Paige is a freakishly strong and talented sport climber. She juggles her “normal” life well with her climbing goals. Who could do a major home remodel, with zero climbing time, and then go repeat the renowned Necessary Evil (5.14c) as her first climb back on the rock in 6 months? Paige is methodical, calculated, and motivated – a success at anything she does.
Birthday: June 13 1990
Home town: Estes Park, Colorado
Current home: Split time between South Africa and Colorado
Favorite MAXIM rope: Airliner, 100%!
“Climbing should be like a mullet. Business in the front, party in the back. Business on the rock, party on the ground.”
“MAXIM Ropes are the longest lasting and smoothest gliding ropes in the industry. If you’re not overjoyed by the ease of feeding rope through your belay device or clipping in the middle of the crux of your project, then you’re not using a Maxim rope.”
Tell us how and when you got into climbing?
When I was 9, my family moved to Estes Park, Colorado. I had trouble fitting in and wasn’t very good at the activities I tried, but when my parents took me to the local climbing gym, I knew I’d found my place. Climbing, the sport for misfits, accepted me with open arms.
Over the next ten years, I spent my spare time training in the gym and my weekends traveling around the country for national level competitions. With the support of my family, I traveled to China, Austria, France, and Spain for both youth and adult World Championships.
What do you think was the highlight of your climbing career (so far)?
Oh man, it’s never just one route. It’s a combination of so many great days out with your favorite people. But I would say Odin’s Eye in Norway and Just Do It in Smith Rock brought the most satisfaction because I didn’t know if they were possible (for me).
What are you doing when you are not climbing?
I run an NGO called Southern Africa Education Fund. We help kids in rural Namibia access the education necessary to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Currently, we’re working to build new classrooms in a remote Namibian village. Aside from that, I love to cook and sing along to cheesy pop songs.
Do you have any peculiar eating habits?
I eat everything, except olives. I love sweets and butter. Most people don’t realize that butter belongs on everything. Especially browned butter. Browned butter on steak, mmmm!
What stokes you the most?
The second day on a sport project way over my head with bouldery, technical movement and decent rests, in a beautiful setting with blue skies, chilly temps, and a light breeze, with a few eagles flying overhead. And if I’m being really specific, either my husband or close friends should also be psyched on working the route so we can unlock beta together.
If you could choose a super power, what would it be?
I would choose the super power of being a laid back, easy going human who manages stress well, because that is a quality I just don’t posess.
What was your favorite climbing adventure?
So far, the Flatanger cave in Norway has checked all the aforementioned boxes, and I’ve never been so excited about climbing in my life as I was in that cave. The routes are burly, the stone is immaculate, the rests are mega (although the moves in between them are also mega), and the setting is out of this world. It didn’t hurt that I sent the route I had trained for specifically.
Necessary Evil, February 2018.
Country/City: VRG Arizona
Necessary Evil was a longtime dream, as one of the country’s longest standing sport climbing test pieces. I first tried it in 2015, and returned in 2018 after a two month “non-traditional” training routine to send, and it worked! A dream come true.
Odin’s Eye, September 2017.
Country/City: Flatanger Norway
I chose Odin’s Eye as a goal for my Flatanger trip, knowing that it’s steep angle and thuggy style with kneebars and toe hooks was my complete anti style. I trained specifically for the route, and had the best trip of my life, climbing on some of the best rock in the world in one of the most scenic settings.
Just Do It, May 2014.
Country/City: Smith Rock, Oregon
Just Do It was America’s first 5.14c, and it was also my first 5.14c. Since my name is technically registered as ‘Paige American’ in South Africa (clerical error), climbing Just Do It felt like my destiny. I was fortunate to have devoted partners while working Just Do It, who made all the difference in staying positive and making consistent progress.
© Neely Quinn, Arjan de Kock