Thursday, 1 April 2010

Women climbers

The Spring 2010 edition of Trail magazine includes an interesting feature on 200 years of female mountaineers. Starting with Marie Paradis climbing Mont Blanc in 1808, Lizzie le Blond's exploits to Tori James becoming the youngest British female to summit Everest. Central to the article is the role the Pinnacle Club, Britain's first women's rock-climbing club, which started in 1921, has played in encouraging female particpiants of the sport.

As mentioned in The
Guardian Book of Mountains, Emily 'Pat' Kelly and Eleanor Winthrop Young announced the formation of the club on the letters page of the paper on April 2 1921. The paper also published a supportive leading article. The club was an instant success and is still going strong.

The charismatic Pat Kelly, died on the Tryfan, North Wales, the following year. However, her husband, the great Lakeland climber HM Kelly, recalled "It was remarkable to have the backing of a paper of such prestige, and it was gratifying to have sympathetic approval of male climbers". Eleanor Winthrop Young was the wife of the mountaineer, Geoffrey Winthrop Young.


  1. Great post!

    May I put in a word for Annie Smith Peck, a very daring woman mountain-climber of this era (and an alumna of the college where I teach) -- see my page here for a brief outline of her remarkable career.

  2. Thanks for the lead. New posting aboutPeck here

  3. Thank you for this interesting article "Pat" Kelly was my great Aunt and I'm always interested in finding more links to information about her!