In 1890 Fay Fuller became the first female to summit Mt. Rainier. Known for her self-reliance and determination she once stated that,
"if I could not achieve a goal without help, I did not deserve to reach it."
A devoted mountaineer, Fuller help found the Mazamas in 1894, the American Alpine Club in 1902, and the Seattle based Mountaineers in 1906. As a newspaper reporter, she did much to popularize the growing sport of mountain climbing and women mountaineers. Fay Peak on Mount Rainier honors her legacy.
Fanny Bullock Workman (1859-1925)
Fanny Bullock Workman was another founding member of the American Alpine Club and later became an honorary member in recognition to her contributions to the sport of mountaineering. Workman made ascents in the Alps, the Karakoram and Punjab Himalaya. She summited Spantik and Pinnacle Peak among numerous others. Workman was also an early professional mountaineer and set several women's altitude records. Like Annie Peck, Workman was an ardent suffragette.
Annie Smith Peck (1850-1935)
Born in Rhode Island in 1850 Annie Smith Peck was the first professional woman mountain climber and a founding member of the American Alpine Club. Among her many climbs, Peck made ascents of Mount Shasta and the Matterhorn, as well as the Mexican volcanoes Popocatepetl, Orizaba, and Toluca. She made the first ascent of the north peak of Mount Huascarán in Peru at the age of 58. The north peak was named Cumbre Aña Peck in her honor in 1928. She also climbed Mount Coropuna when she was in her 60s. Her independence and determination to summit was in defiance of social convention. She truly climbed against all odds.
Margaret Griffin Redman was a flatlander from the Dakota Territory who fell in love with the blue mountains of Oregon. She came west in 1905 to see the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland and never left. She joined the Mazamas after climbing Mount Hood in 1915, after the first of three Hood climbs that year. Margaret's legacy is one of longevity and the embodiment of the Mazama spirit. She holds the record for the most Annual Outings attended at twenty-six, including the 1929 Three Sisters Outing on her honeymoon. She was a Mazamas for an astounding 76 years. Shortly before her death at the age of 106, she attributed her association with the Mazamas as the reason for her longevity.
Eleanor Davis (later Ehrman) was a member of the Colorado Mountain Club and the first Colorado woman to join the American Alpine Club. Davis taught physical education at Colorado College and made the first ascents of the Crestone Needles in 1916 as well as being the first woman to climb Grand Teton. She also completed the second ascent of Mount Wilbur in Glacier National Park. Eleanor (right) is pictured here with Albert Ellingwood (left) and Barton Hoag (center) atop Pyramid Peak in 1919.
Bob Ormes said she was "very tough and strong and not disturbed by altitude" and a "damn good climber and nervy." -Quoted from 1985 interview with Janet Robertson
Agnes Vaille was born in Denver and educated at Smith College. She was a member of the Colorado Mountain Club, served as Outing Chairman and was an early member of the "14,000 Footers Club." She was the first known woman to make a winter ascent of James Peak in 1923. In addition to mountaineering, Vaille volunteered with the Red Cross in France during the First World War and was appointed secretary of the Denver Chamber of Commerce in 1924. On January 25, 1925, Vaille and fellow CMCer Walter Kiener made their fourth attempt to climb the east face of Longs Peak. She died on the descent. The Agnes Vaille Shelter was built on Longs Peak and Agnes Vaille Falls near Buena Vista, Colorado, was named for her.
Mary Cronin was born in Denver to a working class family. By the age of 17, she was a clerk at Western Union. She joined the Colorado Mountain Club in 1921 and climbed her first Fourteener, Longs Peak, on a trip led by Agnes Vaille. Frequently partnering with Vaille, Cronin went on to become the first woman to summit all of Colorado's Fourteeners (14,000-foot peaks). By 1926, she was serving on the Board of Directors, Membership Committee and as a Trip Leader. In 1934, she climbed her final Fourteeners: Mt. Oxford and Mt. Belford. She remained active with the CMC until around 1937, when her job with Western Union was transferred out-of-state. She lived to a ripe old age of 88. A peak in the Sawatch Range of Colorado now honors her achievement: Cronin Peak is 13,877 ft.
Barbara Washburn (1914–2014)
Barbara Washburn became the first woman to climb Mount McKinley in 1947, yet remained extremely humble about her achievements throughout her life, referring to herself as an “accidental mountaineer.” Barbara and husband Bradford’s scientific and cartographic achievements, including highly detailed maps of the Grand Canyon and Everest, earned them the Alexander Graham Bell Medal from the National Geographic Society in 1980, among other distinctions. She was a member of the American Alpine Club.