
And it's not dark.
It's not dark. Yeah.
Only almost.
- Almost.
No, we got time.
- Yeah.
All right, so I'm
going to tie you in.
Lynn started out as my idol,
the woman that I grew up
with a poster of on my wall
in my childhood bedroom.
Yes, with one direction.
Here's the X, see?
Then she became a friend...
That's how I'm going to tie in.
And a mentor.
- Tying to the end here.
- Yeah.
As long as we trust
that one sling.
We can have a backup, though.
- Yeah.
Lynn did this epic feat
of climbing the Nose on El Cap.
And the Nose had never been done
by a man or a woman before.
She did it over four days.
Then the next
year, she came back
and did it in a single day.
And then she made
this famous quip...
Good setup.

And I saw that as just...
I want to do something
like that one day.
- Hasta la vista.
- Whoo-hoo.
It's going to be
an exciting rappel.
Lynn comes from this
traditional climbing background,
grew up really in the
outdoor environment.
And I grew up climbing in a gym.
I started climbing when
I was six years old.
My brother had a birthday party
at a climbing gym
called Sportrock
in Alexandria, Virginia.
What I remember was walking in,
the gym smelling,
like, musty, dirty feet
and a slight tinge of pizza.
I really liked it.
I kept going back in line
to have another turn.
Sasha quickly
progressed from being
a child who liked to climb
to being a competitor.
What's your strategy today?
Two things: to win
and to climb as many races
I can so I get 1,000 bucks.
She loved the gym competitions.
She excelled in them.
It became obvious that
she wanted to be
serious about that.
[indistinct PA announcement]
[cheers and applause]
- I loved winning.
- Yeah!
Winning my first
continental championships,
winning my first nationals,
it was, like, the
greatest feeling.
I met Sasha when
she was, I think,
like 14 or 15 years old.
We both lived in D.C.
and were climbing in
the same climbing gym.
And she was the little squirt
that was warming
up on my projects.
Yeah, she definitely stood out.
When Sasha was
building her career,
she was a young, attractive,
blonde, blue-eyed girl
doing some really cool things.
She loves climbing,
but she uses it
to make a living.
It's impressive.
- I want to see that logo.
- Oh, yeah.
It's just bunched on this side.
So maybe just pull your
jacket down and fold it.
Just curl it up or something.
- Oh, okay.
Since I had achieved
at that point
what I wanted to achieve
in indoor climbing
and I started using
my winter breaks
and summer breaks to
be outside on rock.
[suspenseful music]
I never kind of ventured into
this new world unknown before.
[energetic ambient music]

The following summer,
I did my first big wall
with Edu Marin, who is a
professional Spanish climber.
Bella Vista was classified
as the hardest big wall
achieved by a woman.
It was my first female
ascent of a big wall,
proving to myself that
anything was possible.

It's a serious endeavor
to climb a big wall,
and it requires a lot
of technical knowledge
and mental fortitude and
then, of course, the strength.
Sport climbing is a very
individualistic pursuit.
Big wall climbing
is about teamwork
and about partnership.
So it was a big
transition for Sasha
because you can't do it
all by yourself anymore.
And the list of things
that could go wrong...
[chuckling] Is
pretty much infinite.
[wind whistling]
My next climb was the Eiger.
The route that I
wanted to do was
one of the hardest
established routes
on the north face of the Eiger,
and it had never been
done by a woman before.
[tense music]
That was exciting to me.
I wanted to do something
that was record-breaking.

And I told my sponsors about it
and they were instantly
really excited
and put in the resources to
filming and making it happen.

I saw the climb
that I wanted to do
on the north face of the Eiger
as something that was
under the grade level
that I climbed.
I thought, like,
"What's the big deal?"
There's a lot to
big wall climbing
that you don't know
until you're out there.
And all of it I was learning
while literally there.

My climbing partner
was Carlo Traversi,
and we were going
through these pockets
of really bad weather,
running out of time,
so we changed routes
to something easier.
And it was still a
first female ascent.
I was like, adjust
course, secure a summit.
[suspenseful orchestral music]

So all of a sudden,
I come back home
and there's so much hype.
Sasha DiGiulian has just become
the first woman to free-climb
the north face of the Eiger.
The first woman ever to
scale the Murder Wall.
Just days before
starting her senior year
at Columbia University,
DiGiulian reached the summit.
My proudest achievement
in my career yet.
It's the hardest route on
the 5,000-foot north face,
and DiGiulian has made
the first female ascent.
My main focus in climbing...
When you're trying to make
a living off your sport
and getting media attention,
you're not going to say no.
I've proven to myself that
something that I didn't know
was possible was possible.
It makes your career grow.
But the climbing community
was basically like,
"What the fuck?"
[suspenseful music]
I feel like every
big thing she's done,
there's always the
weird asterisk,
always weird rumors, and
maybe that's people hating.
Maybe that's people
being sexist.
The toughest thing for
me about the criticism
that I got from
the Eiger was that
it was actually more
grounded in fact.
It wasn't that big of a feat.
Carlo Traversi, my
climbing partner,
was never mentioned
in the press.
I was like this outsider
coming into this world
that was highly protected
and all of a sudden,
getting a lot of attention
for something that
felt overhyped.
So all of this critique
made me want to just keep
making a bigger splash.
I just saw the negative
as like, watch me.
I'll keep going.
[dramatic percussive music]

[camera shutter clicking]
[birds singing]
How do you feel?
Not bad.
[wondrous ambient music]
I'm really competitive.
Little bit sandy.
And I also love
feeling in control.

