Angie Payne - Artist, Athlete, Bad-Ass


Angie Payne is one of America's premier boulderers. in 2010, she completed the Automator v13, in Rocky Mountain National Park, becoming the first woman to push the grade to this level. While she has been on the national and international climbing competition circuit, her talents are multi-fold and while she continues to push the envelope as an athlete, she is also applying the lessons and talent she has learned from bouldering to photography. Check out her instagram feed for what I mean : notice the patience, detail, focus, and perspective. It is clear her talents are broad.

Describe your typical day?

Right now, my typical day is something like: wake up early to shoot photos, come home and edit photos, respond to emails, watch online photography tutorials, go to the climbing gym or climb outside if weather and time allow, go for a run, eat, sleep, repeat! Also there's a lot of time spent hanging out with my cat in there as well...

Do set long term projects or do you focus on short term projects?

I'm better at focusing on short term projects. I go for the "one bite at a time" approach to bigger goals. I tend to operate that way in climbing and life in general, focusing on one boulder problem at a time and one task at a time. I'm not always the best at seeing the 30,000 foot view of my life and goals, so I have to force myself to step back and see how all of these boulders and tasks are fitting into the bigger picture sometimes.

What is a non-negotiable item that travels with you or is part of your climbing routine?

Aside from basic climbing equipment, I'd have to say some type of camera. Be it my phone or my nicer camera, I don't like to go out climbing without a photo-capturing device. You just never know when you might find a photo waiting to be taken...

Explain bouldering as an endeavor and your passion as if I am five years old?

I spend lots and lots of time trying to get to the top of rocks that are just a little taller than I am. Most of the time I could just walk up the back of the small rock and get to the top, but I really love trying the harder way again and again and again and again.....

Dinner tonight: Thai or Vietnamese?


What outlet compliments your love of climbing and the outdoors?

Photography, for sure. Over the course of many years spent outside throwing myself at boulder problems, I have developed a love of taking photos. It started as a way to force myself to rest between attempts on a project, and morphed into something that I looked forward to going outside for as much as climbing. Now I'm devoting more and more time and energy to becoming a better photographer so that I can capture and share the beauty of these incredible places that climbing takes me.

What is your role as an athlete moving forward into 2017 and 2018?

I'm stepping further away from competition climbing each year, and I expect that trend to continue in 2017 and 2018. I see my role shifting more towards telling stories about the amazing places that climbing takes me, hopefully using photography as a tool for that storytelling. I'd like to prioritize my role as an ambassador who spreads the word about protecting the outdoor places we climb in and play in, and focus less on the competitive aspect of climbing.

Two bucket list experiences? One climbing. One non-climbing.

Climbing -- I'd like to climb in New Zealand
Non-climbing -- I'd like to see polar bears in their natural habitat

Learn more about Angie and check out her incredible photography at: Angie Payne