Sasha DiGiulian began rock climbing when she was 7 years old. At 18, she made the most difficult ascent by a woman in American climbing history. Now 19, and one of the top climbers in the world, she has deferred her acceptance to Columbia University for a year to “achieve everything that I feel I’m physically capable of.” Her favorite color is pink “because it’s a happy color.” Her view of the key to climbing hard is “looking at a line, and thinking that it looks fun, and going for it—not having to have a grade correlate with your ambition to try something.” And she explicitly recognizes that her success is a consequence of her choices and efforts: “Since a young age I have balanced my climbing life with my school life. This balance has taught me valuable time management skills. I have also learned a lot about the successes that hard work yields, and the necessity for determination and passion. I see myself living out my passion for climbing for the rest of my life.”

I don’t know whether Sasha has read Ayn Rand, but she certainly exemplifies Rand’s principle that “the sight of an achievement [is] the greatest gift that a human being could offer to others.”

May she climb ever higher and achieve ever-greater success and happiness. And may others—especially kids and young adults—see her as an example of the right way to live.

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Video: Sasha DiGiulian. "Pure Imagination" 5.14d (9a). from adidas Outdoor on Vimeo.

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