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Jennifer Jordan, Savage Mountain


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Jennifer Jordan will be giving a talk tomorrow, Tues Jan 25, 7:30 PM, in KANE 220 at UW on her new book, Savage Mountain.


The book chronicles the lives of the first five women to summit K2, three of whom perished on the descent. The remaining two died several years later on other Himalayan peaks. (The sixth woman summitted K2 in 2004.)


The book portrays their strong independent spirits, the turmoil of entering a tradiationally male sport, their insatiable [lethal] desire to climb in the death zone, their struggle to find balance between mountains and family...


I just finished reading it and really enjoyed it.

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"the turmoil of entering a tradiationally male sport"- this is a load of bullshit. one of the women who climbed k2 was wanda rutkiewicz, along with burarrds. she died later on on kanchenjunga.

now the reason i call it bullshit that the only reason it's "traditionally male sport" is that female climbers have usually zero interest in this kind of climbing. i mean give me a fucking brake- this is another conspiracy theory. let's face it- alpine climbing on 8000m peaks is brutal. it's a lot of hard work. so if women in general choose not to do it- fine. but don't try to shove some pseudo- feminism into alpine climbing, i just don't buy it. and as the matter of fact wanda shared this opinion. so jennifer jordan can fuck off

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ok, I should know better than to try to engage bob in a reasoned discussion, but what the hell.


bob, I don’t think the feminist movement requires a “conspiracy” theory for its validity. it’s a simple fact that in virtually every field, women were considered less able or simple incapable of performing at a level equal with men. this has been true for MOST OF HUMAN HISTORY. in its simplest terms, feminism has been the story of women in field after field having to overcome prejudices and stereotypes – and if you look at the wage disparity between men and women in identical positions, it’s pretty obvious that the “conspiracy” is still going strong.


in what sense was high-altitude mountaineering NOT a traditionally male arena in the 1980s? in the bad old days – by which I mean the 1970s – it was virtually impossible to climb in the himalaya without being invited on a national team. those national selections were almost be definition an “old boy’s club.” are you proposing that wanda rutkiewicz did not have to overcome any prejudice? that she was openly accepted with no argument by all the men of the polish climbing community? gimme’ a break – or quote your source, because I have a hard time believing your claim that “wanda shared this opinion.”


female climbers have zero interest in this kind of climbing? news flash, most male climbers have no interest in that kind of climbing, either. that’s not the point. the point is that twenty years ago, in addition to all the other difficulties in pursuing high altitude climbing, women who WERE interested had some ADDITIONAL difficulties that men didn’t have to face. that’s not “pseudo-feminism,” it’s the real thing, full bore, 100 proof feminism, and worthy of respect.

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so forrest, first Pole to ascent Everest? Wanda Rutkiewicz in 1979, before polish national expedition did fwa. she was invited by austrian team. so what's your point anyway? as the matter of fact in the 80's there were 3 female national expeditions to 8000m peaks.

there is a book by Ewa Matuszewska "Uciec jak najwyzej" and a couple of other books (don't remember titles, one was by Wanda Rutkiewicz), so there is your source of info. read them and then we will talk. get the facts before voicing your opinion.

some facts for you:

Wanda Rutkiewicz:

1. Mount Everest 16.10.1978

2. Nanga Parbat 15.07.1985

3. K-2 25.06.1986

4. Shisha Pangma 18.09.1987

5. Gasherbrum II 12.07.1989

6. Gasherbrum I 16.07.1990

7. Cho-Oyu 26.09.1991

8. Annapurna 22.10.1991

Anna Czerwinska:

1. Broad Peak (Rocky Summit) 30.06.1983

2. Nanga Parbat 15.07.1985

3. Mount Everest 21.05.2000

4. Shisha Pangma Central 06.10.2000

5. Lhotse 21.05.2001

6. Cho Oyu 25.09.2001

7. Gasherbrum II 02.08.2003

Ewa Panejko- Pankiewicz:

1. Gasherbrum I 16.07.1990

2. Shisha Pangma Middle 02.05.1994

Krystyna Palmowska:

1. Broad Peak 30.06.1983

2. Nanga Parbat 15.07.1985

Halina Kruger-Syrokomska, Anna Okopinska- G2

G3 FA: 1975 Polish Female Expedition.

there is full list of all ppolish climbers who summited on 8000m peaks:http://www.gia.alpinizm.pl/pismo/gia/pol8000.htm

and as you can see it completly oposes your statement.

