Nineteenth-century women took to the mountains for recreation, adventure, challenge, escape, or spiritual peace. The wealthy climbed with large entourages of porters; the less-well-off struggled with mutinous guides and men who chafed at female leadership. We can barely imagine the hardships mountaineers endured then with their heavy, low-tech equipment and clothing, but women also had to contend with corsets and voluminous skirts, not to mention societal restrictions. The author, a New Hampshire outdoorswoman and journalist, makes vivid use of these women's own words to tell their fascinating stories. Mostly American and British, these women climbed in the Alps, Alaska, South America, and the Himalayas. Sidebars discuss such topics as dress reform and Tschingel, a dog who accompanied Meta Brevoort on many climbs, including the Alps' highest peak, Mont Blanc. An excellent contribution to women's sports history, this book is recommended for all academic and public libraries.
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