Take the Lead: Hanging On, Letting Go, and Conquering Life's Hardest Climbs (Hardcover)
World champion climber Sasha DiGiulian tells her story—from coming of age under the scrutiny of social media, navigating a male-dominated sport, and tackling her most heart-stopping climbs—and shares the power of perseverance and positivity.
At age six, Sasha DiGiulian stepped into a climbing gym for the first time and was competing within a year. Decked out in all-pink gear and with her blonde hair tied into pigtails, Sasha knew from an early age what it was like to be a girl in a traditionally male-dominated sport, vowing to never sacrifice her femininity to fit in. With a fierce love for the climb and incredible natural talent, Sasha soon won her first National Sport Climbing Championship at only seventeen, and a year later took the title of World Champion.
To her fans, it looked like Sasha was on top of the world. But under the accolades, she was just another young woman learning how to handle the intense scrutiny of social media and dealing with body dysmorphia, all while quietly facing a potentially career-ending injury. In a relatable and inspiring voice, Take the Lead reflects on the highs and lows of Sasha’s illustrious life and career for the first time, bringing readers on her remarkable journey from novice climber to Columbia University graduate, adventurer, environmentalist, and entrepreneur, and one of the most recognizable faces in climbing.
For readers of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Megan Rapinoe’s One Life, Take the Lead ultimately emphasizes the power of perseverance, fearlessness and positivity in tackling some of the most daunting and fearsome climbs—on and off the wall.
About the Author
SASHA DIGIULIAN is a world champion climber and three-time U.S. national champion. At 30 years old she has traveled to over 50 countries and accomplished 30+ First and First Female Ascents. In 2016 she graduated from Columbia University with a focus on journalism and business, and is the founder and CEO of SEND Bars, a superfood nutrition bar company. Aside from having been featured in dozens of magazines and news media pieces, she has written for many publications, including Outside magazine, National Geographic, Rock and Ice, SELF, Seventeen, and CRAVE. Sasha is an outspoken environmental activist and a global athlete ambassador for Right to Play and Up2Us Sports. She has served on the Board of the Women’s Sports Foundation for several years and travels globally for speaking engagements, sporting events, and commercial work.
"Take the Lead allows us to enter the fearless mind-set of Sasha, from her childhood to first place on the podium at the most prestigious international climbing competitions, and ultimately her lifestyle traveling the world to climb some of the most challenging rock formations ever achieved. Sasha demonstrates the strength of her vision, as well as the discipline to do whatever necessary to realize her goals and raise the bar for women." —Lynn Hill, climber and author of Climbing Free
"In Take the Lead, Sasha shares her views seeped in optimism and dedication, her two ingredients to her success as a professional climber. Regardless of where you are, or the type of sport you practice, there is wisdom in Sasha's experience that can help you be the person you want to be." —Conrad Anker, mountaineer and author
"This well-written memoir combines professional rock climber DiGiulian's life story with fascinating
information about an increasingly popular sport . . . Readers will cheer." —Booklist (starred review)
"Gripping . . . The recreations of what it’s like to cling to cliffsides will have readers’ palms sweating and [DiGiulian's] reflections on the sport are uplifting. This thrills and inspires." —Publishers Weekly
"Sasha DiGiulian is a card-carrying badass whose life experiences we can all learn from. Her stories of freakishly scary rock climbs that enable her to channel her courage into the world of business help us all see that our best selves are always on the other side of our discomfort zone. Take the Lead is for anyone in need of inspiration to overcome their fears in pursuit of their biggest dreams." —Sarah Robb O'Hagan, CEO of EXOS and author of Extreme You
“DiGiulian has established herself as the best female climber in the United States and arguably the best female rock climber in the world.” –The Washington Post