Hall, J. (2018) Women mountaineers and affect: Fear, play and the unknown. In: Saul, H., Waterton, E. eds. (2018) Affective Geographies of Transformation, Exploration and Adventure. London, Routledge.
Hall, J. (2019) Redesigning the room: Women mountaineers and legitimacy. Gender, Place and Culture. (under review).
Redesigning the room: Women mountaineers and legitimacy
The story of elite female mountaineering is little known, receiving limited attention in academia. For the first time, this paper traces a historical line drawing from experiences of the earliest female mountaineers through to the present day, to show how the codification of mountaineering, as a male space, has changed little since its creation as a leisure and nation-building sport. Such institutionalisation presents specific physical and psychological challenges for female mountaineers that, I suggest, they negotiate through evolving specific masculinities to achieve legitimacy in the mountaineering community. I also show it continues to silence the female voice and inhibits the development of gender-specific pedagogies of leadership and learning. Through experimental mobile video ethnography (MVE), I explore how women mountaineers create spaces of legitimacy in high altitude landscapes and how gender has consequences in their professional lives. The aim is to problematise this hypermasculine space, demonstrating how difference offers the potential for growth and development in the world of elite mountaineering.
Keywords: gender, mountaineering, women, legitimacy, subjectivity