What I love about
climbing is in many ways,
I've always been in
control of my own success.
Like, what I get out
of it is up to me.
I was racking up first ascents
and first female ascents
with male professional climbers.
And that's how
I've kind of grown
and expanded in my skill set.
We would push each
other really hard,
pushing my comfort zone.

The spring of 2018, I set
out on this crazy objective
of climbing three of
Canada's hardest big walls.
But I broke up with
my climbing partner.
And I ended up
doing it on my own
with the support of Blairs.

After that, I was like,
"Whoa, I feel limitless."
We did it!
I'd put to bed these whispers
of me needing a male
climbing partner
to help get up these walls.
Oh, my God.
Way to go, team!
- Whoo-hoo!
- Whoo!
It was very empowering
in the sense
that I knew I had the
skills and the capacity
to lead an all-female
team on an expedition.
[birds singing]
I guess, yeah.
It was really cool to see
Sash coming off of the trilogy,
and she really wanted
her next big expedition
to be an all-female team.
Tricams that Lynn gave me.
Sash wants to prove
that she's one of
the most successful
female climbers in the world
and one of the most successful
big wall female
climbers in the world,
which is an even more
rarefied group of individuals.
This is the climb
that we're trying.
It's Leve Leve by
the Pou brothers.
[soft upbeat percussive music]
This is all
super-vegetated terrain.
And the rock, it's hard to tell
how it is since
it's so overgrown.

I decided to self-fund
the expedition.

[indistinct chatter]

The goal is to be
the first woman
to climb a route
up Pico Cao Grande,
which was the largest
volcanic plug in the world.

I just wanted to go there
with a climbing partner
that I felt comfortable
with and trusted.
Oh, man.
Holy epic-ness.
And you're literally
entrusting your lives
into each other's hands,
and you're all working
together towards this goal.
Oh, my God. Like, it's
like... it's there.
It's so crazy.
- It's there. We're here.
Like, we're looking at
this thing at a picture
in my house, and, like...
When I got the call from
Sasha to go to Africa,
I was over the moon.
When I first saw
Pico Cao Grande,
I was floored.
It was beautiful.
[ethereal ambient music]

I met Angela on the Upper
Peninsula of Michigan
on an ice climbing trip.
I was pretty green
to ice climbing,
and Angela really mentored me.
The rock.
Oh, I'm so pumped.

And then... oh, dude!
There's the bolt. First bolt.
- Where?
After that crack system.
- Is that the face?
- Yeah.
That way.
[indistinct chatter]
My thoughts were that Angela
and I would swap leads,
and essentially I would lead
the harder-graded climbs,
and she would lead more
of the adventure terrain.
Oh, the rock.

I'm spider-webby.
- It's really gravelly.
I fought a lot of
spiders coming up.
You're a little dirty.
Sharp rock.
And it's pouring rain, and
I'm getting a little...
- Yeah, we're getting misted.
- Breeze.
Niagara Falls over here.

From the moment we touched
down on the ground,
it was just rain.
[suspenseful music]


When it rains,
the likelihood of
rockfall goes way up.

That's a whole
different level of risk
that I never accounted for.

Not normal protocol
to climb in the rain.
My fucking feet won't
even stay on the holds.
Like, this is like
such mossy bullshit.
I'm not sure how wet this
climb is going to be.
It feels like it's one
of the only options.
Right now.
[rain pattering]
You got that.
Oh, everything's so
wet. Holy smokes.
Sasha is one of the most
driven people I've ever met.

It helps her achieve the goals
that she sets for herself.
And I do believe that
she finds self-worth
and self-value in those
goals that she creates.
Oh, no! Fucker!
On the grasp!
No fucking way!
[stirring orchestral music]

[softly] Yes.

Ow, ow, ow, ow!
[Sighs] First pitch.
But, man, that was a
fight through the mud.

I just don't know if we're
going to get a weather window.
Well, then I'm probably
not going to go to the top
if we don't get
a weather window.
Yeah, I mean, it is
shitty to be, like,
the only one trying
to, like, push our,
like, momentum forward.
Like I said, I'm super willing
to go up there with you.
I just, like, want
you to be doing it
for the right reasons, girl.
Like, I want you to...
I'm, like, perfectly aware of
my... my, like, risk-taking.
I just, like, if I feel
like something's sketchy,
I come down.
And my only point is that
we don't know until
we check it out.
[rain pattering]
[thunder rumbling softly]
[insects droning]
[tense ambient music]

You guys okay?
[words echoing]

