lucy smith & pauline ranken
year of birth: 1836
main discipline: traditional
lucy smith and pauline ranken climbing the salisbury crags, edinburgh, dressed in ankle-length skirts, hats, blouses and elegant shoes, 1908. the only protection they had was a piece of rope tied around their waists, without helmets or harnesses, spikes, or other modern safety equipment, as it was not available at the time.
They formed their own club, the Scottish Climbing Club, founded in 1908, after being banned from joining the all-male Scottish Mountaineering Club. it now has over 120 members (and counting) and is the oldest active climbing club exclusively for women. The club has sent numerous expeditions abroad and made the first all-female climb of a major Himalayan peak.
main discipline: mountaineering
year of birth: 1886
Although she is technically a mountaineer, her inclusion is of the utmost importance. bell was not only one of the most impressive mountaineers in the world, but also an extraordinarily skilled person in various other fields. She was a particularly brilliant scholar in her time at Oxford University, a diplomat focusing on the Middle East, an accomplished archaeologist as well as a linguist. Her hiking adventures, small as they were compared to her academic achievements, were formidable. bell spent 10 years traveling the world at a time when women were often restricted to the confines of their homes, and she was a noted alpine mountaineer. She was one of the first people to tackle mountains in the Engelhorner Range, including Gertrudespite, named in her honor.
after getting caught in a treacherous blizzard in 1902, bell’s passion for hiking was undaunted and she reached the top of the matterhorn two years later. If you are interested in learning more about this fascinating explorer, there is also a wonderful movie about Bell with Nicole Kidman as the queen of the desert. 😊
main discipline: mountaineering
year of birth: 1933
again, although technically I’m a mountaineer, I see that I mention it as one of my favorites. Hancock is not primarily known for her mountaineering prowess, but for her successful career as an actress on stage and television. When offered the role of the title character in “Edie,” a film about a woman who climbs the mighty Mount Suilven at an age when most people move to retirement villages, Hancock was wary at first. To properly portray the character of Ella, Ella Hancock strove to do just that, becoming the oldest person to reach the top of the mountain at 83 years old. In addition to her achievements as an actress and trekking, Hancock has also written three best-sellers. As a dr who fan, I personally recognize her from the 7th doctor series with sylvester mccoy in the episode “the happiness patrol” where she played the head spoiler of the happiness patrol, with the iconic villain kandyman.
main discipline: only & great wall (sport)
year of birth: 1961
hill was a gymnast at a young age, nearly breaking a world weightlifting record and running in competitions. She began climbing at a young age, showing a natural aptitude for the activity and became part of the climbing community.
hill was a pioneer of free climbing during the 1980s and 1990s. he began climbing at the age of 14 and soon set world records in an era when female climbers were catching up with their male counterparts.
hill is known for completing the first free ascent (of both sexes) of the sheer nose rock wall in el capitan, yosemite in 4 days in 1993 and repeating the achievement the following year in less than 24 hours.
This achievement was ahead of its time in rock climbing history and brought international attention to the sport. she has been described as one of the best climbers in the world and one of the best climbers of all time and has headlined many climbing festivals on various occasions.
main discipline: traditional, solo & great wall (sport)
year of birth: 1989
findlay has established herself as a traditional climber and big freewaller, and has been named britain’s best mountaineer. She became the first British female climber to successfully climb a grade E9 route and the first to climb a grade 8C/5.14B route. she was the first british woman to free climb el capitan, she has done it four times on four different routes. she made the first female ascent of the golden gate in 2011, the first female ascent of the pre-muir wall in 2012 and a freerider ascent in just three days in 2013. in 2017 she free climbed the salathé wall. climbing magazine awarded her their golden piton award for trad climbing in 2013. i think she is a well deserved admiration.
