?Himalaya-Girls? ? A Media Analysis of the first and only Austrian Women?s Himalayan Expedition
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
SPORT FOR ALL History of a Vision Around the World - 19th ISHPES CONGRESS
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
In 1994 the Women?s Shisha Pangma Expedition was the first all-female mountaineering team from Austria to target one of the fourteen highest Himalayan peaks. Under the leadership of the Austrian journalist Gertrude Reinisch a team of fourteen female climbers attempted from March to May 1994 to reach the summit of Shisha Pangma (8013 m) in Tibet. The climbing team included also a Polish, a German-American and three female climbers from Tibet. In addition the staff on-site consisted also of Nepalese male Sherpas and a film documentary team. In order to obtain financial and organizational support for their project the female alpinists were busy to gain public attention. Therefore the whole endeavour was dedicated to the memory of Wanda Rutkiewicz, by then the most successful female mountaineer in the Himalayas who had disappeared 1992 while climbing Kangchenjunga (8586 m).Moreover the marketing strategy of the team followed the example of the successful American Women?s Annapurna Expedition in 1978: the Austrian team adapted the provocative slogan ?A woman?s place is on top? printed on T-Shirts and sweaters.
The media response in press and television was indeed huge and offers an insight on the relation of gender and mountaineering in Austria. Especially after the successful ascent of the summit the expedition was overshadowed by ongoing critics. Team-conflicts were stressed, whereas climbing skills and leadership abilities were disputed.
In my presentation I want to discuss gender constructions in the media representations of the female alpinists before, during and after the all-female expedition in 1994. Consequently, the results are embedded in a wider debate about the importance of gender in the context of mountaineering in Austria after 1945.