Tag Archives: Angie Payne

New Challenges Welcomed: Interview with Angie Payne

In 2015 Angie Payne shared the ABS Nationals podium with Alex Puccio and Alex Johnson. Today we're catching up with her

In 2015 Angie Payne (right) shared the ABS Nationals podium with Alex Puccio and Alex Johnson. Today we catch up and see what she’s been doing since.

If you haven’t heard of Angie Payne, believe me when I say that she’s a pretty rad lady. If you need some proof, the now 31-year-old has done everything from winning national competitions, to bouldering V13, to taking on some seriously sketchy adventures. Read on for her thoughts on today’s comps, working a “real” job, and what it feels like to now be an “old” climber.

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Big Weekend Sends for Payne and Puccio


Angie slaying her nemesis, Freaks of The Industry (V13).

Clearly something is in the air in Rocky Mountain National Park, because serious sendage went down this weekend! To kick the weekend off, Angie Payne sent her 4-year-long, self-proclaimed “nemesis” of a project Freaks of The Industry (V13). Then on Saturday, Alex Puccio, fresh off her first V13’s just a couple weeks ago, she sends Jade (V14). And here we are, still trying to pick our jaws up off the floor. Both women have achieved something really amazing here, it’s hard to know where to begin, but each send is truly mind-blowing for very different reasons.

We caught up with Angie last winter, when she had already put 50 days into this project. 50 days. On her blog Angie says of Freaks“Freaks is a nemesis that surpasses all nemeses I have ever had. This is not the first time I have invested multiple seasons in a boulder problem, but it is the first time I have experienced a mental battle of this magnitude… I have tried countless mental approaches—getting angry, relaxing, letting my mind wander, repeating a mantra as I climb, screaming, rhythmic breathing, acting like my life depends on it, pretending I couldn’t care less about it, even drawing positive reminders on my arm—you name it, I have probably tried it. But the battle continues.” Just think about all that for a second. Really appreciate that struggle for a moment. And then, you know those times when you’ve worked on something for like 3 days (or let’s face it, like 3 hours) and you’re like “OMG, why can’t I do this? It’s so annoying. I’ll never be able to do this.” And then you go climb V0’s the rest of the day? No? Just me? Anyway, when I think about how much frustration she tolerated, how she was able to keep going back, year after year; it’s kind of like trying to imagine what a billion dollars really is, or like, how many stars are in the universe-very hard to wrap your head around once you start really thinking about it.


Alex on Jade (V14) in Rocky Mountain National Park

And then of course there’s Alex. What we are loving about her right now is something completely different. Rather than super focused projecting on one specific boulder, taking months or years, Puccio is basically just getting outside, taking a break from comp climbing, having some fun, and seeing what see is capable of. In our interview with her in March (just before she won her eighth ABS nationals championship) she shared with us that climbing outside is really her reprieve from the comp circuit, “I have so much stress in competition that when I go outside I finally don’t have to feel like I’m training for something. When I go outside I’m like, ‘I don’t just have 5 minutes to do a boulder.’ It’s quite nice. It’s refreshing.” At that time that she had climbed fourteen V12’s, and thought she was capable of V13, but just hadn’t found the right one yet. Well, she found the right two, Nuthin’ But Sunshine and Top Notch in RMNP within a week of one another, and then Jade, swiftly making her the 4th woman in history to climb V14. Not to mention this particular V14 is known as one of the hardest boulder problems in the world. This line was initially a project of Dave Graham’s, and graded at V15. Daniel Woods earned the FA in 2007 (video from Big UP) and it was then repeated by many big names including Jimmy Webb, Carlo Traversi, after which it was decidedly graded a solid V14.

Both Payne and Puccio are so inspiring in what they have achieved. Added to the list of other historic sends lately (Ashima, Shauna Coxsey), we feel pretty certain that the first ever V15 send by woman could happen any day now. In the meantime, we want to say thanks for giving us new energy and excitement to push ourselves in our own climbing, and we’ll be on the edge of our seats to see what happens next!

Climb On!


Photo Credits: Matty Hong and Joel Kerr

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Iron Maiden Results


Angie and Lizzy race, seemingly in sync, to the top of Finals problems 3 and 4

Saturday, Crux Crush partnered with MetroRock to hold the first Iron Maiden, all-female bouldering competition. Young guns, citizens, and pros battled it out together (in the most polite of ways, of course) during the afternoon’s Redpoint round, all vying to become THE IRON MAIDEN. Surprising or not, as a female run comp, actual Iron Maiden music did not make the playlist…nor did we employ the Iron Maiden torture chamber. Instead, we reclaimed Iron Maiden as a title of women’s invincible determination and strength, expertly displayed by the competition’s nearly 100 female competitors.

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ABS Nationals Results

Alex Puccio and Daniel Woods vying to hold onto their 2013 Nationals' titles. (Photo credit: Climbing Magazine Instagram)

Alex Puccio and Daniel Woods trying to hold onto their 2013 titles at this year’s ABS Nationals. (Photo credit: Climbing Magazine Instagram)

Setting challenging finals problems for the likes of Alex Puccio, Alex Johnson, Jule Wurm, Angie Payne, Megan Mascarenas, Margo Hayes, and Grace McKeehan would be an exceptionally difficult task. Yet, the setters for the American Bouldering Series (ABS) Nationals rose to the occasion, delivering challenging yet interesting problems for the seven strong finalists. After Friday Qualifiers and Saturday morning Semi-Finals, these seven ladies powered through, ready to put their bouldering prowess to the test. Competitions are often so obviously tilted toward one competitor, however, it truly came down to the very last problem to see who would emerge as the winner. Angie Payne and Megan Mascarenas had strong starts, whereas Alex Puccio started off shaky. Sixteen year olds Margo Hayes and Grace Mckeehan also each had moments when it seemed the tables could turn in favor of any competitor.

