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‘The women at the gate’
Sarah Lonsdale

, with cotton bandanas around their heads, the women slung knapsacks over their backs and walked 20 kilometres to the village of Saas Fee from where they would complete a remarkable feat: the first Alpine cordée feminine , up the Mittaghorn, and a traverse of the Egginergrat ridge: rope climbing above 3,000 metres, including a difficult 100-metre ‘chimney’, bodies suspended over the abyss, without a male guide or escort. ‘Manless climbing’, as it was then known, was a highly subversive act and expression of modernity, encompassing subterfuge, transvestism, gender

in Rebel women between the wars