Sasha DiGiulian Reaches New Heights With GoPro Cameras
Balancing climbing through life as a full-time student and professional athlete, Sasha Digiulian continues to push her boundaries and champion incredibly difficult feats. She started climbing at age six and since then has earned many titles including the IFSC World Championship. She has not only won titles but is the only North American woman to climb a 5.14d route, which is recognized as the hardest sport climb ever completed by a female… and she’s done it twice. The GoPro team is looking forward to having Sasha join our 2015 roster and continue to watch her push herself to tackle more obstacles. We got the chance to catch up with Sasha and hear about how she utilizes GoPro’s while climbing.
GoPro: How do you balance being a professional athlete and a full-time student at Columbia University?
Sasha: I am in my third year of four at Columbia. I am constantly adjusting the balance between my life as a professional athlete and my life as a full time student. What is really crucial for me is to prioritize my time with what is most important given the certain time frame. I find that time management and avoiding procrastination is also key. Though, every day I need to do something active or else I just feel anxious and I can't focus on school anyways. I train 6 days a week–2 days a week, I am with my coach and focusing on Strength and Conditioning and Climbing Specific Cross Training. Then, 4 days a week I am climbing and doing abs/pull-ups/push-up workouts. I have class 4 days a week, and I travel most weekends! My peak season for climbing is structured around June - August. This is when I have time off of school and I can focus on going after my bigger goals and take longer trips. During the Fall and Spring I am training, while the Winter is a bit slower for me. This year during my "off season" I took up ice climbing and Mixed Climbing and competed in an Invitation International Event in Ouray, CO.
What advice would you give to someone using a GoPro while climbing?
I like to place my GoPro on my wrist via the wrist mount, to get action shots during the climb. Another cool place that you can put it so that it's not in your way at all is on your harness clip. Then, if there's a chance to snap a pic- maybe just at the top - you can just unclip it!
You have constantly challenged yourself by pushing your limits and adding in new tools in your training, how has incorporating the GoPro changed your climbing game?
GoPro enables me to share my experiences from a first person perspective. It's awesome because I feel like I can easily capture my moments at the top. There's no other camera that is as easy and versatile as the GoPro. It's so easy to use, has such high quality resolution and it is so small that I don't even feel its weight!
GoPro cameras are known for their versatility and mounting abilities. What’s your favorite GoPro accessory and how do you use it climbing or training?
My favorite mounts are the Jaws Flex Clamp, the 3-Way Mount, and the Wrist Mount. I have placed the Jaw Flex Clamp on equipment in the rock (like a quickdraw) and taken video/self-timer shots. The 3-Way Mount is amazing for capturing the overall scene and taking video as if I had a videographer on hand. Then, the Wrist Mount is an accessory that makes it so easy to take first person POV photos while climbing.
If you're climbing with a partner, what's the best way to get those third-person perspective shots of you?
If I'm climbing with a partner on a multipitch, I can give my camera to him or her to take photos of me from above if I am following a pitch. Or, my partner can set up the GoPro at the top of the climb, lower, and then when I climb, the GoPro is set up already. They can put it in time-lapse for photos, or video. When the climb isn't too tall, the remote or the GoPro App works great!!
Where is your favorite place to climb using your GoPro?
I haven't yet had a chance to take my GoPro to South Africa, but that is where I want to go with it! This last summer I had it with me in Wyoming, and the shots from there were amazing because GoPro has such a wide, immersive field of view. The GoPro captures the true essence of the environment.
How do you feel using GoPro cameras to improve your training? Do you have any specific examples?
Using my GoPro while training is something that I do almost every session. My coach isn't always there with me while I am at the climbing gym, so I can set my GoPro up on the tripod (via the 3-way mount) and film my entire session. Then, I can show him the footage via the GoPro App or GoPro Studio and he can structure my training routines to focus on my weak points and bad habits. Sometimes, I am at practice and can't do a move. In my mind, the move is impossible. Then, I watch the footage of myself trying and realize that it's just in my mind that I can't do it. Clearly, I'm not trying hard enough. Then, I adjust my approach to the move on the wall and fix what I can see from the film that I was doing wrong. The GoPro provides invaluable feedback for training.