[Sasha panting]
I'm okay.
A TV-sized block
coming off is, like,
not cool.
There was rockfall that almost
killed our photographer.
And that was a very
high point of tension
because Sasha didn't think
anything had gone wrong
because nobody was hurt.
My life partner of many years
went on an expedition
to Pakistan.
And he never came home.
That dramatically
changed the way
that I see the
world of climbing.
I was bold, and that's
how I got my name.
And now I'm very far from bold.
[somber music]
I just don't really
want anyone to die.
So no one dies on this route,
it's going to be a sweet summit.
Somebody dies, I'm going
to be super-bummed.
That's kind of where I'm at.
If you feel like
you going up there
is like you dying,
then of course,
I can't push you.
I just have confidence
that we can reach the top
and that we can
mitigate the risk.
I mean, I don't know
what you want me to say.
[insects droning]
At the end of that evening,
Sasha went into her tent
and uploaded the GoPro
footage to Instagram.
[tense music]

You guys okay?

Last night, my ego
was getting in the way
of making a clear decision.
I woke up this morning feeling
like this is against my ethic
and not the example
I want to set.
What hurts right
now is I feel like
all of the preparation I did,
and as much as I
wanted something,
it's just not possible.
And this is the first...
this is the first
mission of mine,
the first big wall
that I've gone on
on a trip that I
haven't succeeded on.
[engine chugging]
[metallic tapping]
[mechanical whirring]
I was at fault for
the failed expedition
because I was supposed to be
keeping everyone in good spirit.
I wasn't empathetic
to their feelings.
I wasn't the expedition leader
that they needed me to be.
All right!
We put six bolts in today.
All right, let's try.
Let's go down one more.
It was the first trip that
someone was telling me no,
and, like, I didn't like that.
All right, I'll come down.
Growing up, I wanted to
do everything by myself.
[dramatic energetic music]
I wasn't naturally that
much of a team player.

For instance, my mom
learned how to belay
so that I could maximize
my time climbing
and do laps.
I was just game to help
out in any way I could.
And that turned
into belaying Sasha
so that she didn't take time
belaying another climber.
She didn't really
climb with anyone else.
It was just her mom.
And so all she did was climb.
Usually when you're climbing,
you have your partner
and you take your breaks,
you know, and you rest.
But for Sasha, it was
just like up and down,
up and down, up and down.
Go, Sasha!
Elite athletes
have to have drive.
You have to be selfish.
Like, you have to be thinking
about how to elevate yourself.

My mom, she loved
being a part of it.
But my dad, he was busy working.
Didn't come to my
climbing competitions.
He didn't really
understand climbing.
He was scared that
I would go off
and become a dirtbag
and not go to college.
I wanted to prove to him
that climbing was
a legitimate sport
like tennis and hockey and
that I could make a living
off of this sport that I loved.
What my dad did connect
with was me winning.

I could say, "Here's
my gold medal."
And he would beam
with a sense of pride.
Our little tradition was
my dad would bring
me to the airport.
We'd talk about things
that have nothing
to do with climbing.
[soft upbeat music]
And whenever he dropped me off,
he'd say, "Have fun, be
safe, and do your best."
[audience exclaim]

[wind whooshing]
It's such a beautiful formation.
For Sasha and I to
do a new route here
would be a great
achievement for us,
but also a gift to the climbers.
Once we've got it all
bolted, the fun part starts.
That's why I wanted Sasha
to be a part of this,
because we can do something
for the community of Boulder
and all the climbers that
are looking for new routes
about that level of difficulty.
Sasha is a young woman
who's still figuring it out.
My feet are actually still warm.
We share similar goals
when it comes to climbing.
- We're in climbing shoes.
- Yeah.
Once you decide to do something,
there's no backing down.
That's just part
of our character,
and it's part of what
makes us good climbers.
But we come from a
completely different culture.
The world is a lot
different today
than it was when I was her age.
[dreamy upbeat rock music]
Back in the days when I
was climbing the big walls
of Yosemite as, like,
an 18-, 19-year-old,
I met this group of climbers
that are now known
as the Stonemasters.
They were pushing the level
of free climbing in America
and finding the routes
that were harder
than what had already been done.
It was a very inclusive group,
people from different
walks of life.
And where we were bonded was
in our love for climbing.
My first female
climbing partner,
Mari Gingery, she and I were
pretty much the only women
in this group of men.

It took a while for
people to understand
that climbing is
actually a sport
and that women can do it.
We do what we think
we're capable of.
So we're telling
ourselves stories,
and the story you tell yourself
is the most important one.

