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Routes in the northeast FA'd/developed by women

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Etha Williams · · Somerville, MA · Joined May 2018 · Points: 314

Curious to know about routes (or problems) out here developed, FA'd, and/or FFA'd by women. Any area, any grade. The only one I know of is Betty at the Gunks (FA Betty Woolsey and Fritz Wiessner, 1941), but I'm sure there are others!

(Keeping a [necessarily incomplete] list here--thanks for all the great information, stories, and photos!)

Josh B · · Cambridge, MA · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0

Bonnies roof

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 624

Pretty sure Jan Conn was in on some early FAs in New England. Conncourse on Cannon, for example.
I'd be surprised if Lynn Hill didn't have some FAs in the Gunks.
Bonnie Prudden in the Gunks.
Check out the book Yankee Rock and Ice. You'll find many women included.

Etha Williams · · Somerville, MA · Joined May 2018 · Points: 314

Cool! Just found this page with a list of climbs at the Gunks where women were part of the FA party. A bunch by Bonnie Prudden, several by Annie O'Neil (the name "Annie Oh!" makes so much sense now...), two by Lynn Hill, and a number of others.

JD1984 · · Leominster, MA · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 726

Final Gesture on Cathedral by Lynn Hill.... mentioned in the guidebook as being a real "dent to local pride." 

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,931

I don't have her book any more, so I can't check. But Miriam Underhill would be another possible FFAist.

MUCH more recently, Val Bachinsky put up a line at Crane Mt. Karen Stoltz FA'ed Tillman's Arete at Chapel Pond. I suspect Jim Lawyer could rattle off dozens more (lots of tough ladies in the Adirondacks).

If you want to also include ice routes, then there's a whole lot more!

MaxSuffering · · KVNY · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 5

Women have participated in plenty of FA's in the Adirondacks, but what I can think of that was developed and led by a woman (name appears first in credits):

I See You (Silver Lake)
Forever Young (Silver Lake)
Breakfast Can Wait (Silver Lake)
Lichen Boobies (Devil's Washdish)
Booby Trap (Devil's Washdish)
Devil's In Every Woman (Devil's Washdish)
Hard-Headed Woman (Bear Den)
That's What She Said (Cedar River Crag)
One For The Boys (Panther Gorge)
Kittens, Rainbows and Lollipops (Ragged Mt.)
South of Somewhere (Chaitimac)
Royal Pain (King Wall)
Kill It Before It Spreads (Crane)
Yodelsaybackloon (Crane)
Land of the Little People (Tsunami Wall)
Sirloin Tips (Spanky's Wall)

EDIT: Just saw Gunkiemike's post... not sure how I missed Tilman's Arete. Good catch.

Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 18,392

It seems quite unusual for a woman to have led a FA, until you go back to the real "old days" with the likes of Mariam Underhill and Bonny Pruden.  Here in NH I know of Susan Patenaude's FA lead of the crux pitch of Crazy Woman Driver (5.9 X, Nov. 1980) on Rainbow  Slabs.  Susan was also on several FA's, usually climbing with Ed Webster, such as Perfect Wave (5.7, 1980, Rainbow) .

Over on Lost Ledge, Cathy Connell and Sue Deming did the FA of Cover Girl, (5.5, 1990 and "X" as they did it without the bolts, that were placed later by a team ) Ed Webster believed this was the first (and, as of 1996) the only NH FA where both climbers were women. (Although, in today's climate of really strong, good climbers coming out of the gyms I would think this has changed, as also the FA's led by women being seconded by men. )  

As for women climbing with men on FA's...there are probably too many to mention, and undoubtedly some would have led some pitches of the FA. Just to name a few: Karen Traverse, Bunny Goodspeed, Alison Osius, Maria Hannus. Appologies to all those I've not mentioned.

Nolan Huther · · Burlington, VT · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 632

Woolsey also put to the Woolsey Route on Roostercomb. Adirondack Rock references a testamonial that she was one of the best climbers of her time. At 5.8, her route was one of the hardest in the Northeast when done in 1941 (?)

Etha Williams · · Somerville, MA · Joined May 2018 · Points: 314

These are super, please keep them coming! I've started compiling a list of the routes. Feel free to comment here or on the sheet with additions.

Excited to get on some of these...maybe not Lynn Hill's (unrepeated?) 5.12c R, though ;).

Surprised a sport route hasn't come up yet, I'll have to try to find my Rumney guidebook and page through it...

