OXFORD UNIVERSITY MOUNTAINEERING CLUB

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Modern Times

I beg to inform your readers of a recent occasion when I was prevailed upon against my better judgement to lead a lady, Mlle E. deKoninck, up one of the most famous routes in the Lake District: the Napes Needle. Notwithstanding the enlightened modern approach to allowing the fairer sex to indulge in such mountaineering activities, a good deal of care must be taken in planning such an expedition. It is, for example, essential to make the approach very close along the Southern edge of the Needle so that no hint is given of its remarkably suggestive shape, which is liable to cause giddiness and no small degree of alarm in a lady.

Having safely established ourselves at the foot of the Needle I launched into the first crack; an easy slanting crack widening above to just off width and requiring a move “a cheval”. I was somewhat concerned at this, as I could not see how the crack could decently be climbed in skirts. Nonetheless I pressed on, finding the ascent of the top blocks both absorbing and delightful. My companion soon followed, and on reaching the shoulder confessed that there had indeed been some difficulty in navigating the wide crack.

Great alarm followed as she made the rockover move onto the upper block, when her hat was torn away by a gust of wind and fell into the deep chasm to the East of the Needle. Fortunately another party of climbers was able to retrieve the item, though its temporary loss caused Mlle deKoninck great embarrassment on top of the Needle.

No tobacco was consumed on the climb, owing to the current difficulties in supply of pipes of acceptable quality, though a pinch would have been most welcome at the shoulder.

On descent from the route we were greeted by a number of onlookers, no doubt marvelling at the ability of a lady to climb such a bold route as this. One of these onlookers had with him a most excellent camera and was able to offer us a set of plates taken during our ascent. These I humbly submit for your readers' attention.

Yours aye,

Adrian Baugh
Alpine Club Member