I was just enjoying
being out there
and hanging out with these
people that like to have fun
and just do crazy things.
It was a really
beautiful time in my life
where I felt free and
on the edge of something
that nobody else really
cared, but we cared.
[rowdy rock music]
Then I was part of the
first generation of climbers
that got to experience
[audience cheering]
And that was very
controversial at first.
Some climbers on one
side that would say
climbing is not a
competitive sport
and how would we judge who's
the best climber anyway?
The only way I was really
making money was prize money.
When I asked the organizers
if the men and women
were getting paid the
same for prize money,
they just said, "Well,
women will get paid the same
if they climb without
their tops on."
When I retired
from competitions,
I decided to do
one last big climb,
the first free ascent
of the most famous route
in the middle of El
Capitan called the Nose.
People said it couldn't be done.
And when people say
it can't be done,
that's when I get
most motivated.
Oh, really? It can't be done?
Who would ever say that?
Why would you ever say
something can't be done?
It's just a matter of
finding the way to do it.
Lynn Hill is a legend
amongst climbers.
This morning, a woman
adventure writer Jon Krakauer
called, quote, "Not
just one of the best
female climbers, but one
of the all-time greats."
The first part says,
"Someday, some guy is
going to free the Nose."
And at the bottom, it
says, "It goes, boys."
- That's amazing.
You know that's the poster
of you that I grew up with?
It was signed by you.
- Now, this is really funny.
This photo was taken
when I was probably 19.
So they came out to Joshua
Tree and they're like,
"Who wants to get
some free schwag
and take a few photos with us?"
And so I said, "Sure."
So they gave me those
stand up shorts.
I did get sponsored later,
but I wasn't making
enough money to survive
and be a mother.
I always had to
do a side hustle.
And it just got really tiring
to have to always be
answering to a sponsor,
have a side hustle,
and be a mom.
There's a young Sasha.
"Kids of Climbing."
- Yeah.
- How old were you then?
- 2007.
Because of people like Lynn
who really pioneered the sport,
my generation gets to actually
make a living doing
what you love.
Oh, my goodness, Little Sasha.
I want women to have
equal access to equity
and equality in sport.
It's not about the money.
Money enables you freedom,
and freedom enables you
to do what you want to do.
[upbeat music]
I took a very business-forward
approach to my career.
And even from a young age,
I had brand principles
and a mission
statement of who I was.
I remember writing out
the mission statement
of Sasha DiGiulian.
I always looked at
professional climbing
as basically similar
to dumpster diving.
Get in there and see
what you can find.
Sasha was just really good
at diving in the dumpster.
I don't... [laughs]
I said yes to everything.
Tires, makeup brands,
fitness trackers.
Did a deal with Seamless,
which was awesome
because I was in college
and it was like free
delivery for a year.
She's a businesswoman.
She's a self-marketer.
She's the OG millennial
influencer pro climber.
One of the first
people to really
be Insta-famous in
our climbing community
and have a huge following
and be able to
leverage and use that
in ways that were to her benefit
but also became
extremely isolating.

Agent Provocateur approached me
about being a part
of this new campaign,
embracing strength
as not mutually
exclusive from femininity.
It was a fun experience
and one of the most ridiculous
things that I've done.
But I'm, like, pretty
happy that I did it.
Sometimes she's
critiqued by, you know,
the trolls on the internet.
The culture that I came from,
people didn't boast
about themselves.
There was no social media.
They were very discreet,
and if anything,
understated and humble.
And if you see somebody who's
the opposite of that, you know,
the tendency is to
tear that person down.
I love to climb hard, and
I also love to wear pink.
I love to be outside,
but I also love
to stay in a five-star hotel.
Being true to myself and not
having to dampen my shine
is maybe why I cause friction,
but I'm human, so I'm
always going to be
affected by negative comments.
I have spent a lot of
time anguishing over what
other people think about me.
I went through a really
public cyberbullying incident
that came from a
long saga of someone
in our community mocking,
essentially, me being obese.
And I crafted a post about it.
What resulted in that was fury
towards me and towards him.
I have been dealing with
someone who has treated me
poorly through harassment,
online and offline,
over the last eight years.
And I exposed something
that was posted online.
And my opinion
about social media
is that what is posted
online is posted
to a public forum.
Whether from a public
account or a private account,
we all have to face the
accountability of our actions.
She fought back,
fucking nuked him
on social media.
That person lost their
entire livelihood.
People had a hard
time with that fact,
because it was a
well-loved person
in the climbing community.
Something that Sasha will
always be associated with
and never escape,
but at the same time,
she was right to
stand up for herself.
I'm glad I stood up for myself.
But I felt like an outsider
within my own community.
The way that I deal
with things is trying
to compartmentalize what is
going on under the surface.
Because my job is to be
a professional climber.
And if I'm not climbing
something of significance
each year, like,
I feel inadequate
and not deserving of
the support that I have.
Seeing pressure as a reason
to hit the gas harder is...
has always been my mentality.
[indistinct chatter]
She has unbelievable goals
that are going to push her
mentally and physically
and push female climbing
and push climbing in general.
She also is very aware of the
fact that she's getting older,
and she's aware
of what transpires
and how brand relationships
transition as you get older
and maybe you become
slightly less relevant.
She is very much
grasping with like, well,
what does it mean if some
day I'm not as relevant?
And I think she's thinking
of all that emotionally,
and I think she's also
thinking about it financially.
I'm in the prime of my career,
and I want to take advantage
of that as much as possible.
And that's going after
these first female ascents.
When I see a woman
has done a climb,
it all of a sudden connects
the dots that it's like,
oh, wow, if she did
it, I can do it.
And so in a way,
it kind of opens
this floodgate of possibility.
[light music]

Sao Tome didn't work
out, and I came home
hungry to go and lead
another big wall,
all-female expedition.
And that came in the form
of Logical Progression,
the most badass sport
big wall in the world,
a 3,000-foot face
climb up a monolith
called El Gigante in Mexico.
The route hadn't
been free-climbed
by a woman before.
And all the men that had done it
were these big names
that I respected,
like Josh Wharton, Alex Honnold,
Sonnie Trotter, Hayden Kennedy.
I was dead set on going
there and trying it.

