Smith Rock 5.14a for Paige Claassen

posted by dpm on 03/25/2013


Paige Claassen has sent the famous To Bolt or Not To Be at Smith Rock, Oregon. The historic, 35-meter vertical face climb became the first 5.14a in America when Frenchman J.B. Tribout sent it in 1986. It was the first 5.14 climbed by an American when Scott Franklin sent it the following year. It saw its first female ascent when Lynn Hill climbed it in 1998. The same year, Beth Rodden claimed the 2nd female ascent and became the youngest female to climb the grade (at the time) at the age of 18. Paige's ascent is the third female ascent in the route's 27-year history.  

Paige is no stranger to Smith Rock with hard ticks under her belt like White Wedding (5.13d) and a flash ascent of Darkness at Noon (5.13a). She's also familiar with hard face-climbing having done the first, and only, female ascent of The Grand Ol' Opry (5.14b) at the Monastery near her home in Colorado.  For this trip to Smith, she warmed up with an ascent of Rude Boys (5.13c) before attacking her main objective, To Bolt or Not To Be.

Paige Claassen on a working burn of Rude Boys (5.13c) back in 2010. Photo: Andy Mann/Paige's Blog

Predictably, Paige sent the route fairly quickly in less than ten tries according to local Ryan Palo who said, "I first saw Paige on To Bolt on her 4th go. She was leading it which is slightly unusual considering how complex that route is. You could tell she didn't know most of the moves and was figuring it out on the go. She rarely reeled on any of the moves and only fell once or twice. I was really impressed watching her navigate in the upper section. It was practically onsight and she read it perfectly, a feat that's hard to achieve when you factor in how close you have to stay to the wall."

Palo went on to describe her send go as, "poised and fluid the whole time." Her ascent was so solid, in fact, that Palo sent us the picture below before she even clipped the chains. It was in the bag. Well done Paige! 

Paige nears the top of To Bolt or Not to Be. Photo: Ryan Palo

Pulling onto the arete to clip the chains. Photo: Ryan Palo