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Dark Horse Finals: Preview with Kasia Pietras

darkhorse on blackThis Saturday, February 1st the best of the best will come to MetroRock in Everett, MA to battle it out for the title of Dark Horse Champion. Now in its 5th season, the Dark Horse Series has crowned some seriously strong climbers as its previous winners, including Isabelle Faus, Francesca Metcalf, and Daniel Woods. This year’s series features arguably the strongest group of climbers that Dark Horse has ever seen, and we are psyched to cheer them on in our own backyard.

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Keeping It All in Perspective: Interview with Angie Payne

Angie, keeping a sense of humor while trying incredibly hard, on European Human Being (V12)

Keeping a sense of humor while trying incredibly hard, on European Human Being (V12)

We’ve had a crush on Angie Payne ever since we watched her graceful power at The 2012 Dark Horse Comp. A climbing force inside and out, Angie has claimed the FFA of 30 boulder problems V9 and harder, not to mention being the first woman in the world to climb V13. Recently at The Heist, we had the opportunity to briefly interview her and were struck by her down-to-earth, thoughtful responses. Payne talked about the inspiration she finds in the every day climber, the “weekend warrior”, who finds a way to balance life responsibilities with hard climbing. We had the privilege of sitting down with Angie Payne to pick her brain about climbing, balance, perspective, and colonoscopies. Although Angie would humbly disagree, in talking with her, we’re pretty sure that she has figured out the secret to the climbing life. Be prepared to be enlightened:

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The Low Down on the Heist

The 6 finalists in The Heist prior to the unveliing of the 2 finals'boulder problems and 1 finals sport route: Meagan Martin, Delaney Miller, Francesca Metcalf, Angie Payne, Kyra Condie, and Sasha DiGiulian

The 6 finalists in The Heist: Meagan Martin, Delaney Miller, Francesca Metcalf, Angie Payne, Kyra Condie, and Sasha DiGiulian

As youth competitors, Lily Canavan, Gabby Harden, and Olivia Ray pointed out at The Heist, in what other sport do you have the opportunity to be cheered on by the best of the best in the sport? Yet, that was exactly the environment created last Saturday as Meagan Martin, Sasha DiGiulian, Angie Payne and other pros sat alongside their fellow Heist competitors, analyzing, strategizing, and beta-sizing the comp’s problems. Crux Crush took this opportunity to talk with the finalists and citizen competitors about the comp, their inspirations, and their predictions about the future. Today, we share their responses and some images of their strength.

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Sasha Steals the Show at The Heist

Sasha DiGiulian concentrates on the final's sport route.

Sasha DiGiulian keeps her focus on the final’s sport route.

It was an exciting and jam packed day at Central Rock Gym Watertown yesterday as the ladies took over in every way, from planning, setting, and facilitating to bouldering, AND as a surprise twist in the finals: sport-climbing.  That’s right,  in addition to the two finals boulder problems, these ladies had to conserve their energy to finish off the night with a long overhanging sport climb!  In the packed yet supportive competition, pro and non-pro climbers competed alongside one another to claim a winning place in the citizen’s comp, or attempt to qualify for the finals. The Heist succeeded in its attempt to create a truly unique culture that emphasized and empowered female strength and community. Results were extremely close going into finals and remained tight throughout as competitors had to strategize around saving their energy on the especially difficult 2nd problem (no one sent!) and having enough gas left to on-site the steep final route that came in around 5.13a. Midway through it looked as if Angie Payne, Kyra Condie, or Delaney Miller could make a run at first place. In fact, at the end of the two final’s boulder problems, the ordering went from first to last: Angie, Sasha, Kyra, Meagan Martin, Delaney, Francesca Metcalf. Despite Delaney’s beautiful and delicate route climbing skills (she and Sasha were the only two to complete the route, although Kyra came close), in the end, Sasha DiGiulian proved her prowess as the best all-around dynamic climber of the bunch. Look for our interviews with the pros and some of the young gun competitors later in the week, but for now…the results:

1st: Sasha DiGiulian

2nd: Delaney Miller

3rd: Angie Payne

4th: Kyra Condie

5th: Francesca Metcalf

6th: Meagan Martin

Angie Payne making a go for it on the final's route.

Angie Payne making a go for it on the final’s route.

156 females competed  in The Heist.

A snapshot from the redpoint round of some of the 156 females who competed in The Heist.

Excellent work to everyone who competed yesterday! Climb on! ~Cate

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Angie’s Journey in Greenland

Former girl crush of the month, Angie Payne, traveled to Greenland with Mike Libecki and Ethan Pringle to explore and play around on some beautiful boulders. She is a seriously lucky lady and we love that she truly appreciates the position she’s in. This film is short, sweet, and visually breathtaking. Enjoy!

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