I have been very fortunate where my climbing journey has taken me and along the way all of the amazing people I have crossed paths with! I do have something that I love, when I find climbers that are ‘elite’ in their ability, have earned mad respect for their accomplishments, yet are the most humble individuals you will ever know.
Well Angie Payne is one of those people. Super sweet, super charming and super funny. She does not brag about how bad ass she climbs, but rather she talks up how much she loves climbing, how much she loves the experience and how much she is inspired by others who are passionate about climbing. She mentioned to me in the interview how she does not remember a life without climbing and wants to grow old being a climber. She is easy going, yet stubborn enough to work so hard at a climbing project until she achieves it. A perfect fit for my blog, the Power of Payne, a journey we can all enjoy reading about, learn from, and be inspired by!
So an interview with the sweetest Angie went something like this…..
Tell us about Angie. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and really cannot remember a life without climbing! Growing up I played in sports in search of finding my niche, because where I grew up, everyone was into sports. I even played football when I was 8 years old and was the first girl in that league. My parents said I was stubborn, which went well when I started climbing at 11 years old.
About your climbing journey, how did climbing find you? I played basketball and was at a game and my dad and brother were going to try out rock climbing. My brother had been to the climbing gym previously and wanted to take my dad, so of course I was curious and wanted to go too. We went together and I fell in love with climbing. In fact, I found my niche, the sport I was really good at and enjoyed. I immediately started taking lessons and surpassed my brother in ability, so eventually he started doing other things. At that point, my dad became my climbing partner and even drove me to Dayton 1 hour away once per week so I could train. Eventually, my dad built me a wall in my garage with super cool gymnastics pads. I remember growing up that my friend’s perception of climbing was “playing on the fun gymnastics mats”! The training paid off because I started competing and did pretty well. All my friends had their sports, and I finally had one too, and even though they did not understand climbing, I trained and competed just like they did.
What do you love most about climbing? Climbing is very rewarding yet so humbling. Just when you think you get ahead, you are always faced with a new challenge. You work hard, master a problem or climb, only to turn around and find another challenge. It’s balancing frustration and reward. The time you achieve a red point is usually so much shorter than the time you take to work on it that you realize the real reward was all that time, energy and passion you put into getting there. That sense of accomplishment mixed in with the challenges and frustration that comes with climbing is what attracts me to the sport.
What are some of your proudest climbing moments? I have a number of proud moments in my 15+ years of climbing. One is when I sent a problem I projected over 3 years (3 seasons) at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). That truly was a proud moment! Another proud moment was overcoming a weakness…..the dyno! I had hired someone to help me improve this skill and afterwards I happened to go to a world level competition. I made it to finals, and although it was not my best competition placement in the end, I was proud of myself. Why? Because there was a boulder problem that had a huge dyno. As I approached the move, I missed, then again, then people started chanting “USA, USA, USA….”, then I stuck it. Such a proud moment to perform and more than anything, prove to myself I could overcome a weakness. Lastly, I was really proud of myself when I went to Greenland. I was hesitant to go, but I decided to step completely out of my comfort zone and survived!
What is your most favorite place to climb? Well, I have a sentimental favorite and a favorite. The most sentimental place that will always have a spot in my heart is Horse Pens because it is one of the first places I ever bouldered outside. Plus I love sandstone. So that is my special place! My favorite as a seasoned climber is hands down RMNP. It has amazing views, lots of amazing problems and is amazingly close to my house, which makes it a great place for me to train.
Where do you dream your climbing journey takes you someday? Two words: South Africa, I will get there someday, the land of Sandstone!
Climbing – Olympic Sport or Not, Your Thoughts? So my climbing life is ½ in the competition side of things and ½ in the outdoors, which are two completely different scenes. It would be interesting to see how the world would see climbing and seeing another avenue for young athletes. However, I would be concerned what pressure it would put on young kids training for the Olympics and getting burned out. If it happened sooner, I would have loved to compete in the Olympics as a climber. Post interview note: Climbing was not pushed forward as an Olympic Sport, maybe next time!
Who inspires you? I seriously have a few inspirations. In general, I truly am inspired to see people who have a passion to climb and juggle families, work, and many other things in life. As I get older and continue to mature in my climbing, I want to be that person too. I want that passion to climb and make it always a part of my life. Growing up, I was inspired by Lynn Hill. I even had a poster of her on my door. She is small yet so powerful and reminded me that size isn’t everything as a climber. As a teen athlete, when I was really progressing, Lisa Rands came into the scene, a female who climbed hard and did many first female ascents. I was inspired by her will to achieve things women were not doing in her day. Lastly, I traveled with Mike Libecki to Greenland and was really inspired by his energy, passion, and sense of adventure for climbing. Here I am a boulderer with a seasoned climber who shares the same passion, yet climbs a totally different style than I do. I was really motivated by Mike.
Time to let out the secret work out tip, any work out tips for us? Climbing A LOT is my not so secret secret! Honestly, I have no serious training plans. I just train for climbing by climbing. Other than that, in my approach I try to diversify everything I climb. Different styles, different rock and even different gyms to make a well rounded climber.
Part of the journey is that experience along the way. What are your words of wisdom to us? Find a way to make climbing your own—find your niche, your identity. Keep that passion alive in your climbing and make sure to challenge yourself, and ALWAYS try hard!
I want to thank Angie for taking the time out of her day for the interview. Take the time to check out her awesome sponsors and Angie’s different social media sites and like their Facebook pages if you have not already. I truly wish Angie the best endeavors in her journey and hope she continues to climb beautifully and inspire us all!
Angie Payne’s Blog, Facebook Page and Instagram