Write 52
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Write 52

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Peaks and Petticoats


There’s something that draws you to them. An allure. The scale, their magnificence … something they say which speaks of deep time; a time beyond human comprehension … above and beyond the scope of human lives. Striking geology that has been millions of years in the making.


The landscapes of legend and literary lyricism.

As attitudes changed to mountains that were long regarded as ugly, the high hills became the playgrounds of gentlemen climbers. Satirical magazine ‘Punch’ once speculated that the route to Mont Blanc would be carpeted, so well-trod was it in the Victorian era of Alpine mountaineering.

But what of women climbers.

This week, on #InternationalWomensDay author Anna Fleming tackled just this subject with a celebratory tweet that caught our eye:

The list that unrolls is one of pioneers, defying odds that were stacked higher than the peaks they scaled. From Jane Inglis Clark — part of six ‘first climbs’ of Ben Nevis — established a Ladies Scottish Climbing Club in 1808 because women were barred from the Scottish Mountaineering Club, irrespective of their achievements; to climber Gwen Moffat who, in 1953, became the first female Mountain Guide in Britain.

I loved the feel of the rock under my hands, rough and satisfying; I loved using the strength of my body (Gwen Moffat)

What unfurls are the suggestions by others … worthy additions to this list of women of the mountains (a list that Anna Fleming belongs on herself, of course). It is a celebration of women who broke through barriers that should never have been there in the first place. A glorious testament to defying expectations; an inspiration to others … the perfect illustration that in all arenas equality of opportunity is a must and the only people who answer the question of ‘who does what’ should be the practitioners themselves.

If the glass ceilings were made of ice, these were the women whose makeshift crampons scratched the history of female climbers upon them (Feasts + Fables)

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Anna Fleming is the author of ‘Time on Rock

A rock-climber’s eye view of the natural world, tracing a geological and personal journey across the British Isles over ten years”.




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