Women On Adventure is a blog by K.L. Webber exploring our rich shared history of women's adventure writing. This curated collection of quotations showcases the opinions and experiences of influential female travellers in their own words.

WOA Image - "This climb was something totally different."

WOA Image - "This climb was something totally different."


Rejoice with me, for I have done my peak! the biggest climb I have ever had or ever shall have, for there isn't one to beat it in the Alps (unless it’s the traverse of the Meije, which they haven't done yet, but which Fred doesn't believe is as good). Which you mayn't know it, but the expedition I’m referring to is the traverse of the Grépon. On the 3rd, Fred, Mr. Hastings and I tracked off from here, and camped at the same place on the Nantillons Glacier where Fred and I camped before, and where we were driven back by bad weather (n.b. I thought that night that three people in one tent 6 ft. x 4 ft. was a tightish fit; but await the sequel). Next morning Mr. Slingsby, Dr. Collie and Mr. Brodie joined us at the camp, having walked from Montenvers about 4.30 A.M., and soon afterwards Fred and I started so as to get the step-cutting done ready for the others when they had breakfasted. After about 1 ½ hours’ going the others caught us up, they only having to walk in our steps, and Mr. Slingsby tired on to our rope, as we three whereto go up the Grépon by the couloir and Fred’s crack, and the other three were to cross the glacier to C.P. (a rock so called, I don't know why) and work up by Morse and Wicks' route--their route was easier than ours provided they could surmount one very difficult obstacle, which Morse and Wicks had circumvented by rope-throwing. The two parties were to meet on top, and we were each to descend by the route opposite to that by which we had come. […]

Well, it's no good trying to describe the climb; I have often felt, on the climbs, that if I had sufficient knowledge and pluck I could have done it by myself, but this climb was something totally different. It was more difficult than I could ever imagine—a succession of problems, each one of which was a ripping good climb in itself—you will understand well enough that in a climb of this kind there is not the slightest danger for any one except the leading man, the others merely follow in absolute safety with the rope, but certainly with vast exertion.

Fred is magnificent, he has such absolute confidence, I never once had the faintest squirm about him even when he was in the most hideous places, where the least slip would have been certain death, and there were very many such situations. It is really a huge score for him to have taken me (and the camera) on such an expedition. I took six photographs, and have developed two, one of which is a failure. Well, we got to the top but saw no signs of the other party—we jodelled, yelled and howled but heard no reply and Mr. Slingsby began to be seriously alarmed for their safety.


Chamonix, France, 1893


Source: Bristow, Lily (1942). An Easy Day for a Lady. Alpine Journal, Volume LIII(No.265), pp.370-pp.374

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