Paige Claassen: Art Attack in Val di Mello and the Lead Now Tour
Interview with Paige Claassen and video after her repeat of Art Attack 8c in Val di Mello, Val Masino, Italy.
On 1 October the American climber Paige Claasen redpointed, on Sasso Remeno in Val di Mello, the sport climb Art Attack a difficult slab freed in 2004 by local climber Simone Pedeferri and graded 8c. A vertical route, technical, 30 metres of tiny slabs that require so much precision that until the 23-year-old from Boulder, Colorado set to work, it had never been repeated. Claasen immediately fell in love with the line and worked it for 20 days prior to her successful redpoint, that came about a mere 2 days before leaving Italy and heading off to Japan the next stage of the Lead Now Tour. This 12-month climbing journey serves a dual purpose: to climb to the max and use climbing as a vehicle to raises money to enable women and children in need.
Page, tell us briefly about Art Attack, how come this route?
Art Attack is 30 meters in height, perhaps 2, 3° off vertical. It captured my attention because it's very rare to find slabs of this difficult. Typically, slabs are either impossible or of either grade. I love technical climbing and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to attempt such a unique climb.
You stayed in Italy for a month. What can you say about your Italian experience?
My experience in Italy was of course very nice. Italy is a beautiful country with fantastic food and many great people. I have to say though that the weather was very challenging because it was unusually hot and humid. This made projecting hard routes, particularly the slab, very difficult. Apart from the weather though, I really loved Italy. I visited the CAMP and La Sportiva factories, which was a very special experience to learn about the history of the gear I use. I'm currently working on developing a new ultra light women's harness for CAMP, so I got to work with the R&D team on that project. I also stayed in an alpeggio and cooked polenta with a special wooden spoon, drank grappa, ate pizzoccheri, and immersed myself as much as possible into Italian mountain life as much as I could. It was all a wonderful experience!
After Italy there's Japan, then China, India, Turkey... How did the Lead Now Tour come about and what's its aim?
The Lead Now tour is a project I designed with film producer Jon Glassberg, who owns Louder Than 11. Our goal is to use rock climbing as a way to learn about other cultures around the world and share our experiences with others, while attempting challenging rock climbs to raise awareness and money for non profit organizations. By traveling to very unique locations around the world, we hope to release inspiring content that is also very informational and helps support a good cause. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for 12 different non profit organizations, so $120,000 in total.
So how have things gone
Very well so far! We've raised nearly $10,000 but would like to see that number continue to increase, so that we can support women and children around the world in need. I've completed 2 out of 3 climbing objectives so far (in South Africa I made the first ascent of Digital Warfare (8b+) and the first female ascent of Rodan (8b+); in Russia I wasn't able to complete Catharsis (8c+); in Italy I completed Art Attack (8c). The more people who learn about our tour and share the word about our fundraising efforts and donate, the more successful our tour will be!