Edited by glassgowkiss
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I think one of Bob's points with reference to Wanda whatshername is that the very kind of women who are inclined to do this sort of thing are probably the most likely to recoil at the notion that "achievement X" is automatically more impressive when it has been accomplished by a woman, and consider such thinking more patronizing and retrograde than anything in Bob's post. Perhaps in these women's case being amongst the first women to do so presented them with special challenges that are worth recording, and somehow elevate their ascents to a significance beyond that endowed upon the dozens of male ascents - but I personally think that once the pioneering era has passed - which it has, IMO - then this sort of reportage can easily stray into something like the gender equivalent of Special Olympics coverage. "She climbed X - and ----gasp!---- she's a woman!"


The person I did most of my trad climbing with in Colorado was a woman, and she - not I - was the sort of person who wouldn't blink at linking up a couple of Grade V's on The Diamond car-to-car and rolling into work on a couple of hours sleep in the morning and --- this sort of isn't-it-amazing-because-she's-a-woman stuff absolutely made her want to puke.

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jayB wrote:

Perhaps in these women's case being amongst the first women to do so presented them with special challenges that are worth recording, and somehow elevate their ascents to a significance beyond that endowed upon the dozens of male ascents


thank you, that is exactly my point. the story of them being the first women in this instance is interesting because in addition to the mountaineering story, there is also the issue of overcoming prejudice and stereotypes. though i have not read the book, i can certainly imagine that this COULD make an interesting story. in the hands of a hack, it could be patronizing and it might make me want to puke, but it could also be inspiring. i certainly don't know one way or the other.


what pisses me off is the blanket dismissal of this author as "feminist bullshit", as if feminism is some kind of bad word. to me, people overcoming the limitations that other people want to put on them is inspiring. at heart, that's what feminism is about.


bob, i'm not sure what the point of listing WR's impressive resume is. noone is disputing the fact that she was a badass climber. but why do you think women started putting together "women's" expeditions in the 1970s. Could it be because many talented women climbers couldn't get their foot in the door with the climbing establishment that controlled funding for the more conventional expeditions? it seems to me that the fact that WR climbed everest with an austrian team before being invited to join later polish expeditions kind of proves my point, but i don't know the details, so maybe not.


women's expeditions have gone out of fashion and maybe they're no longer necessary. maybe that's a sign of progress, but it doesn't mean that they were ridiculous in their time.



proud son of an unrepentant feminist

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I don't think you have to be a "feminist" to "want to puke" because some people think an accomplishment by a woman appears to be more profound than the same accomplishment by a man. We have "first ascents", "first free ascents" and "first winter ascents" and thank god NOT "first woman ascents." Ironically it might just be some woman that will actually make a bigger deal out of the fact it was a woman who did this or that, and not necessarily the woman who did it but another woman who thinks it was a bigger accomplishment than a man's. Does that mean that woman is feeling repressed by the dominant paradigm that we as a society have no control over? Or is SHE truly a feminist?


It seems to me that it is feminists themselves that always bring up the ideals of feminism (duh!). We can't ignore the fact that statistically there are fewer woman doing 8,000 meter peaks and so when one rattles off an impressive list like Wanda did, we can't help but notice it's a woman. That is what separates her from Joe Blow who isn't famous and quietly does the same. Perhaps we should blame the press for bringing the attention to the public it was a woman.


And why are women with children criticized more harshly for climbing than men with children? I suspect it would be the "feminists" that would be the first to defend her.


As long as people, men or woman or the press, make a big deal about the fact a woman did this or that, then the steps to the podium will always be an easy climb for feminists. If you don't like what feminists have to say you shouldn't be making a big deal out of anything a woman does.


Do you think Lynn Hill is tired of everyone saying "the only free ascent of the nose was done by a woman?"


I think Bob is a feminist!

Edited by David_Parker
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I find this discussion interesting in a couple ways...


1) A bunch of men discussing how women might feel about how their accomplishments are portrayed in a book and debating the merits of feminism.



2) I would bet dollars to doughnuts that back when Allison Hargraves died and left two small children without a mother many men on this site would certainly have a heated discussion about how it was irresponsible of her to pursue her climbing aspirations given the risks.


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Actually the most strident criticism of Hargreaves came from women - not men. Try searching for the letters that came pouring into the English press after her death.


Whenever a woman with children dies doing something dangerous I would also bet dollars to donuts that the condemnation from other women with children is the loudest and most vehement.

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