100 years of women scaling new heights with the Pinnacle Club

The Pinnacle Club's Jagdula summit team in 1962
Thanks to a National Lottery grant, the Pinnacle Club is celebrating 100 years as the UK’s first national women’s rock-climbing club.

Today (26 March), the Pinnacle Club celebrates its 100th anniversary. The club have marked this achievement with the launch of The Pinnacle Club Centenary Project, funded by The National Lottery.

The funding has enable the club to create a website dedicated to sharing the incredible stories of their members with a wider audience.

“Today is an important day for the club and for women’s climbing in the UK. The vision they [the founders] had for a women’s climbing club has stood the test of time and is still going strong today.”

Alex Nicholson, President of the Pinnacle Club

Connecting with nature

Climbing provides an opportunity to get close to nature, and has incredible mental wellbeing and physical health benefits. The club hopes the series of blogs will inspire people of all backgrounds and ages, particularly women, to see how climbing can offer escapism from their everyday lives and build a stronger connection with our natural heritage.

The Pinnacle Club's first meeting in 1921
The Pinnacle Club's first meeting in 1921

Changing the narrative

The club also hope to shift the narrative of climbing, which has typically been a male dominated sport. These stories will shine a spotlight on women’s longstanding involvement in climbing and mountaineering, and hopefully inspire more women to get climbing!

"Through the Pinnacle Club, more women began to take the lead.”

Margaret Clennett, The Pinnacle Club’s archivist

The club was formed by a passionate group of women climbers who met on 26 March 1921 at the Pen y Gwryd Inn in Nant Gwynant in Snowdonia. The Pinnacle Club today has 170 members ranging in age from the youngest in their 20s and the oldest being in their 90s and has continued to blaze a trail for women rock-climbers since those early days.

The Pinnacle Club’s archivist Margaret Clennett, said: “The club was formed so that women could take full responsibility as independent climbers in their own right.

“As such, the strongest climber was always the leader and in mixed groups – given social expectations at the time – that almost always meant a man. Through the Pinnacle Club, more women began to take the lead.”

Josephine Peacock
Josephine Peacock, part of the Pinnacle Club's Jagdula expedition team

Trailblazers

The club’s longest standing member is Gwen Moffat. In 1953, she became the first female British mountain guide and climbed extensively in the UK and the Alps.

Club members Denise Evans and Josephine Peacock (then Scarr) were part of the Pinnacle Club’s Jagdula expedition to the Himalayas in 1962, which made the first ever ascent of Lha Shamma, an unclimbed peak of 21,000ft.

Rhona Lampard also reached the summit of Gasherbrum II in the Himalayas in 1984 as part of the first British all-women expedition to an 8000m peak.

Gwen Moffat
Gwen Moffat, the Pinnacle Club's longest standing member

A pinnacle moment

Speaking about the anniversary of the Pinnacle Club, its president, Alex Nicholson said:  “Today is an important day for the club and for women’s climbing in the UK. For now, the party will just be online, but we hope to be able to get together for a celebratory climb in North Wales in honour of our founders before too long.

"The vision they had for a women’s climbing club has stood the test of time and is still going strong today.”

The Pinnacle Club’s digitised photographs and recorded stories are now available on the club’s website.

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