Sunday, August 29, 2010

First Female Ascent

This article is from the December, 1952 magazine Applachia. It’s about the first all-female ascent of Devils Tower by Jan Conn and some of her friends.

I was feeling particularly smug because I was the first woman to climb the Tower without the aid of the old ladder, which had long been out of use.”


Things have changed since the 50s:

"How does it work? Do you climb up to a ledge somewhere and then haul her up?" Herb's careful explanation was lost to me as I fumed inwardly at the stupidity of the human race and the quirk of fate which made me look like a pudgy school girl instead of a tall, strapping Amazon.

At that moment I took a solemn vow that someday I would climb Devils Tower with someone who couldn't possibly "haul me up," someone who wouldn't get all the credit for my straining muscles. If I could find another girl.

Girl rock-climbers who lead and are willing to assume equal responsibility for an ascent are fairly rare, but the climbing group in Washington, D. C., has turned out more than its share. They have developed female climbers who don't seem to have heard that men are physically superior to women. They not only do their share of back-packing in the high mountains, but hold their own on the severe practice climbs along the Potomac River.

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