Pamela Shanti Pack

  • on Facebook
  • on Twitter
  • on Instagram

Pamela Shanti Pack is undoubtedly one the most accomplished offwidth first ascentionists in the world. Her mastery of chicken-winging, inverting, stacking, squeeze-chimneying and butterflying, alongside her determination and willingness to suffer, has seen her complete well over 100 first ascents and first-female ascents of offwidth cracks up to 5.13+.

Pamela, who was born and raised in Vermont, was predominantly an ice climber until she developed compartment syndrome in her hands in 2006 and became unable to grip without pain. Determined to keep climbing, Pamela looked for a climbing style that didn’t involve intensive gripping and found offwidths (that is, cracks bigger than standard hand or fist jams but smaller than a full chimney).

Pamela mastered the physically demanding style and tricky offwidth techniques quickly and has since cnotinually sought out North America’s most challenging inverted and vertical offwidth climbs because they "test her physical and psychological limits". In 2009 she received Climbing magazine’s prestigious Golden Piton Award for establishing Gabriel on Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park, which was the first 5.13+ offwidth in the world and remains a global test-piece. 

Other highly commendable highlights include the first female ascent of Lucille (5.12d/5.13a, onsight) and first ascents of Spatial Relations (5.13a) and The Forever War (5.13a R) in Veedauwoo; the first ascents of American Horror Story (5.13a R/X) and The Soul Assassin (5.12+ R) in Indian Creek, and Malice in Wonderland (5.12a R/X) outside Moab. 

Pamela on the first ascent of Stella, a 50-metre pitch in Indian Creek, Utah © Van Life Project
Pamela on the first ascent of Stella, a 50-metre pitch in Indian Creek, Utah © Van Life Project
Pamela on Deep Fried Fat in the Utah desert © Kent Sullivan
Pamela on Deep Fried Fat in the Utah desert © Kent Sullivan

More recently, in 2016, she established Am I Evil?, a four-pitch 5.13- in the Moab desert:

"I admit that I do love putting up routes that I know no one wants to climb!" says Pamela in the La Sportiva film Finding Wide.

Two years later, in 2017, she put up Kill Artist, a five-pitch offwidth in Moab's Longs Canyon, which rolled in at 5.13+ and took Pamela five years to complete—not least because of the unnerving detached blocks on the second pitch.

To share her love of offwidth climbing, Pamela runs regular clinics in the Art of Offwidth for those looking to delve into the intimidating world of off-size cracks, and these have proven to be extremely successful. 

Apart from being a professional climber, Pamela is a writer, Pilates instructor and hydrographic surveyor with a degree from Yale University and a Professional Certification in GIS and Remote Sensing. She is based in Missoula, Montana, and—somewhat unsurprisingly given her chosen climbing style—her favourite DMM cams are the #7 and #8 Dragons.