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PROFILE AND LEGACY MIRIAM O'BRIEN UNDERHILL; QUEEN OF THE MANLESS CLIMBING

Before Miriam's, there had not been a single female mountaineer who dared oppose the presence of a man on top of the mountain. Miriam is the world's first female mountaineer to say that women "don't need" a man's help to get to the top of the mountain.

Who is Miriam, this brave female climber?

Manless Climbing and the Manifesto of Alpine Female Climber Miriam O'Brien Underhill

Source: Unsplash

The National Geographic Society in 1934 published an article which was later entitled; Manless Alpine Climbing: The First Woman to Scale the Grepon, the Matterhorn and Others Famous Peaks Without Masculine Support.

The article talks about climbing the main mountains of the Alps with no man involved. And this was very surprising at the time, considering that no mountaineering anywhere in the world could have been done without the involvement of a male climber there.

The author of this essay is a woman named Miriam O'Brien Underhill, and she is the first alpinist in the world to put forward the idea of ​​manless climbing. Miriam was 36 years old when she wrote the monumental article. And before the revolutionary article was read by the mountaineering public of the time, Miriam O'Brien's name was already more popular with the ascents he did throughout of the Alps.

One of the most important messages in Miriam's article, which was later released by the National Geographic Society, was about her commitment and consistency to say that female climbers in the Alps can conquer the peaks of mountains without the presence of men.

Apart from that, Miriam also said that women should take the lead and be at the forefront for their own ascent. Because climbers who only follow behind good climbing leaders, will never learn about mountaineering at all.

“Early on, I realized that someone who follows a climb from a kind leader, will not learn anything about mountaineering or rock climbing. They can only enjoy part of the variety of rewards that this activity has (rock climbing). I really realized that if then women were really capable of leading the climb, i.e. by taking on all the mountaineering responsibilities they did, then I don't think there is a need for a man on the team anymore."

The principles and theories presented by Miriam in her alpine manifesto have made her a leading pioneer of women's climbing purely, meaning without involving male masculine elements in it. This is the first stake of women's independence in the mountains with a technical level that is not easy.

And for Miriam's thoughts and commitment to fighting for the basis of an independent female mountain climber, then she should be on the main list of Dewi Gunung's books.

Profile of Miriam O'Brien Underhill

Source: goEast

Miriam's full name is Miriam Eliot O'Brien Underhill. He was born in Forest Glen, Montgomery Country, in Maryland, United States.

Miriam's father was a local newspaper editor as well as a government employee. Meanwhile, Miriam's mother is a doctor. Miriam first became acquainted with mountaineering when she visited the Alps in 1914, where she learned to climb mountains in the company of an instructor.

For education, Miriam earned a bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics in 1920 from Bryn Mawr College.

A year later, or in 1921, Miriam added a master's degree in psychology to her name from the same university. Then for physics, Miriam continued her education at Johns Hopkins University from 1923 to 1925.

Significant Ascent of Miriam O’Brien Underhill


The year 1926, or 12 years since his first arrival to the Alps. Miriam returns to the Alps and begins to show her serious commitment to rock climbing and mountaineering.

That year he made his first ascent ascent at Torre Grande, Dolomites. The route used by Miriam in Torre Grande was later named the Via Miriam Route, in honor of her there. Apart from Torre Grande, that year Miriam also made another hike at the Aiguille de Roc not far from Mont Blanc. And this is also the first ascent climb.

Together with Robert Underhill (who later became her husband), Armand Charlet and G. Cachat, (both were French mountaineering guides), on August 4, 1928 Miriam O'Brien made a spectacular achievement.

At that time they completed the first ascent traversing or the trajectory from Aiguille du Diable to Mount Blanc du Tacul. This was a significant feat of the time, for on this ascent Miriam and three of her male companions had to climb five extraordinary peaks of 4,000 meters high in harsh and treacherous environments.

The route created by Miriam and her friends was later immortalized by the mountaineering maestro and alpinist philosopher from France, Gaston Rebuffat. Rebuffat explains Miriam's route in her book, The Mont Blanc Massif: The 100 Finest Route.

Manless Climbing in Aiguille du Grepon and the Matterhorn

Source: Unsplash

Miriam's first manless climb came in 1929 when she and French mountaineer Alice Damesme successfully completed the Aiguille du Grépon climb without any male assistance.

This achievement seems to have aroused the sentiments of another mountaineer named Etienne Bruhl who considers Aiguille du Grepon to have been lost because it was climbed by two women. We can also draw this Bruhl expression as a description of the perceptions and views shown by the general public about female mountain climbers at the time.

After success at Aiguille du Grépon, on September 3, 1930, Miriam again demonstrated her capacity as a reliable mountaineer by successfully completing the ascent at Finsteraarhorn.

The route that Miriam and her two guides climbed was the northeast route, the route considered the most difficult in the Finsteraarhorn. Finsteraarhorn itself is the highest mountain in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland, with an elevation of 4,274 meters. While the northeast route used by Miriam is also a very difficult route, there have only been 2 climber of this at this place in 24 years.

The following year after the Finsteraarhorn, Miriam continued her ascent at Mönch (4,107 meters) and Jungfrau (4,158 meters). Miriam's ascent of these two mountains was done together with Micheline Morin in 1931.

Then in 1932 Miriam again partnered with Alice Damesme and conquered the Matterhorn. And this is the first all-women ascent on the Matterhorn. And the Matterhorn was once again climbed by Miriam in 1952.

And that was his last ascent on the Matterhorn.

First Couple Conquering 48 Mountains

Source: Brave New Wild

Robert Lindley Murray Underhill and Miriam O'Brian married in 1932. Shortly after Miriam completed her ascent of the Matterhorn. They had two sons, born in 1936 and 1939.

Furthermore, after the 2nd world war, Miriam and her husband did more climbing in America. Some of the important climbs that Miriam did in America include; in the Wind River Range in Wyoming, The Mission, Swan, and Beartooth in Montana, and in Sawtooth. Idaho.

Together with her husband, Miriam is a member of the Four Thousand Footer Club, an association that is still part of the Appalachian Mountain Club.

The only requirement to become a member of the Four Thousand Footer Club is to climb all the mountains (of which there are 48 mountains) with a height of 4000 meters in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.

Miriam and Robert are the first climbers to successfully climb all the mountains on the Four Thousand Footer Club list in winter.

Miriam Underhill's Most Important Legacy

Source: Merrimack Valley

Apart from being the first to put forward the idea of ​​'Manless Climbing' whose notes were published in the National Geographic Society in 1934, Miriam also wrote several other notes. In fact, between 1956–1951 Miriam was the editor of Appalachia, an internal journal of the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Give Me The Hills which is the autobiography of Miriam O'Brien was first published in 1956 by Methuen Publishing Ltd in London, England. Meanwhile in America, Miriam's autobiography was republished and released in 1971.

Another award given to Miriam is Miriam Peak which is named after her. Miriam Peak itself is one of the peaks that Miriam O'Brien has reached while climbing the Wind River Range in Wyoming.

But of all the awards for Miriam, the most fundamental is the annual award given by the American Alpine Club to outstanding mountaineers who are considered to be as passionate as Miriam and her husband. This award is named The Robert and Miriam Underhill Award.

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This article is excerpted by Google Translate from a book entitled Dewi Gunung by Anton Sujarwo

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