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It’s also an art, though a blunt, indelicate one. “The brutality of it, the struggle of it, makes it seem like there’s no art to it, there’s no craft to it,” says offwidth master Bob Scarpelli, who also appears in the film. “But if you think that, you’re on the wrong path.” There is often an art to the routes themselves, lines traced by breaks in the rock. Pictures of Pack have proliferated in climbing media the past few years, and there is no avoiding the beauty of the climbs. Beyond that visual beauty is the beautiful suffering of offwidth climbing. “You can get beat down by some of these things, just not believing you can get up them,” Pack says. “And you can literally be beat down and broken to pieces.” In 2012, Pack took a long fall while attempting a first ascent of The Forever War in Vedauwoo that left her with damaged kidneys. Still, her description of the climb makes it sound like something akin to fun. “The Forever War is more difficult for me physically and technically than any other route in Vedauwoo, thus the 5.13c/d

rating,” she says. “I gave it a ‘slash’ grade because Pat and I believe it is more difficult for a larger person. I gave it an “R” rating because if you fall at the crux, a head- or back-first impact into a flake is almost guaranteed. My favorite part of the route is the kick-over into the inversion, which requires a head smear off the flake—pretty damn offwidth!” Pack remains committed to putting up hard routes for as long as she can, but she’s also found herself in a new place mentally as she haunts the desert’s landscapes. She’s found, at 39, a space in which she no longer has to be something new, allowing herself to settle more deeply into what she is: a woman in love with immersion in landscape, a woman who practices her passion at the highest level. “I think what’s happening now for me is that I’m in love with the place, sort of like my dad was in love with his place in the physical world,” she says. “I’m content to be there, to see what there is to be seen, to see it with people I love, to do climbs that are fun and beautiful. That’s enough, you know what I mean?”

Montana Headwall Page 23 Summer 2014

Montana Headwall  

Outdoor Adventure Under the Big Sky

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