Sasha DiGiulian and ‘Mango’ Ordonez Climb El Sendero Luminoso

Sasha DiGiulian and Mariana ‘Mango’ Ordonez have climbed the Sendero Luminoso route in El Potrero Chico in Mexico. They are the first female duo to do so.

The 455m vertical line goes up the front side of El Toro mountain. It is one of the hardest big wall routes in the area with difficulties up to 7c. The route was established by Jeff Jackson, Kurt Smith, and Pete Peacock in 1994.

El Sendero Luminoso route.

The Sendero Luminoso route. Photo: Sasha DiGiulian


DiGiulian led every pitch. She managed to onsight them all except for one, during which her foot slipped. She sent it on her second try.

“My favorite pitch was definitely the 5.12 on pitch 12, so wild how the rock geology changed amidst the route. I have a lot to reflect on about the experience and I felt really proud of the decisions we made as we climbed, and the teamwork that went into making a spontaneous romp up a big wall so successful,” DiGiulian wrote on her social media.

Bivy on the wall.

Bivy on the wall. Photo: Sasha DiGiulian


It took them two days to complete the route. At the end of the first day, they made a bivy on the wall at pitch 10 before climbing the final five pitches of the route the following day.

A conservative decision, but the right one

The decision to bivy, rather than push to the top in one day, came from DiGiulian.

“I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety before going on climbing trips because of all that I have gone through over the last few years, and residual trauma from a tragic, fatal event that altered the way I think about safety and climbing. My fear comes in waves for me, and I’m learning to respect it and to listen to it, rather than just trying to supersede it and being bold,” DiGiulian said.

Try to spot the two climbers on the wall!

Try to spot the two climbers on the wall. Photo: Frame from a video recorded by Diego Canavati and Jeff Yoo


“I knew I had the fitness and energy to keep pushing it but I also have a scar from the past that does make me nervous to climb on unknown terrain at night, for fear of rock fall and the safety of myself and my team…Spending a bivvy night on a ledge on the wall, and then re-climbing through the five pitches I had done to return to my high point and finish the remaining five pitches felt like the safest decision for us, and the best way to have an enjoyable experience with my friend,” DiGiulian explained.

In 2020, DiGiulian lost a friend in a climbing accident. Nolan Smythe, a climber and BASE jumper, died on El Gigante in Parque Nacional Cascada de Basaseachi, Mexico.

Sasha DiGiulian during the climb.

Sasha DiGiulian during the climb. Photo: Sasha DiGiulian

Kris Annapurna

KrisAnnapurna is a writer with ExplorersWeb.

Kris has been writing about history and tales in alpinism, news, mountaineering, and news updates in the Himalaya, Karakoram, etc., for the past year with ExplorersWeb. Prior to that, Kris worked as a real estate agent, interpreter, and translator in criminal law. Now based in Madrid, Spain, she was born and raised in Hungary.