Edit: For anyone curious, after paging through pretty much all of Rumney except the bouldering, I found 13 routes that appear to have been FA'd by women (listed on the linked sheet). I likely missed a few.

chris magness · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 590
JD1984 wrote: Final Gesture on Cathedral by Lynn Hill.... mentioned in the guidebook as being a real "dent to local pride." 

Pretty sure you mean Tourist Treat.   Final Gesture was much earlier and clocks in at 5.7+.


Honestly, you can't even begin to compile a list like this.  Too many over a broad geographical area encompassing nearly a century and many back-woodsy crags.  I've FA'd with at least 4 women on lead.
JD1984 · · Leominster, MA · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 726
chris magness wrote:

Pretty sure you mean Tourist Treat.   Final Gesture was much earlier and clocks in at 5.7+.


Honestly, you can't even begin to compile a list like this.  Too many over a broad geographical area encompassing nearly a century and many back-woodsy crags.  I've FA'd with at least 4 women on lead.

That’s exactly what I meant! Haha! Thanks for clearing that up 

chris magness · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 590
Etha Williams wrote: These are super, please keep them coming! I've started compiling a list of the routes. Feel free to comment here or on the sheet with additions.

Excited to get on some of these...maybe not Lynn Hill's (unrepeated?) 5.12c R, though ;).

Surprised a sport route hasn't come up yet, I'll have to try to find my Rumney guidebook and page through it...

Tourist Treat has been climbed.. a lot. 

S. Neoh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 10
Etha Williams wrote: These are super, please keep them coming! I've started compiling a list of the routes. Feel free to comment here or on the sheet with additions.

Excited to get on some of these...maybe not Lynn Hill's (unrepeated?) 5.12c R, though ;).

Surprised a sport route hasn't come up yet, I'll have to try to find my Rumney guidebook and page through it...

You will find many (sport) routes at Rumney and elsewhere FA'ed by women.  Hardly surprising.

Etha Williams · · Somerville, MA · Joined May 2018 · Points: 314
chris magness wrote:

Tourist Treat has been climbed.. a lot. 

I was referring to Yellow Crack Direct at the Gunks, which this book described as unrepeated as of 2001, and for which a cursory google couldn't find a second ascent...though I wouldn't be surprised if it has had one....

As for this being an exercise in futility...yeah, as far as an even complete-ish list goes, probably (especially the "women as part of the FA party" list). Still kind of interesting to see what's out there--to me, at least, and maybe to a few others. Plus, I have to find some way to avoid working when it's too hot to climb.
Brian · · North Kingstown, RI · Joined Sep 2001 · Points: 747

Symbiotic Seven 5.7 Bear Rock, CT, Michelle Chappel
One Good Hole'd 5.9 Pettaquamscutt Rock, RI Shelley McDonald

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

Isa Oehry has about 30ish FFA's some of which are also FA's. generally if it needed bolts I would grovel up it on lead with generous aid and get the shiny things in Isa would then  follow it and get a feel for it  then lead it free.  Many of these climbs I was not strong enough or brave enough to lead free so she was / is a vital part of the team.  some of the lines like Perigan Dihedral on Mt horrid are straight up trad lines that she on sighted.   Many sport climbs that I bolted then she got the FFA
Isa Oehry on the FFA of The Cleaver 10+


P1 Norwegian star 10a
Chris Duca · · Downingtown, PA · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 2,095
Etha Williams wrote: These are super, please keep them coming! I've started compiling a list of the routes. Feel free to comment here or on the sheet with additions.

Excited to get on some of these...maybe not Lynn Hill's (unrepeated?) 5.12c R, though ;).

Surprised a sport route hasn't come up yet, I'll have to try to find my Rumney guidebook and page through it...

I do believe (Ward Smith, please chime in) Paula King has multiple FAs and FFAs at Rumney, as well as several other NE crags.  I also think Lisa Conway nabbed the FFA of Liquid Sky at Cathedral. 

MaxSuffering · · KVNY · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 5

For a complete list of who participated in what: http://www.adirondackrock.com/fas.htm. The number of FA's with women listed has to be in the hundreds

In particular check out Ann Eastman, Sylvia Lazarnick, Leslie Ackerman, Lori Crowningshield, Emilie Drinkwater, Ellen Dubois, Laurie  Daniels, all of whom have participated in multiple FAs

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

thought liquid sky was Jimmy Surette?

wivanoff · · Northeast, USA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 553

Ancient Way, Ragged Mountain CT - FA: Betty Woolsey, Roger Whitney, Donald Brown (1935)                                                    

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Northeastern States
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