First All-Fe­male As­cent of El Cap


Rid­ing the wave of non­con­for­mity that be­gan in the 1960s, Bev­erly John­son ( be­low, at Camp VI) and Sibylle Hech­tel made the first all- fe­male as­cent of El Cap via the

Triple Di­rect (VI 5.9 C2-), in 1973. Af­ter seven days of learn­ing how to haul bags that weighed more than both of them, throw­ing them­selves into a sea of gran­ite, and mus­ter­ing ev­ery ounce of grit they had, the two topped out the 2,900-foot be­he­moth. While the women were on the wall, Val­ley climbers wa­gered for and against them. Their as­cent marked a turn­ing point for fe­male climbers. Around this time, in 1972, Ti­tle IX be­came law, mak­ing sports equal op­por­tu­nity for men and women. Prior to its pass­ing, only 294,015 girls na­tion­wide par­tic­i­pated in sports. Ac­cord­ing to the 2015–2016 sur­vey by the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of State High School As­so­ci­a­tions, that num­ber has grown 1,030 per­cent to 3,324,326 fe­male par­tic­i­pants.

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