The Logical Progression
will suit you really well,
because it's, like,
techy vert fingery.
And it's like technical and
sort of meander back and forth.
But overall, I remember
the whole route basically
being small edges up the face.
- Okay, so like...
- You know, like... like,
miles of just creeping
up a vertical wall.
- Climb vertical...
- Yeah.
And then I remember
that the first pitches
is are more thought-provoking
than the rating would imply.
You know, you're like, "Oh,
11-A, that'll be fast."
And then you get up
there, you're like,
"Where are the holds?"
It's all confusing.
If someone's a
professional climber,
you can kind of tell by the
way they move on a rock.
That's how I judge a
professional climber
is if they can just show up
at the crag and climb well.
Sasha definitely has that.
You watch her climb,
and you can tell
that she's really good at it.
[breathing heavily]
I think I'm dying, because my
right hip is really throbbing.
Like, last night, like, I had
to take three Advil at night.
I kind of, like, went cold.
"I was like, " I can't
go to Mexico with this.
I need to get a
cortisone shot."
Finally went in, and
it turned out I needed
a total hip reconstruction.
Because my femur
head was essentially
popping out of the socket.
It would be a series of five
surgeries over the course
of about a year.
And the surgeon didn't know if I
would be able to
return to the level
of climbing that I was at.
[somber music]
But since I already had done
all of the damage to my hips,
two weeks wasn't going to make
it necessarily much worse.
So I could go to Mexico,
complete the climb,
and then return for surgery.
I was in a state
of total disarray
and trying to process the
news that I had just gotten
about the potential
career-ending set of surgeries
that I'd have to go through.
So that's... yeah.
And then I got the
call about Nolan.

Nolan was a really
beloved member
of the community in climbing
and in base jumping.
He had gone ahead to hang
static lines for my team.

He was climbing the route,
and a major ledge
that he was on broke.
He fell from over 1,000 feet.
[helicopter blades whirring]
We had left Mexico
the next morning.
Nolan's whole family flew down.
After we recovered Nolan's body,
we shut the expedition
down, and we all flew home.
I felt extremely lost
and confused and broken.

[birds chirping]
I had hardly gotten
home from Mexico,
and I went in for my
first hip surgery.
[machine beeping]
[machine beeping]
[saw whirring]
[hammer clacking]
[light music]

Sasha's tagline was,
you're not the boss of me.

She said it all the time.
My husband would say something
that she didn't want to do.
She'd say, well, "I'm
going to get a new family."
Such a very tiny little girl.
Oh, she's waking up.
Hey, good morning.
Can you wiggle your toes?
Oh, there we go. Lift them up.

Push down with the
arms all the way.
No weight on that leg.
Sasha doesn't like to
not do something well.
And she doesn't like
to be imperfect.
So she'll just do it
and do it and do it.
Surgery number two, here we go.
Here I had this little
kid going off on weekends
climbing up these mountains.
She gave up her senior prom
to go on a climbing trip.
Like, there was no choice.
Like, "I'm not going to prom."
- Yay.
- Yay.
Watch this, Mom.
Press into this.
I allowed her to
do what she wanted.
I allowed her to go to Europe
with her boyfriend
when she was just 16.
She came back with
another boyfriend too.
It was, like, a Norwegian.
I trusted myself,
and I trusted her.
And I really didn't care
about what anybody else said.
Here we go again.
Love you.

When she told me
she was planning
on doing Logical Progression,
I wasn't so sure I
really wanted her to,
but Sasha just sets her goals.
And who am I to
say you can't do it
when that's what
she wants to do?
Good. [laughs]
I could lay on a
whole lot of guilt,
but I'm going to save that
for when I really need it.

I was really in
an emotional state
after the surgeries and
not really knowing, like,
what life would look like.
I started thinking about
what I could control,
so I started thinking more
about what impact my nutrition
could have on my
body accelerating
through the recovery process.
The deep, dark
undercurrent of climbing
that's the elephant in the room
to a lot of climbers
and myself included,
is the conversation
about weight.
For group A with
Sasha DiGiulian,
2010, I was, like, at
the top of my podiums,
and I was 94 pounds.
Being skinny on the wall
meant less weight to pull up
the wall, but it also meant a
future of just health issues
that were unavoidable
if I kept on that track,
what I'm going to eat, how
much food I'm going to eat,
thinking that I needed
to keep losing weight.
[speaking in native language]
The people who are
winning the world cups
were way thinner than I was.
[cheers and applause]
I think there was
maybe, like, a period
where I hadn't seen her
in, like, a year or two,
and I bumped into her.
And I almost didn't
recognize her.
And, you know, my heart
just kind of dropped,
because she just looked
so skinny and not healthy.
As I progressed in my 20s, I
wanted to build my strength
instead of lose weight.
My experience with malnutrition
led me to really want to learn
a lot more about nutrition.
And it's only really been
over the last few years
that I've felt, like,
really confident in my own skin.

