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'Girls don't climb' - How 68-year-old Irishwoman Clare Sheridan became a mountain climbing pioneer in a man's world

From lockdown in Bray, Clare Sheridan shares the thrilling story of navigating mountains, and the male-dominated climbing community, from the ‘pre-digital’ age to the modern day

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Clare in the Mont Blanc massif in France

Clare in the Mont Blanc massif in France

Uncoiling the Ropes, by Clare Sheridan

Uncoiling the Ropes, by Clare Sheridan

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Clare in the Mont Blanc massif in France

It’s January 2020 and we’re climbing a frozen waterfall in a remote Alpine valley.

There isn’t a breath of wind. In the snow-muffled silence, the only sound is the wet crunch of my axe as it cuts into the vertical ice. It’s -7°C and conditions are perfect — five degrees colder and the ice would be hard and brittle; five degrees warmer and it’ll turn sugary and begin to melt. This is winter climbing at its best.


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