The long-delayed anthology highlights women in the history of Yosemi mountaineering

For Lauren Delaney Miller, Mountaineering has always been about Yosemite. After seeing the cover, he climbed into the doctor’s office National Geography With Alex Hanold on “Thank God Ledge” at Half Dome. Without even knowing what Yosemite was, this photo caught Miller.

“I knew from the day I entered the mountaineering gym – I still didn’t know how to do it – that I wanted to go to Yosemite, even one day to see those walls,” says Miller.

Lauren Delaney Miller on a one-day climb to the Queen’s Skull, Washington Pillar. (Photo: Pato Berra)

Miller joined Yosemite and finally joined Yosemite Search and Rescue (YOSAR) in the summer of 2018-2020. He currently holds many titles: Master’s student at Berkeley University, Vice President of the Bishop Mountaineering Association, Event Coordinator for the Kragin Bishop Classic Festival at the American Alpine Club, and Editor-in-Chief for California American Alpine MagazineSomehow, he also has time to make a new anthology, Valley of the Giants: Stories of women in the heart of Yosemi mountaineering, Taken from the book of climbers.

This collection of articles, interviews, and excerpts includes stories from approximately 40 different Yosemite female mountaineers that have evolved from the 1930s to the present – and this was due to Miller’s understanding that although women climbed Yosemite from the beginning, They were largely abandoned. Out of Yosemite Ascent Date

The book begins with Marjorie Farquhar, who was instrumental in bringing the technical ascents to Yosemite and Upper Sierra, and made his first ascent of the Speer Cathedral in the 1930s. The film also includes the story of Sibylle Hatchl and Bo Johnson ascending as all women in El Cap via Triple Direct and the first female nose ascent by Molly Higgins and Barb Eastman. Lynn Hill is there, but she does not tell the story that is best known to her. The stories of the 1990s show women like Katie Brown and Beth Roden, while the final chapter examines women today in the Yosemi community, including mothers, guides, YOSAR members, and adaptive climbers.

“I really wanted to write a book that would highlight prominent women, but talk about the experiences of women who have unique perspectives on climbing Yosemite,” Miller said.

Miller sat down with me outside the Pacific Tube Climbing Gym in Auckland, California, to talk about his book.

Why did you decide to write this book?

Writing this book was a long process. I probably thought about it for as long as I wrote it. I think the reason is that it took me a while to feel like I was the right person to do this, even though I always knew it was something that should exist. I return to this quote from Galen Roll: He basically says that he does not apologize for excluding women from the ascent to the history of literature, because they did not participate in the early ascents of Yosemite. * When I came to Yosemite, I realized that this was not true. There were inspiring women around me telling their stories – but not with the same power to write them. There have been articles that have been very helpful in highlighting women’s experiences, but I think there is one really important thing in the book that is really tangible compared to other media.

[*Galen Rowell’s quote from the 1988 edition of his book, The Vertical World of Yosemite, reads: “Women are conspicuously absent from the climbs in this book. I have no apology to make here because it is not my place to change history. There simply were no major first ascents in Yosemite done by women during the formative years of the sport.”]

What surprised you while writing this book?

I think I was surprised by the influence of women in the early days, I kind of feel it [the timeline] In the fifth-grade rope climb, introduced at Yosemite in the 1930s. But in the 30s, 40s, 50s, early 60s, I was very surprised by the number of women I could find at that time. It was interesting to make these amazing connections between what was happening in the mountaineering world at the time and what was happening in a larger American cultural context. I mean, I’m not a business historian, but it’s not genius to see, oh, in 1972 and 1973, we get Roe vs. Wade, we get the IX title, and we also get the first female climb. To El Cap. These are not coincidences. Of course, this book is about mountaineering, but it really showed me that it is not just about climbing.

What makes the history of women in Yosemite unique compared to other mountaineering areas?

There is a lot of storytelling in Yosemite mountaineering. I have climbed all over the country and I have never reached a place where people are so immersed in that history. Every time you go to the rock at Yosemite, people name the routes by name. I bet most people know the first climbers to climb in Yosemite more than anywhere else. History is so much more there than anywhere else, which made me feel that if you were going to start such a project, Yosemite was a natural place to start, not just because I spent most of my mountaineering there. Professional, but since this legend already exists – there are only slit holes in it.

What are some of the most important things that you hope people will pay attention to after reading this book?

I tried to write this book in a way that would appeal to all different people. I think there is a good chance that if you read it without looking at the title or the names of the authors, you will hardly recognize that this book is about women’s history, because there are so many good stories for mountaineering. There are some stories that really climb, that really come in to help weed climb and things like that, and then there are stories that just share the joy of being at Camp Four or climbing with family members. Lays. I guess I just want people to understand how many stories are left and then think about why this happened and what we can do to make everyone feel that their voices are worth hearing.

You have confused some women about why you want to include them in the book. Did you have a problem convincing yourself to participate in the problem?

Yes, it’s really interesting. I did perfectly, but at times I felt like I was just waiting for Yosemite to have this book, because I think it was obviously a good idea. And after all those years, I just looked around and thought, well, do I have to do this myself? I just get over it and start talking to people and going from there. And I feel that my experience working at Yosemite was helpful in making the personal connections needed to convince some of these super-humble women to write for it. But yes, I had to fight the Demonstrator Syndrome all the time. All my ascents to Yosemite are defined by the struggle with the Demonstrator Syndrome. This place is so big that it has great characters and incredible climbers and it is hard to feel that you have to do it.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

If someone works in a place of power where you control who should speak or who should write, just pause and think about what already exists and may distract people from sharing experiences. Limit ourselves and what we have limited. It does this to support the idea that only very, very good people can share their experiences. In mountaineering, we often really want to know what developing people are doing in the sport, and that’s perfectly normal and fair, but when we stop talking there, we lose a lot of people.

Lauren DeLaunay Miller on the Shield Headwall (Photo: Lauren DeLaunay Miller)

Miller’s book is now available for pre-order Books of climbers، Amazon، And Barnes and NobleThis book will be officially published on March 1, 2022.

Madeleine Taub is a freelance writer and mountaineer based in Auckland, California. You can see him in And on Twitter Madrtz.

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