04 October 2022
Post originally written in: Deutsch Information An automatic machine translation. Super fast and almost perfect.

Whether cycling, playing soccer, boxing or mountaineering - no matter which sport it was, women had to fight hard for a long time to be allowed to practice it. Even the beginnings of alpinism, it seemed for a long time, took place without female participation.

Not at all! - As numerous books and exhibitions of recent years show. With "... von wandernden Frauenzimmern" - mountains in the view of women in the Villa Schindler in Telfs, a fine exhibition about the mountain passion of women is added. Among the daredevils are also Tyrolean women.

Simply fantastic

"... von wandernden Frauenenzimmern" - mountains in the view of women takes a cultural-historical, sporting and artistic look at the exciting topic. Thanks to three curators - Christine Gamper, Sandra Marsoun-Kaindl and Karin Pernegger - who each contributed their knowledge, their skills.

Right at the beginning of the tour through the exhibition, visitors can put their own associations, their mountain images, fantasies and stories into words. For this purpose, a stack of postcards with the wording "For me, mountains are ..." is available. The statements already hung up show how diverse the approaches are. The statements range from "vital" to "simply fantastic" to "always in the way.

Wandering women room

From the very beginning, mountains have captivated women. As early as the 19th century, when the English and French first discovered their affinity for the high alpine mountain world, women were also found among the mountain pioneers. This is evidenced by books dedicated to female alpinists in recent years, such as Ingrid Runggaldier's "Frauen im Aufstieg". The excerpts printed on postcards from the lives and work of (early) female alpinists in the exhibition at Villa Schindler bear witness to this. Some curricula vitae painstakingly tracked down in historical sources.

Crinoline and hat

And it was made really difficult for female climbers to climb peaks. Even on the mountain, etiquette was not to be broken. Women had to wear hoop skirts that became waterlogged, increasingly heavy and/or icy. Thus, in bad weather, they lugged up to 30 kilograms extra up the mountain. Not to mention the dangers of getting caught on perennials or rocky outcrops. And they had to wear thin women's shoes, silk hats even!

No wonder that serious accidents often happened, female alpinists froze their toes off, fell ill and quite a few gave up completely exhausted. Which confirmed the men of creation that women were not made for the mountains. The exhibition "... von wandernden Frauenzimmern" shows a large number of pioneering women, courageous and tenacious personalities who never thought of giving in.

1552 the first

One of the first testimonies of climbing a mountain at all was provided by Regina von Brandis and her daughter Katharina Botsch. Together with the governor of Innsbruck, son-in-law and husband Jakob von Boymundt zu Payrsberg, they climbed the Große Laugenspitze in the Ulten Valley (South Tyrol) in 1552 (!). "This first ascent is also the earliest known news of women in alpinism," emphasizes Sandra Marsoun-Kaindl.

Also represented in the exhibition, the Innsbrucker Jenny Steiner. She left behind two beautiful tour books, which represent an exciting contemporary document. Extensive testimonies are rare. With a few exceptions, tour reports by women were hardly ever published in newspapers and magazines. When Emma Simcik from Telfer, together with a friend, was the first woman to complete the difficult Hohe Munde traverse without male accompaniment in 1936, this was worth a small report in the newspaper, but the name of the "Fräulein" was omitted.

Against all odds

Although they took a lot of gloating, were portrayed as unfeminine, female alpinists were not dissuaded from their passion. Some developed their own clothing to escape the dangers. Under their skirts - which were often shortened - they flashed pants; in the mountains they took off their skirts, only to slip them back on again shortly before returning. in 1896, the climber and skier Mizzi Langer-Kauba founded Vienna's first sports store, and in 1913 the first fashion line for female mountaineers appeared in the catalog.

Long way

It was not until the mid-1980s that women were able to become state-certified mountain guides in Switzerland, Austria and Italy. They were also denied admission to many alpine clubs for a long time, or were only allowed to join under discriminatory circumstances.

It is hard to believe, for example, that the Alpine Club of the Karwendler admitted the first woman to its ranks in 1975 with the mountaineer Veronika Sint-Menzel. In the run-up the request had led to most violent arguments. The second woman followed in the 2000s!

Although the first women's backpack was designed in the 1950s, it was not until 2005 that a backpack designed for women's anatomy went on sale.

Women have long since arrived in professional mountaineering and play in the top league internationally. Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, for example, whose protective suit from her Mount Everest ascent is on display in the exhibition. The extreme mountaineer has climbed all 14 eight-thousanders. Or the Tyrolean Angela Eiter, who is one of the world's best sports and competition climbers.

Art and mountains

The exhibition organizers also succeed in incorporating the theme of mountains into art. Curator Karin Pernegger presents four Tyrolean artists who not only make mountains their theme, but also enjoy traveling in the mountains themselves. Maria Peters, who lives in Vienna, has been on numerous expeditions to Nepal, among other places. Always with her her drawing utensils.

A sensual-psychological approach to the mountains is taken by the Schwaz artist Susanne Liner. While the South Tyrolean Sissa Micheli deals with alpine places of warlike conflicts. In addition, works that reflect a geological view of the Taschachferner, the Pitztal-raised Elisabeth Eiter.

The exhibition "... von wandernden Frauenzimmern" - mountains in the eyes of women thus presents itself as an exciting parcours with interesting views and incisive insights - and it is not boring for a minute.

"of wandering women's rooms..." - Mountains in the gaze of women

Until October 29, 2022
Villa Schindler

Obermarktstrasse 45

6410 Telfs

Tel: +43 52 62 69 61 1340
Opening hours: Wed 14-17, Thu 18-21, Sat 13-17 h

In the supporting program there are still some dates in October:

Lecture Veronika Sint-Menzel, The first woman at the Alpine Club of the Karwendler, on September 30 at 7 p.m.; curator tours on October 06 and 20 at 6 p.m. and on October 29 at 3 p.m.; on October 11 at 7 p.m. Carmen Gratl reads from Helma Schimke's book "Über allem der Berg".

And who now feels like an autumnal hike in the surroundings of Telfs: How about the Strassberghaus or the new Alplhütte?

Photos, unless otherwise indicated: © Susanne Gurschler

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