Sasha DiGiulian has climbed The Shining 5.13+ on Mount Louis, a 15-pitch bolted route up one of Banff’s most iconic mountains.
The Shining climbs the east face of Louis, but more specifically the hard line heads directly up the centre of a 200-metre feature called the Diamond Face.
DiGiulian’s partner for the day was Peter Hoang, originally from Ontario but who’d recently moved to Canmore. She had previously worked on the route with Mike Doyle and Dexter Bateman.
The first ascent of the hard line that has big exposure, technical climbing and a multi-hour approach was in 2012 by Sonnie Trotter and Tommy Caldwell.
DiGiulian is in the Canadian Rockies for the summer trying to complete Trotter’s alpine 5.14 link-up of War Hammer, The Shining and Blue Jeans Direct.
In only three weeks, DiGiulian has done War Hammer, a 15-pitch 5.14a with Mike Doyle, and now the 15-pitch Shining.
“I put in two days that were each 18-plus hour days; injuring my shoulder the second day,” DiGiulian said. “I was pretty down and hard on myself having to rest because all I wanted was to keep charging forward on my climbing agenda.”
DiGiulian sent the original variation of The Shining, which Alex Megos onsighted in 2016 and goes at 5.13+.
In 2017, Trotter returned to link many of the pitches into The Shining Uncut 5.14a. No one has yet repeated Trotter’s 5.14 version, but DiGiulian is planning on returning to link the pitches. Then she only has Blue Jeans Direct on Yamnuska left to climb.
Hanging belay before the crux pitch (5.13d) on "The Shining" on Mt. Louis in #banffnationalpark ! Had the full on alpine experience yesterday after onsighting the crux pitch with topping out on the summit at midnight rappelling down till 3am and hiking back to the car till 5.30am. 24h day, no waisted time 😜 @redbulladventure @patagonia_climb @dmm_wales @sterlingrope @aeetechnologyde @entreprisesclimbing @tenayaclimbing @cafekraft_nuernberg Thanks for the unforgettable day @sonnietrotter and @ken_etzel !!! #thisisthebestdayofmylife
On July 30, DiGiulian and Hoang left the car early in order to continue to project. However, DiGiulian was surprised to find that she was piecing the climb together with no falls.
“I lead through the first two pitches and felt much more energized than before,” she said. Trotter and Caldwell bolted the route ground-up and spent a number of days, some in snow storms, establishing this section of the route.
“When I took off on the crux pitch, I told Hoang (not that he needed me to tell him but this reassured myself) that I’d be taking some big whips to clear my mind and I needed to commit to the hard moves,” DiGiulian said. “He was ready for me to fly off the wall.”
The crux pitch took Caldwell and Trotter some time to sort out, as there are so few features and holds. To bolt the route, the top climbers aid climbed on hooks or drilled bolts from free-climbing positions.
“But when I pulled through the beginning difficult sections, I was just sticking on like Velcro to the wall,” DiGiulian said. “For the first few draws, I was putting so much extra force into the razor blade credit card sized bits that my fingers clinged on to… as I methodically punched through sequences, all of a sudden I had passed the hardest section of the climb; a series of bad side pulls with minimal feet.
“I yelled down to Peter in disbelief, ‘Oh my God. I just got through the crux!’ I was so surprised.” They continued to the top of the Diamond flake, rappelled behind the Diamond flake and climbed the next few pitches to the summit before rappelling and returning to their car at 6 a.m.
I am in a total state of disbelief.⛰💎🙊 I can’t believe I sent the Shining!!!!! Coming off a high of sending Warhammer (my first of the Trilogy goal) I dove directly into the process again with the Shining on the Diamond 💎 of Mt. Louis, my next goal. The climb felt really scary; exposed, run out, and on edge. But very thin microscopic @tommycaldwell @sonnietrotter technical edges! I put in two days that were each 18+ hour days; injuring my shoulder the second day. I was pretty down and hard on myself having to rest because all I wanted was to keep charging forward on my climbing agenda. Though, during this time I worked with @fmoser on mobilizing, strengthening, and rehabbing the shoulder. I took time off of climbing and did light exercises to keep my body flowing. Nothing like the big pushes I had been becoming accustomed to prior to the injury. I lead through the first two pitches and felt much more energized than before. When I took off on the crux pitch, I told @pete.hoang (not that he needed me to tell him but this reassured myself) that I’d be taking some big whips to clear my mind and I needed to commit to the hard moves. He was ready for me to fly off the wall. But when I pulled through the beginning difficult sections, I was just sticking on like Velcro to the wall. For the first few draws, I was putting so much extra force into the razor blade credit card sized bits that my fingers clinged on to. The ideal state of climbing to me is this state where I am physically and mentally committed but my body just operates without needing to be told what to do. This flow state where mind and matter fuse is hard to tap into on demand; though, when I really care about a climb or am being pushed to my limits, I find it happens naturally quite often. I wasn’t there yet, at the beginning of the climb. Though, as I methodically punched through sequences, all of a sudden I had passed the hardest section of the climb; a series of bad side pulls with minimal feet. I yelled down to Peter in disbelief “Omg. I just got through the crux!” I was so surprised. This is the moment just after sending the crux!!! 🙆🏼♀️ photos and video coming soon!