shauna coxsey mbe
parent discipline: block
year of birth: 1993
my personal favorite on the list, climbing hangar’s own shauna coxsey is a force to be reckoned with and one of the most successful competitive climbers of all time. She began climbing in 1997 at age four, inspired by a television broadcast of Catherine Destivelle climbing in Mali. Coxsey is primarily a competitive climber and has participated in several international bouldering competitions. she has won the British bouldering championships multiple times. in 2012, she won the ninth edition of the melloblocco and placed second in the world cup stages in log-dragomer and innsbruck. she finished third in the 2012 bouldering world cup. in 2013, she cleanly climbed her first grade 8b (v13) problem when she climbed nothing but sun in rocky mountain national park. She was appointed one of the first ambassadors of the British Mountaineering Council of the United Kingdom. In 2014, she placed second overall at the IFSC Bouldering World Cup and fourth place at the Bouldering World Championships in Munich. the same year, she became the third woman to boulder 8b+ (v14) when she cleared a new baseline at magic wood near the swiss town of chur. in 2015, she won the british bouldering championships in sheffield and took first place in the bouldering world cup in munich.
Coxsey was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2016 Birthday Honours. In late 2016, he suffered a shoulder injury which prevented him from competing in that year’s World Bouldering Championships, despite topping the general classification in the bouldering world cup. he won four ifsc climbing world cups in meiringen (sui), kazo (jpn), innsbruck (aut) and sheffield (uk). at the world cup in munich (ger) he took second place. in 2017, he again won four stages of the bouldering world cup, in meiringen (sui), kazo (jpn), mumbai (ind) and vail (usa). in munich (ger) he came second again and secured the 2017 overall title. in august 2019, he won two bronze medals at the 2019 ifsc climbing world championships in hachioji, in bouldering and in the combined test. during the combined event final, she set a British women’s sprint climbing record of 9.141 seconds, securing second place in the sprint component of the combined event. In addition, by reaching the final of the combined event, she secured a qualifying spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
main discipline: leader & rock
year of birth: 1998
margo hayes set the record for the highest grade climbed by a woman in 9a+ (5.15a) at la ramba in spain, february 2017. she held this record for nine months after being overtaken by angela eiter.
hayes originally trained as a gymnast and competed nationally at the age of eight. After finding her passion for climbing at age 10, Hayes joined the ABC Bouldering team.
Prior to his historic ascent of the ramp, Hayes attempted the ascent 17 times in one week, showing everyone what hard work and perseverance can achieve.
To celebrate, Hayes followed up his record submission with a completion/biography submission.
main discipline: leader & rock
year of birth: 1998
garnbret won his first international title in the lead competition of the 2014 junior b world championships. in july 2015, just 16 years old, he began competing in the senior category of the lead climbing world cup. Since then, he has participated in 31 lead climbing world cup events, only missing the podium in four of them.
in 2016, aged 17, garnbret won the ifsc climbing world cup season titles in lead and combined climbing, world championships in lead climbing, and junior world championships in lead climbing and bouldering . from 2016 to 2018, he held the season title in both lead climbing and combined disciplines. In both 2018 and 2019, she won the bouldering and combined world championships, also regaining the lead title in 2019. In 2019, at age 20, Garnbret became the first female athlete to win all world cup events. bouldering in one season. Across six events, she placed first in six qualifiers, four semi-finals, and six finals, clearing 74 of 78 block problems overall.
my most memorable achievement of hers was when she was competing in the semi-finals of the first stage of the 2019 leadership world cup which took place in villars, switzerland. for some reason, her chalk bag fell out right when she started, before the first clip of her, but then she climbed on top of her without her. the only competition climber in history to have done it without chalk. she was the only climber to reach the top and won by a fraction of a point in the final.
main discipline: bouldering & lead
year of birth: 2001
shiraishi started climbing at the age of six on rat rock in central park, joining his father. just a few years later, she quickly established herself as one of the best bouldering and sport climbers in the world, and she is widely regarded as the best teen climber regardless of gender. Her numerous accolades include first place finishes in international competitions and multiple junior and female first ascents. Shiraishi appears in several documentary-style short films and is the subject of the documentary short film “Return to the Red” (2012).
the new york times referred to her as a “bouldering freak”. Outside magazine described her as a “young shredder”, and the New Yorker called her “a granite gretzky”. she at 13 years old she became the second woman, and the youngest person, to climb a sport route with a degree of difficulty of 5.14d / 5.15a (9a / 9a +). in 2016, she achieved the second ascent of the horizon on mount hiei, japan (ranked v15 on the hollow scale) and became the first female climber to climb the grade.