I love waking up,
moving my body,
taking part in everyday life.
And when you're injured,
you don't get to do that.
And so it makes you
feel super vulnerable.
I can't really explain very well
why I'm so inspired to
climb Logical Progression.
It's just a climb
that represents a lot.
It represents this
entire journey
of what I've gone through.
And it represented this
driving force for me
before my injury.
And it represented something
that I wanted to do,
that I was committed to,
that I was training for.
And it's almost like the climb
itself is what separates me
before all of this and me now.
Just by being on
Logical Progression,
I get to confront
my fears head on.

It's totally insane
for her to be
pursuing a goal like this
on the heels of five surgeries.
It's beyond dark comedy.
It's kind of like,
"What are we doing here?
"Like, your hips aren't ready.
"You don't have a partner.
Like, give it a
couple months."
- [chuckles]
- Okay.
To have one surgery
where they break her hip
and reconstruct it,
putting in four big screws,
recovered from that,
second hip, same thing,
those are pretty
major operations.
She's an elite athlete,
and I think she probably,
like me, recovers
faster than most people.
Hopefully, I'll be ready
to go to Mexico in April.
You'll see how it goes.
I think it's not bad
to go and look at it
and suss it out and
check it out and,
you know, do a survey and, like,
maybe climb some pitches.
But I don't expect
you to complete it.
[breathing heavily]

You know, I went to Boulder,
and I spent time with her,
like, watching her
recovery, and, like,
she was a long ways away
from getting to the point where
she could do
Logical Progression.

For the last year,
she's been sitting still
and waiting and trying to heal.
Like, I know she needs this.
She needs a challenge that's
not just a small challenge.
She needs something that, like,
is just on the ragged
edge of insanity.
It's binary for her.
Like, this is it.
Like, she's either going
to do this and pull it off
and she's back, or she's
not going to do it,
and these hip surgeries
were the end of her
professional climbing.
Like, it almost feels like
she's that fixated on it.

Getting on challenging climbs
is good for me,
because then I just get
that fitness and power back.
It's, like, a humbling
experience, I think.
I mean, I'm just so
happy to be back on rock,
but I don't feel my most in
shape or anything like that.
And remembering that I did
go through five surgeries
and a lot of time off climbing,
like, it's important
for me to remember that.

Returning to Logical
Progression for me
is how I could get
back and through
this really trying
time in my own life.

Me, I would have delayed
Mexico a couple of months.
I've never made her decisions.
She knows when she's ready.
If she says she's
ready, she's ready.
Sasha called me to ask me to
be a part of this expedition
to Logical Progression.
The problem was, I
wasn't really thinking
about climbing at that level.
It could have been
a great adventure
but just wasn't the time for me.
I knew Sasha was disappointed,
but I had to follow
my instincts.
I feel like we've got
everything in place.
And yeah, if you have a
last-minute change of heart...
Okay, I'm going.
Yeah, you're like,
"Guys, wait."
[light music]

[indistinct chatter]
Dude, less than two weeks out.
We can find another spot, right?
So, Vian, you want to go first?
No, you can go
first if you want.
You're tying in. You go.
I know, but you want to go?
Vian's a badass climber.
And I've known her
for over ten years.
And we met when she stole
my Swedish Fish at the crag.
You just have to
tell everybody that,
like I'm a Swedish Fish
thief or something.
It was one time.
I never did it again.
11, including...
Vian said she could
maybe make Mexico work.
You're actually, like, the
first person that when I said,
like, anything about
Mexico that's actually
expressed enthusiasm
around going.
But I'm down.
We'll be safe. Okay,
I got to get going.
- Okay.
- You clipping this?
You want a stick clip?
But I have one too.
We're talking about,
like, weeks away
from this expedition.
And I come back from
work, and she's like,
"Vian wants to go."
And I'm like, "Who is Vian?"
I've never even heard of Vian.
I mean, as I
understand it, like,
Vian hasn't done
a big wall before.
The first time I met
anybody, like, "famous,"
it was actually Sasha.
And I just, like, went
up and introduced myself.
I was like, "Hi, I'm Vian."
And, like, we hit
it off really well,
and we were both climbing
in the Pipe Dream a lot,
and we were just, like,
good friends after that.
But yeah, I don't know
what really inspires me.
I can't say for sure,
like, why I climb, like,
there's some grand
thing behind it.
I'm just kind of compelled.

I never had the ambition to
be a professional climber,
and I would never
want to be famous.
I would not be able
to put on a happy face
if I had to go to a crag and
there were ten people there
who knew who I was and
expected me to climb
really hard and take
photos with them.
I think Sasha's handled fame
with a lot of grace and class.
She's a really public
figure, and so a lot of shade
gets thrown her way.
I told Sasha, heavy is the
head that wears the crown.
[gentle music]

I was stubborn, independent.
I guess it's just
the way that I am.

