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image for Exhibition item typeBritish Women Climb at Keswick


British Women Climb

British Women Climb

Gwen Moffat © Johnnie Lees Collection


From pioneering travellers, to bold adventurers and elite athletes; the exhibition focuses on the experiences of women climbers, their challenges to social expectations, and their mountaineering achievements across history.

Early female figures in the 1800’s not only confronted extreme mountain environments, but also extensive hostility from the male-only clubs of the time. Through continued persistence they broke onto the scene and logged some of the most ambitious ascents of the period, paving the way for all-female climbing teams that tackled Europe’s highest peaks in the 1920’s and Himalayan expeditions as early as 1950.

To climb, women had to change attitudes across the social spectrum, challenging everything from the way they dressed, to the way they were perceived. The first female ascent of Mont Blanc in 1808 was soon followed with the Eiger and Matterhorn in 1864 and 1871. By the early 20th century Elizabeth Le Blond, Emily ‘Pat’ Kelly and Eleanor Winthrop Young were founding the first all-female climbing clubs.

The exhibition includes an exciting range of historic artefacts: Lake District icon Mabel Barker’s rope and boots, original Ladies’ Alpine Club artefacts, and loans from the Fell and Rock Climbing Club, the Pinnacle Club and world bouldering champion Shauna Coxsey.

Children welcomeDisabled access

Opening details

Runs every day between 10:00 and 16:00


Adult (16 years +): £4.25
Student (with a student card): £3.00
Child (5–15 years): £2.50
Child: Free
Family day pass (2 adults & up to 3 children): £10




Plan route to Keswick using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: NY 266234  Lat: 54.60041 Long: -3.13767

Take jct 40 from the M6 onto the A66 from Penrith to Keswick.

Accessible by Public Transport: 18 miles from Penrith station


  • Children welcomeChildren welcome
  • Disabled accessDisabled access