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alpinista
12-01-2004, 10:21 AM
Does anyone remember off the top of their heads the year when someone became the first woman to hike all 48 NH4Ks? I seem to recall that it actually wasn't that long ago -- like the 1950s, or somesuch. I also have a vague memory that if it wasn't Laura Waterman that it was a hiking pal of hers who is credited with being the first woman to hike the NH48.

spencer
12-01-2004, 10:33 AM
I think it was Miriam Underhill. You can look it up in Forest and Crag. I don't have my copy with me, but if someone else doesn't post first, I'll look it up later.

spencer

alpinista
12-01-2004, 10:37 AM
Ahhh, yes, that's where I read about it. I actually have "Forest and Crag" here at the office. Thanks, Spencer!

David Metsky
12-01-2004, 12:34 PM
The historical records (http://www.amc4000footer.org/finishers.htm) show that there were only 5 finishers before 1957, so there weren't many at all back then. Miriam Underhill would have been in one of that first few, IIRC.

-dave-

Waumbek
12-01-2004, 01:24 PM
Actually, I think Underhill was the first woman to climb the NH4K in winter, as she suggests in her book, Give Me The Hills:

"This game was an offshoot, of course, of that very popular game of the Appalachian Mountain Club, Climbing the Four-thousanders, which was set in motion, and such vigorous and enthusiastic motion, in 1958. Our game —'ours' because we were the first to play it— followed right along. As the initiators we set the rules, which concerned the definition of 'winter'. 'Snow on the ground' and other namby-pamby criteria definitely did not count. 'Winter' was to be measured exclusively by the calendar. In 1960, for instance, winter began at 3:27 PM on Wednesday, December 21, too late to get up to Crag Camp by daylight."

So, I don't know whether that makes her the first woman to climb NH4Ks and/or the first in winter. I'll look it up when I get home to the book. Underhill went on to do other "lists" after that.

Julie Boardman's When Women and Mountains Meet includes Underhill as well as some other White Mountain "first" women: the Austin sisters, who were the first women to climb Mount Washington, and Laura Waterman, Natalie Davis, and Debbie O'Neill, the first women who traversed the Presidentials in winter.

darren
12-02-2004, 08:15 AM
Weren't women 2 of the first 3 to finish the 48??? Or am I thinking of the winter 48 too? I just read Steve Smith's new book, so I feel bad about not being able to remember. I can check the book when I get home.

- darren

Waumbek
12-02-2004, 08:33 AM
I'm still away from home, too, so haven't been able to check on this. I also saw this on the web (yet to be checked) about Underhill:

"1932 ..... the FIRST woman only ascent of the Matterhorn was achieved by Miriam Underhill and Alice Damesme. In 1928 Miriam Underhill made the FIRST traverse of the Grepon led by a woman and then the FIRST complete traverse of the Aiguille du Diable with her husband and guides. In the Torre Grande in the Dolomites she pioneered what became known as the Via Miriam."

The part I also like about whichever achievement Miriam Underhill accomplished vis a vis the NH 4Ks is that I think she was in her late 50's at the time she did it.

Waumbek
12-02-2004, 08:13 PM
Does anyone remember off the top of their heads the year when someone became the first woman to hike all 48 NH4Ks?

According to the Watermans' Forest and Crag (p. 659), Miriam O'Brien Underhill finished climbing the NH 4Ks in winter in December 1961. Rebecca Brown, Women on High (p. 224), says it was 1960. Underhill was either 63 or 62 when she became the first woman to climb these NH 4Ks in winter. But it's still not clear to me if this is the first completion of NH 4K list by a woman, summer or winter. In Give Me the Hills, Underhill herself says that she and her husband were "charter members of the Four-thousand-footer-Club" and that at least implies that they'd finished them in summer before they began the winter project in 1958. But she doesn't actually say that she was the first woman to finish in non-winter. Neither the Watermans nor Brown clarifies the question, and I haven't seen Julie Boardman's chapter on Underhill yet. I don't have access to the actual NH 4K Club lists but that's where the answer should be.

sierra
12-02-2004, 10:22 PM
Interesting topic, although I cant lend any specifics to the original 4k woman, it sure got me thinking about woman climbers in general. When I started climbing many years ago woman where out there, but their numbers where certainally low compared to men. Now I see woman all the time in the backcountry and I must say they have made their mark.
Im in Colorado for now, and there are many woman climbers who can certainally hold there own and there numbers increase every year. Now I just need to find a single one who needs a long time partner. ;)

beverly
12-03-2004, 08:29 AM
I hear through the grapevine that Women with Altitude by Carol White will be definitely coming out next Spring. It's being published by North Country Books and is about women Winter 46ers. Been in the works for years.

RoySwkr
12-03-2004, 03:40 PM
According to the Watermans' Forest and Crag (p. 659), Miriam O'Brien Underhill finished climbing the NH 4Ks in winter in December 1961. Rebecca Brown, Women on High (p. 224), says it was 1960. Underhill was either 63 or 62 when she became the first woman to climb these NH 4Ks in winter.
If you believe Miriam herself, the last chapter of Give Me the Hills indicates Dec.23, 1960. Her husband being a decade older was a real geezer :-) It has always amused me the number of twentysomething guys who treat the winter 4K as a big deal when they were first done by an old lady as a retirement project.

But this leads to the question of "oldest completer". Miriam had climbed half the winter 4K in her 20s when you needed a sleigh to reach the Glen House. My sister climbed the winter 4K before she was 21, but not Galehead which wasn't required then, maybe she should save it until she is 80 to become the oldest finisher? Dan Allen and I had a discussion of this last winter, with the hypothesis that for oldest completer you should use the date of your first peak. You could even allow repeat ascents and use the latest date that you had climbed all peaks since (what will Baxter Park think of this:-)

And for another digression, that same last chapter of Give Me the Hills tells the story of the true summit of Owls Head, look at her photo and see if you've been there :-)

Waumbek
12-03-2004, 05:05 PM
Does anyone remember off the top of their heads the year when someone became the first woman to hike all 48 NH4Ks? I seem to recall that it actually wasn't that long ago -- like the 1950s, or somesuch. I also have a vague memory that if it wasn't Laura Waterman that it was a hiking pal of hers who is credited with being the first woman to hike the NH48.

Julie Boardman's recent book, When Women and Mountains Meet, I think that's the correct title, explains that when the NH 4K Club formed in 1957, Robt and Miriam Underhill had already climbed most of the the NH 4Ks. Indeed Miriam climbed some of them decades before during her summers in Lisbon as a young woman. To qualify for the club, they had only a few left to do, including Owl's Head. I think Miriam finished in '57 or '58; in any event, Boardman states that Miriam Underhill was the first woman to finish the NH 4Ks. Miriam went on to start the winter NH 4Ks in 1958 and completed them in 1960. So, Underhill is a double first woman vis a vis the NH 4Ks. By that time, of course, she'd done a lot of European climbing, including the firsts listed above.

Yes, RoySwkr, that last chapter of Give Me the Hills has great pictures, including the old emergency shelter in Edmands col. By the way there are two editions of Underhill's book. The later, American edition has the last chapter we're referring to.