I think I got a lot of
my ability to not see no
as an option from my dad.

"Was always, " See the light
at the end of the tunnel,
and that's the option that
you're going to arrive at."
There's going to be
roadblocks along the way,
but it's always going to be
leading towards this goal.
And then it's, by any
means possible, achieve it.

When I was 22, my dad
took me to the airport
to fly to Wyoming,
our little tradition.

I was climbing in Wyoming,
and my mom called me to tell me
that my dad had had a stroke.

I flew back immediately,
was there in the hospital.

And we were asking all these
questions about what his state
would be when he woke up,
and the surgeon was like,
"You're not asking
the right questions."
He never woke up.

I mean, I felt the most gutted
that I have felt in my life.
My response was just to
suppress all my feelings
and just keep going, because
that's what I knew how to do.
The first time I met Sasha,
she had just lost her father,
and she gave a presentation
that was so, like, together.
Like, she didn't
cry or anything.
And it just made me think,
"Wow, she's really good
"at compartmentalizing
her emotions
and setting that
off to the side,"
which you do have to do on
a scary route sometimes.
You have to just say,
"Okay, I'm really scared,
but I can't focus on that."
[birds chirping]
- What's up, dude?
- What's up?
Dude, we're going
to Mexico today.
Okay, I'm going to...
I'll be in...
I'll go get the bars too.
- Okay.
Feel free to come
inside whenever.
Come on, Moose.
Wednesday, we
arrive to Chihuahua.
Thursday, we drive from
Chihuahua to Basaseachi.
Friday, we drive to the top of
the wall and rapp down to here.
Down to the bottom.
I was really excited
to do a big wall.
I had never been on
a big wall before.
I thought 300 bolts,
portaledge, no problem.
I'd known Vian for
about a decade.
She climbs super hard, and
she's been an incredibly
supportive and loyal friend.
And so I was excited by the idea
of getting to know her better
and going on this big
adventure with her.
Oh, she's got
something equivalent.
Sasha's never been
in this much pain.
She's never been in a situation
where she's this out of
shape before a climb.
And seeing this audacious goal
that she's thrown on herself,
it's just scary.
And I think everyone that
loves her is terrified.
[tense music]
She needs to go prove to
herself that she's still
a professional climber,
that this injury hasn't
ripped away her identity.
I don't know where you click
into that drive and that fire,
but she has it, and
she clicks into it.
It's why she is who she is.

Why I do what I do?
That's a big question.

I think that proving a
goal, that's what drives me.

I'm nervous for the
rappel more than the climb
right now, because that's
what's the first thing to do,
and it's a lot of weight.
It's, like, maybe more weight
than I'm used to rapping with.
You got this.
Thanks, Vian.
Achieving something
eats away at me.
Like, that's the way
that I approach my life.
The death of my hips.
Ow, my fingers.
I hate this bag.
We've officially started
the descent down.
We all have pretty
heavy haul bags.
And yeah, it's pretty
phenomenal being here.
[light music]

The hips are so sore.
That's pretty.
- Yeah.
- Do you copy?
After a night of no sleep,
we're racking up to rapp down
these first eight pitches.

Made it to the bottom.
We're at the bottom.
Do you want to go
first, or should I?
Whatever. Want to
Roshambo for it?
Rock, paper, scissors, shoot.
I go first.

Top of the second,
pulling Vian up.
There she is.
This is what's ahead of us.

We'll see how it goes.

We are here sitting
forever in the sun.
There's the sun.
That hurt your eyes, didn't
it? You weren't expecting that.
You two would have been
like fried chicken.
It was definitely really hot.
The sun is just baking,
and the rock temperature
just goes way up.
And it's just a lot harder
when the rock temperature
is a lot higher.
And it's so hot right now.
[tense music]

Come on, work that
right foot in.
Come on, Digi, come on.

Oh, shit.
- All right.

Right foot high.

I see the next draw.

[breathing heavily]
Okay. All right.

I'm at the anchor.
Nice job.
Oh, my God.
I'm, like, shaking.
That's probably as hard
as I've ever seen her try.
And it just showed
to me how, like,
how fragile she was or how
much she just wanted this,
how badly she wanted
this, you know,
and for some people,
it's just, like,
it's just a climb, you know.
It's okay to say...
to stop, you know?
You know, you just... you just
had surgery not that long ago.
It's, like, maybe it was too...
too early.
You know, but for Sasha,
she just really needed this.
What made you keep going?
I think I just...
I literally just could
think right foot,
right hand, left
foot, left hand.
Like, I couldn't think
of anything else.
And then I was like, you
made it through the crux.
Like, just keep it together.
It'll be one less
pitch for tomorrow.
[birds chirping]
Day three, we don't know
whose spoon this is.
That's all.
I wasn't trying to, like...
Day three, I don't know
whose spoon this is.
I wasn't trying to make
you feel bad or anything.
That'd be my spoon,
but we can share.
Sharing is caring.
Man, I'm, like, triple-fisting.
I got my dirty
Chai with collagen,
my trail mix, and my Red Bull.
And Kevin's over
there taking a shit.
We're just one
big, happy family.
[light music]
After my surgeries, I
lost touch with who I was.

