British Women Climb: the new exhibition from MHT

Posted by Peter Burnside on 11/10/2017
Pioneer Gwen Moffat in the mountains near Tryfan. Photo: D Thomas / Climbers' Club
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British Women Climb, the Mountain Heritage Trust’s new exhibition, opened at the Keswick Museum last month. Available to view until 16 September 2018, the installation celebrates the significant achievements of female climbers from the past 200 years.

Showing the vibrant history of female climbing, this project is the product of bringing together many significant archives held by the Alpine Club, the Fell and Rock Climbing Club and the Pinnacle Club. The exhibition includes displays of equipment from some of the first ascents through to the modern age, including pieces used by the likes of Mabel Barker on her Lake District ascents, historical outdoor clothing from Rohan, and items from world bouldering champion Shauna Coxsey.

The development of women’s climbing is varied and impressive. The first female ascent of Mont Blanc in 1808 was soon followed with the Eiger and Matterhorn in 1864 and 1871. By the early 20th century Elizabeth Le Blond, Emily ‘Pat’ Kelly and Eleanor Winthrop Young were founding the first all-female climbing clubs. Whilst Alice ‘Jammy’ Cross climbed Central Buttress (E1) and hard grade V winter routes on Bowfell Buttress and Steep Gill in the late 1930s.

Highlighting some of the most iconic characters and moments in the development of female climbing, the exhibition shows the progression that has seen women not just face up to the harshness of mountainous environments, but also to hostile attitudes from a historically male dominated sport. Throughout climbing’s history, women have sort to challenge such attitudes, paving the way for the likes of Shauna Coxsey and Hazel Findlay who are currently pioneering at the very top of the sport.

The exhibition is open at the Keswick Museum until the 16 September 2018.

The Mountain Heritage Trust

The Mountain Heritage Trust (MHT) was founded in 2000 to record and preserve Britain’s rich heritage in the fields of climbing, mountaineering and mountain culture. The Trust encourages access to its collections, provides curatorial support, sources artefacts for new exhibits and sets up gallery exhibitions.

Find out more about the organisation on the MHT website. And keep up-to-date by following  @mtn_heritage on Twitter and @MountainHeritageTrust on Facebook.


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