Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Women With Altitude

The Author at the Intro to Climbing course
   Women With Altitude Glendalough Wicklow 2013

Having first heard about the women with altitude weekend after it's first year in the Mournes mountains two years ago in the quarterly mountain log I had decided that I would go the second year.  Unfortunately in it's second year it was held in Donegal which was too far to travel to but after reading a glowing report in the mountain log afterwards decided that I would hopefully be able to attend it in it's third year.

Maureen O'Brien, Pat Brodrick, Melanie Murphy and I all decided that we would go the third year when they announced that it would be held in Glendalough, Wicklow to represent the female members of Bishopstown hillwalking club.

Firstly let me make it quite clear that Women with Altitude is not for die hard A walkers who want to run a walk at breakneck speed.  This is a celebration of women of ALL levels of ability including C and D walkers.

There was plenty of choice from the extensive weekend programme with the option of paying to do a specialized course on the Saturday as either a full day or 2 half day courses.  There was also hill walks to suit all level of abilities which were free.  I opted for a half days intro to rock climbing followed by an afternoon of technical climbing, Maureen was instructing on the basic navigation course, Melanie did a days scrambling in Glendalough and Pat did ropework for hillwalkers which she was supposed to follow in the afternoon with intro to rock climbing.  Unfortunately this was cancelled due to the weather and she opted instead for a river ascent.

Other courses available included lower traverse to St kevins bed, multi-pitch climbing, introduction to mountain biking, basic and intermediate navigation skills, walk and talk on the environment (flora & fauna) digital photography....the list just goes on and on.

Friday night and our guest speaker was climber Jane Gallwey who solo climbed "Lurking Fear" on El Cap. her talk was inspiring to others to say the least.  All participants attended a three course meal in the Glendalough hotel on Saturday night and a slideshow with guest speaker Orla Pendergast. 

Sunday then saw workshops which you could attend or just head out for the hills doing your own thing, both Maureen and I decided as members of mountain rescue to go to the Glen of Imaals new base and hear a talk about women in rescue, Melanie looked at how to become a leader and Pat looked at nutrition for the mountains, this is just a taste of the workshops that day as you could do two workshops each before lunch.

Before lunch we had a slideshow by mountaineering irelands access and conservation officer Helen lawless on walking in the Pyrenees and a talk on the up coming mountaineering Ireland alpine meet.

The participants came from all clubs and walks of life across the country, the instructors gave there time freely to reduce the costs of the courses and the organisers were exceptional.  I am pleased to say that  it was great to catch up with some old friends but also to discover some new ones after the weekend.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Maureen O'Brien, Pat Brodrick and Melanie Murphy for there company and the laughs...........

Check out the Women with Altitude website at

I am hoping to put a group of women from Bishopstown hillwalkers together for next years meet so if anyone is interested please do not hesitate to get onto me.