In 2017, Anna Pfaff, alpinist, expedition climber, and nurse who has climbed in some of the most remote alpine terrain in the world, led an all-star crew of female climbers on a month-long expedition to a remote valley deep in India’s Zanskar Range. Despite some unfavorable conditions, Anna and the team managed three new routes, including a first ascent of Peak 5400, which included 400 meters of unknown terrain up to 5.10. It marked her third trip to the region of Kashmir she finds challenging and fascinating.
Anna’s happiest when she’s in remote parts of the largest ranges in the world, setting new routes, climbing first ascents and learning about the people and culture surrounding the peaks she’s climbing. She’s completed multiple expeditions to the Karakorum Range of Pakistan, Tibetan Himalaya, Nepal and India, the Tian Shan of Kyrgyzstan, the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy in Colombia, and the Peruvian, Bolivian and Patagonian Andes. In 2017, she was one of two women on TNF’s Expedition Antarctica and in 2018, Anna, along with TNF teammate Andres Marin and David Allfrey, climbed The Eternal Flame on The Nameless Tower and The American Route on the Great Trango Tower.
Rural northeast Ohio isn’t a breeding ground for alpinists, but that’s exactly where one of the world’s premiere alpinists was born and raised. When Anna Pfaff, 37, moved to Colorado to finish her nursing degree at the University of Colorado Denver, she joined her classmates for a trip to Indian Creek, Utah where she instantly was hooked on climbing. After graduating in 2003, Pfaff relocated to Boulder where she honed her skills on multi-pitch routes in Eldorado Canyon and the cracks of Indian Creek. The following year, she made the pilgrimage to Yosemite and within a year had climbed El Capitan. When she headed south one winter and first climbed in the Fitz Roy range, she was hooked on alpine climbing.
Anna has funded most of her expeditions working as a trauma nurse. She spent a decade working as a travel ER nurse, choosing posts near challenging crags, and is now based in Truckee, California, where the registered nurse works shifts when she’s not on the road. In both her nursing and climbing lifestyles, she thrives on organized chaos in unexpected situations. One thing that’s not disorderly are Anna’s workouts. During training blocks she spends six days a week running, climbing or in the gym. Anna’s coach, who calls her a “training superwoman” guesses she’s only missed two workouts in two and a half years, and in both instances, she’d just pulled a 12-hour nursing shift in the ER.