From the early records of the club, it's clear that these women had an unquenchable spirit of exploration and adventure. Far from taking any easy or tourist routes, these women found original, untested and untried routes up almost everything.
This was the reason why they formed their own club, so that they could explore and pioneer routes and develop their climbing skills to the full.
In the club's 21st anniversary journal, founder Jane Inglis Clark wrote:
'Mountaineering for women is the very best of sports, for here there is no rivalry, no seeking applause, no possibility of heart-sickening sense of defeat. We leave our differences behind, and when climbing there is time to feel, to think, to be oneself. Mountaineering for women seems to have come as part of their emancipation, especially from the old conventional restraints. Indeed it is almost impossible for the girl of today to realise the great difficulties and prejudices that had to be overcome in those early days of climbing for women.'
View March 1929 LSCC journal page by page: The journal is reproduced by kind permission of the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club.
Achievements of some prominent members
- 1908: Jane Inglis Clark — first female ascent of Crowberry Ridge Buchaille Etive Mhor
- 1930s: Pat Bell was the first woman to carry out a solo traverse of all the 4,000 foot tops in the Cairngorms, a distance of 19 miles with 6,869 feet climbed
- 1940s: Esme Speakman put up several first ascents of routes in Glencoe, e.g. January Jigsaw, classic severe on Buchaille Etive Mhor
- 1950s: Annie Hirst was the first woman to complete all the Munros
- 1954: Betty Stark, Cynthia Marr, Evelyn Camrass and Elma Wrench organised one of the first mountaineering expeditions to Arctic Norway
- 1955: Monica Jackson, Betty Stark and Evelyn Camrass formed the first all-women's expedition to the Himalaya, surveyed the Phurbal Chyachumbu glacier and made the first ascent of the 22,000ft Gyalgen Peak
- 1964: Betty Stark and Evelyn Camrass were the only women on the Scottish Peruvian expedition on 1964, with five first ascents of peaks, including Sirijuani at 18, 400ft
- 1964: Anne Littlejohn was the first woman to complete all the Munroes and Corbetts
- 1968: Women's expedition to Greenland
- 1970: Helen Steven and others on another ladies expedition to Greenland — first women's ascents of Berserker Spire and Adverikie, in Alpefjord
- 1982: Kathy Murgatroyd became the first woman to climb all the Munros in one expedition using only her feet and a bicycle, apart from the ferries to the islands (1 May to 11 September)
- 1995: LSCC member Kate Charles was the first woman to overwinter with British Antarctic Survey
- 2010: Kate Ross became the first British woman to climb all the 4,000 metre mountains in the Alps.
Believing these things to be possible is half the battle for women climbers. Once you know what has been achieved, it is easier to imagine yourself following in their footsteps.
LSCC jubilee film by Ben Humble