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Sasha DiGiulian Sends Logical Progression, 28-pitch 5.13

Her partner Vian Charbonneau freed nearly three-quarters of the classic Mexican big wall

Sasha DiGiulian has become the first woman to free Logical Progression, a famous all-bolted 28-pitch 5.13 on El Gigante near Basaseachic Falls National Park, Chihuahua, Mexico. Her climbing partner Vian Charbonneau sent around 70 per cent of the huge route.

DiGiulian recently recovered from a number of operations that spanned over a year. She said, “To me, this was a huge accomplishment as I am less than 8 months post my bilateral PAO surgery, and had the last of my 5 surgeries just three months ago. I went into this climb with a 50-50 expectation of success BUT a 100% desire to give it my all.” Continue reading her story on her Instagram posts below.

The route was established in 2002 by Peter Baumeister, Luke Laeser and Bert van Lint by rap-bolting the entire climb, which slightly annoyed some big wall free climbers. The rack for the climb is only 25 quickdraws. Alex Huber said that he would chop the route, and the 2003 American Alpine Journal published a 10-page “debate” on the climb.

Rob Pizem redpointed it in 2004/2005 bud did not make a continuous free ascent. In 2007, top French climbers Arnaud Petit, Stéphanie Bodet, Titi Gentet and Sylvain Millet repeated it, nearly onsighting the entire climb. Petit said it was a “chef d’oeuvre” (“masterpiece”).

In 2010, Alex Honnold and Sonnie Trotter climbed it twice, the first over two days before making the first one-day ascent in 15 hours. About the trip, Trotter wrote on his blog, “In the end however, we didn’t get shot, we saw some guns, yes, and some marijuana fields, but all in all the folk we met were kind, hospitable and interactive. If it weren’t for the conflict going on, this place would be like a second Yosemite Valley, for perspective, I feel it’s much, much better than El Portrero Chico, and definitely more wild. Huge walls, deep gorges, raging water falls, towers galore, a truly majestic place.”

For a story by Hayden Kennedy about climbing it in a day, visit here. In March 2020, American climber Nolan Smythe died on Logical Progression when a ledge broke and cut his rope, read about it here.

Charbonneau has sent a number of hard bolted lines over the past few years, including Thug Life 5.13d in Red River Gorge (watch here) and Divine Fury 5.14b at Maple Canyon (watch here). In 2017, Honnold shared a story about some climbing he did with Charbonneau, and said, “I’ve spent the last week climbing with Vian Charbonneau, one of probably less than 15 women in North America who have climbed 5.14b. I think she’s one of the most undercover crushers in the country. Except that I’m blowing her cover.”

DiGiulian, who spent much of her childhood growing up in Canada, made history in 2018 when she became the second climber to complete Trotter’s alpine trilogy in the Canadian Rockies with sends of War Hammer 5.14, Blue Jeans Direct 5.14 and The Shining Uncut 5.14. DiGiulian’s film about the climbs called The Trilogy won a number of awards.