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Julie Tullis: Gender and the emotional labour of climbing the ‘Mountain of Mountains’

Hall, Jenny ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5200-4308 (2023) Julie Tullis: Gender and the emotional labour of climbing the ‘Mountain of Mountains’. In: Hall, Martin ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5671-8175 and Hall, Jenny ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5200-4308, (eds.) Mountains & The Politics of Representation. 1 ed. Liverpool Studies in the Politics of Popular Culture . United Kingdom, Liverpool University Press

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Julie Tullis was a formidable mountaineer and the world’s first female high-altitude mountaineering filmmaker, forming the “highest film team in the world” (Tullis, 1987, p.6), with accomplished mountaineer and filmmaker Kurt Diemberger. Together they produced a roster of awarding winning films that covered the first French and Austrian expeditions to the Himalayan peak Nanga Parbat (8126m) in 1982 and 1985. Tullis and Diemberger also filmed the 1983 Italian ascent of K2 (8611m) in the Himalayas and made their first summit attempt of the mountain. Despite failing, it sealed Tullis’ love of K2 as her “mountain of mountains” (Tullis, 1987, p.199). Julie was the first British woman to climb Broad Peak (8051m) in the Himalayas during the 1984 Swiss expedition to K2, which for the second time Kurt and Julie failed to summit. Her growing celebrity and reputation resulted in her being the first British woman to be invited to climb Everest (8849m) by the unclimbed Northeast Ridge in 1985. The Everest expedition was frustrated by poor weather and fatalities, leading Julie to feel a lack of fulfilment and strong desire to return. Kurt and Julie made two further attempts to climb K2 during the black summer of 1986, making her the first British woman to summit the mountain, on 4 August. However, Julie was unable to descend and it was to prove fatal. Despite Tullis’ achievements and significant public profile, like many elite women mountaineers, she has not received the recognition of her male contemporaries. Nor, has her 1986 autobiography Clouds From Both Sides been recognised as a mountaineering classic. Gender is consequential in mountaineering and “for more than two centuries, ideas of what good climbing is, have had the effect of policing who gets to be a climber” (Rak, 2021, p.5), and shapes how adventurous and heroic feats are recorded, represented and published.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0199.8-200.35 Mountaineering
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
School/Department: York Business School
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/7588

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