Alpine Club launches ‘Women Rise Up’ mountaineering opportunity

Posted by Emma Travers on 04/02/2021

The Alpine Club has opened applications for attendees to join a trip to Zermatt, Switzerland to travel and climb in the footsteps of Lucy Walker and Meta Brevoort who, in 1871, made the first female ascents of a number of iconic European peaks, including the Matterhorn, Weisshorn and the Dents Blanche.

Walker, a British climber from Liverpool, was one of the foremost mountaineers of the 19th century. No lesser figure than Edward Whymper commented that “no candidate for election in the Alpine Club...ever submitted a list of qualifications at all approaching the list of Miss Walker”. Throughout her climbing career, she made the first female ascents of 16 mountains, including the Eiger, and took part in nearly 100 expeditions.

In 1871, she and Brevoort both sought to be the first woman atop the summit of the Matterhorn. While Walker achieved this on the 21st of July that year, Brevoort had no less an impressive season, claiming the first female ascents of the Weisshorn, Bietschhorn, and the Dents Blanche, as well as becoming the first woman to complete the Matterhorn traverse.

English climber Lucy Walker (1834-1916) in 1871. Photo credit: The Alpine Club

The Alpine Club hopes to bring together a diverse group of women to mark this extraordinary year in female mountaineering with the aim of broadening access to mountaineering through inspiration, in the same way that Walker and Brevoort did for women a century and a half ago.  To this end, the Alpine Club is offering two subsidised places to women with the desire to climb in the Alps who may not yet have had the opportunity.

The event will facilitate a group of around 12-14 women with varying levels of alpine experience and from different backgrounds to partner each other on one or more of Walker and Brevoort’s routes. The emphasis will be on sharing, learning, enjoyment and reflecting on the inspiring legacy left to us by these women and considering the one we leave for future generations. 

The proposed dates for the trip are 21 August to 4 September 2021 (subject to the Covid-19 situation).  Applications to join the group are now open via this Google Form.

The deadline for applications is 30th April 2021 and a decision will be made by the end of May. Women from the UK, US and Switzerland are eligible to apply.

Application Form

The Matterhorn. Photo credit: Nicholas Hurndall Smith

Further Details

The Alpine Club is offering two subsidised places to ensure inclusivity. We invite women who harbour a desire to climb in the Alps, but who may not yet have had the opportunity, to share in this experience by giving them financial, technical and moral support.

However, due to the nature of the proposed climbs, some experience of rock, snow and ice climbing is required. Anyone uncertain about whether they possess the necessary experience to apply should contact beckycoles@hotmail.com for guidance.

All accommodation (including use of huts with half board) during the event period, transport while in Zermatt (including use of lifts) and the celebratory dinner will be covered for the subsidised places as well as a year’s free aspirant membership of The Alpine Club. Recipients will be expected to pay for their travel to Zermatt, any personal and rescue insurance and any food or drink consumed outside of the huts.

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