The Golden Age and The Feminine Mystique
The 1960s ushered in the Golden Age of Yosemite Valley. In 1967, Liz Robbins, along with her husband, Royal, ticked the
Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome, becoming the first woman to climb a VI big wall ( photo below shows them on the summit after their climb). Liz also attempted the Nose in 1967 with Royal, but the pair rappelled after 600 feet due to heat and insufficient water. In 1971, Johanna Marte became the first woman to scale El Cap—as a non-leading client of Royal Robbins. The 1960s also introduced Betty Friedan’s book The
Feminine Mystique, which inspired thousands of women to find fulfillment beyond the role of housewife. Until its release, women spent 55 hours per week on chores and child-rearing, and less than 10 percent of all doctors, lawyers, and engineers were women. The women who pursued climbing were on the fringe of an already-fringe society. They rejected cultural norms, put off children, and pursued life with their own sense of purpose.