And I lost touch with what it
even feels like to succeed.
During the whole time
of being injured,
I didn't have any
feeling of success.

You got it.
Left hand up.
I put my right foot high.
Two finger, get
your right foot up.

We got into a situation
where we had to climb
a little bit at night.
And we went into the area
where Nolan had his accident.
And I know Sasha
didn't want to climb
that pitch in the dark.
It was pretty scary.
I just passed Nolan's rock
scar where the rock broke.
It's pretty visible,
but I couldn't see
what happened with the bolt.
My guess would be
that really big rock
picked off and cut his rope.
It was really scary, because
as I was passing that,
my headlamp flashed
that it was dying.

Nolan didn't make any mistakes,
yet he died climbing.
It affected me in
a really heavy way,
because everything
was done right.

So many nights of not
sleeping is killing me.
I think I was in the
harness for 20 hours.
We've got three more
really long 5.12 pitches
that we need to do
tomorrow to then kind of
be back in the running to feel
like the rest of this route
is possible on free.
I went left foot pocket.
Augh! God!
That's a really hard transition.
It's hard.
Good job.
Fuck, yeah.
Hell, yeah.
Good job.
- Pitch 13.
- Done.
Strenuous 45 minutes.
Holy guacamole.
Another pitch bites the dust.
So we've officially
crossed this side.
Now we're coming up to
finger to fist, route 17.
Going to...
Oh, yeah, we're going
to do the Spread Eagle.
That was a serious crag.
Yeah, girl.
Yes, sun.
Yeah. Okay.
That's it.
- Whoo!
You're a good lead.
Am I in your face with my butt?
That thing did look good.
Sure wasn't, though.
[tense music]

Just a little choss left.
I'm trying, Mom.
Got your spot.
I actually just did.
I think it saved you.

Stay with it.
You got it.
[breathing heavily]
Nice, Sasha.
Come on.
Ahh! Fuck.
Nothing broke.
So much stuff broke.
It's so hard there.
Try that again.
Such a big move.
Holy shit.

Man, I thought I could
get that last pitch.
Such a bummer.
If it sticks once,
it won't be as good.
So start in the back and
then end in the back.
I'm just like your
personal assistant here.
No, I said, you're
my best friend.
- Okay.
- Short of Moose.
You tell that to all
your climbing partners.
I don't have climbing partners.
When I met her in
2011 when she was 16,
she was very much
a protected kid.

But now Sasha is so strong,
and she's capable of anything.

And I'll just climb over here.

After my dad died,
I recognized that you're
mourning this space
that they left behind.
And that space that
they leave behind is...
it's really painful
to think about, like,
it never being filled again.
That space is what I
keep trying to fill.
[inspirational music]

We did it.

It's kind of crazy.
I didn't even know if
I'd be climbing again
when I went in for
all those surgeries.
I really didn't.
I didn't know what to expect.
[light music]

Climbing's opened a
lot of doors for me
to go down this journey...

But also to realize that
a lot of satisfaction
and joy that I get out of life
doesn't need to always come
from the physical
sense of sending.
And my path forward
doesn't necessarily center
around climbing.
A million little knives
Carve out your name
[all shouting]
In the small of my back
I needed to learn
purpose beyond a wall.
And I think that that does
come with a sense of security.
And I would argue that
it comes with a sense
of career and sense of home.

I didn't want to tell
the City of Boulder
that we're done,
because I just want
to be complete with
the whole project.
- Yeah.
- And at that point,
we can address this issue of
possibly changing the name,
because they have it
registered as Vamos Chicas.
And Queen Line might
be a better name
just because it's on the maiden.
And it is the best
line, I think,
on that whole formation.
And you always hear King Line.
- Yeah.
- Why not Queen Line?
Or, like, the queen.
The queen, the queens.
The queens.
Yeah, I like it, Queen Line.
I think it's a perfect name.
[light music]

This is the day.
We're going to do it.
Let's go. The
queen on the line.
Ladies and gentlemen,
the first pitch.
Here we go.

Lynn's shown to me
how to age gracefully
within the sport and
still be involved
and still be a steward
of the community
and be out there
pushing new lines
and supporting climbers.

Sasha has a chance to
really look at periods
of life and what her
actual goals are..

What she wants to do, not
what's expected of her,
but what she wants to
do, what makes her happy.

She's young and still ambitious
and wanting to do more and more.
At 30, she's still
got a lot of time
to do a lot of really
amazing things.

We each have that
thing that drives us.
And that thing that drives us,
that passion is what I
feel really strongly about
harnessing and
embracing and nurturing.
And that's more important
than any summit,
than any achievement.

[Weval's "Days"]

No, no, no, no, no
And I will never be
And I will never see
And every choice I make
Consequences negative
Battle zone is known to me
And you to me
Most important feel, feel

No, no, no, no, no,
No no, no, no,
no no, no, no, no
[bright tone]