Eddie Bauer Rock Athlete
Eddie Bauer Rock Athlete
PAIGE CLAASSEN IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST ACCOMPLISHED FEMALE SPORT CLIMBERS, WITH FINGERS OF STEEL AND ASCENTS UP TO 5.14D
Paige Claassen holds an impressive list of sport climbing accomplishments around the world, from first ascents in South Africa to 5.14d ascents in the United States. She typically chooses iconic lines that represent benchmarks in the sport and are rarely repeated due to their difficulty and the level of technical skill they require. Routes like Just Do It (5.14c) in Smith Rock, Oregon and Necessary Evil (5.14c) in Arizona’s Virgin River Gorge have defined the sport’s history as test piece achievements. While she prefers these “old-school classics”, Paige has also proven herself on a new wave of recently developed routes, such as Shadowboxing (5.14d) in Rifle, Colorado and Algorithm (5.14c/d) in The Fins, Idaho. Paige prides herself on choosing a diverse range of objectives, from the steep and physically demanding Odin’s Eye (5.14c) in Flatanger Norway, to the delicate Italian slab Art Attack (5.14b), of which she made the second ascent.
While Paige describes herself as “not necessarily strong, physically”, she relies on 20 years of experience, split between competitions and outdoor rock climbs, to guide her objectives. At 9 years old, Paige began competing in national competitions, quickly rising in the ranks to compete in youth world cups and, later, on the adult world cup circuit. She recalls a fierce sense of competitiveness and drive to progress, even from a young age. Paige now applies that singular dedication to compete against herself on rock faces around the world.
What sets Paige apart is not only her proud list of accomplishments, but also the methodical strategy she applies to her goals. “My training is very calculated,” Paige says, “I’m either giving 110% or I’m resting my body, otherwise I find I get burnt out and injured.” She hones in on specific climbing objectives with that same laser focus, strategically choosing lines that cater sometimes to her strengths and other times to her weaknesses, while always carefully considering how to prepare. In 2017, Paige set the goal of climbing the steep cave route Odin’s Eye, in Flatanger, Norway. Paige recalls, “I knew this route wasn’t my style. It required a lot of muscle power and roof techniques that I’d never mastered. So I started weight training, eating a lot of protein, and practicing those roof techniques on repeat.” It worked. Paige sent the route and claims the attention to a more a physical style of climbing re-directed her strengths, opening up a new realm of future goals.
Paige puts her heart into all she does. In 2018 and 2019, she spearheaded an effort to expand an elementary school in Namibia, adding 8 classrooms and a playground to the rural school. You’re more likely to hear her bragging about her friend’s achievements than her own. She insists one of her greatest strengths is bringing great snacks to the crag – french toast and homemade pasta, to name a few. In 2016, Paige married Arjan de Kock, a South African climber who she says is her favorite climbing partner and biggest fan.
• CLIMBED OVER 30 ROUTES GRADED 5.14
- SHADOWBOXING (5.14D), 2019, RIFLE, COLORADO
- ALGORITHM (5.14C/D), 2018, THE FINS, IDAHO
- NECESSARY EVIL (5.14C), 2018, VIRGIN RIVER GORGE, ARIZONA
- MISSION IMPOSSIBLE (5.14C), 2018, CLEAR CREEK, COLORADO
- ODIN’S EYE (5.14C), 2017, FLATANGER, NORWAY
- JUST DO IT (5.14C), 2014, SMITH ROCK, OREGON
• BUILT 8 CLASSROOMS AND A PLAYGROUND FOR A RURAL SCHOOL IN NAMIBIA