/ Who coined the phrase bouldering and who is Mrs Raeburn?

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winhill - on 27 Mar 2012
Two connected questions here, it gives a quote from a Mrs Harold Raeburn in Burbage, Millstone and Beyond, taken from Raeburn's Mountaineering Art:

It is greatly to be recommended to the girl novice,
and to all novices, to practise " bouldering " as much
as possible, and for the girl, to select these boulder
climbs, where activity and balance are of greater value
than muscular strength and arm-pulls. She will there,
often be able to show a more experienced and much
more powerful man, how a short piece of difficult rock
can be climbed with ease and grace. Unless the climb
is under ten feet in height, with a good turf landing, the
rope should always be put on. Below that height no
injury should occur to any young person who takes care
to alight a la chat, on feet and hands at the same time.


Although dated 1920, it was written a few years earlier before WW1 - so when did 'bouldering' start?

In the guide it is attributed to Mrs Harold Raeburn but in fact it was written by Ruth Raeburn, who was Raeburn's sister, not his wife (or is the BMC casting aspersions on their relationship?)

Or is it just that the male dominated patriachy can't conceive of a woman as anything else other than her relationship viz a viz a man and conspires to keep our sisters oppressed and downtrodden.... (cont p94)

I wonder if Craggy could use the stuff about girlies jumping down ten feet in their defence?
Marc C - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to winhill:
The term 'bouldering' may have been coined by a woman. But I've never witnessed anything that has made me demur with Chauncely-Phibes’ opinion of lady climbers - as stated in his seminal ‘Mountaineering for the Married Man’ (1911):

“In general – notwithstanding some freaks of nature – the male of the species is biologically advantaged in matters of leading. Studies have conclusively established that men have longer necks, cooler heads, more developed powers of concentration, greater athleticism, and greater powers of route-finding and navigation. Haply, as in may other areas of life, The Maker has established a natural harmony; for just as men are naturally endowed with the qualities required for leading up steep courses of rock, women have innate proclivities for subordination – perfectly suited to seconding. The fairer sex has (and this is amply evidenced by any disinterested observer of the human species) a psychological and emotional constitution that lends itself to admiring, hero-worshipping, and approval-seeking.

A lady’s voluptuous physique – whilst most pleasing to an admiring male’s eye – lacks the well-developed musculature of the male form. Her mind – whilst excellently suited to concentrating on quite extraordinarily detailed pieces of needlework, and even following quite complex political and philosophical debates that we men are wont to indulge in whilst enjoying our pipes on a capacious belay ledge – similarly lacks the steely resolve that characterises the cultivated male climber’s. Amid the manly terrain of mountains and high precipices, the more adventurous specimens of modern womanhood – whilst unable to emulate the skill and courage of her male mountaineering colleagues and chaperones – may gratify their desire for approval, affection, and love by following their husbands on courses of moderate severity.”










Monk - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Marc C:

Great that you are back on UKC - we've not seen a post like that for a long time.
winhill - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Marc C:
> (In reply to winhill)
> The term 'bouldering' may have been coined by a woman. But I've never witnessed anything that has made me demur with Chauncely-Phibes’ opinion of lady climbers - as stated in his seminal ‘Mountaineering for the Married Man’ (1911):

No, I'm not suggesting Raeburn coined it, there's always Eckenstein.

Chauncely-Phibes never recovered from his attempt to regrade Breast Stroke as a 'DD - one for the larger lady'.


Marc C - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to winhill: I like the phrase 'to alight like a chat' (not quite how I'd describe my usual dismounts!)

Ruth certainly seems to have been his sister - maybe they had a bit of a William/Dorothy Wordsworth-style relationship? She wasn't exactly a Lucy Creamer/Alizee Dufraisse lookalike judging from this photo... Incredible how they climbed in long skirts!


www.mcofs.org.uk/assets/getactive/p061-64_mount_38_.pdf
Alan Rubin - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to winhill: You should Google John Gill's website.(www.johngill.net---I think) He has a lengthy history of bouldering with lots of photos, etc. and most likely contains the answer to your question.
Mark Bull - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to winhill:

> In the guide it is attributed to Mrs Harold Raeburn but in fact it was written by Ruth Raeburn, who was Raeburn's sister, not his wife (or is the BMC casting aspersions on their relationship?)

As far as I can tell, the quote is actually from Raeburn himself: it's from Chapter 9, but only Chapter 10 (on ladies' dress) is credited to Ruth.

The book is online at http://archive.org/stream/mountaineeringa00raebgoog

Incidentally, there was no Mrs Raeburn: he never married.
winhill - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Mark Bull:
> (In reply to winhill)
>
> [...]
>
> As far as I can tell, the quote is actually from Raeburn himself: it's from Chapter 9, but only Chapter 10 (on ladies' dress) is credited to Ruth.
>
> The book is online at http://archive.org/stream/mountaineeringa00raebgoog
>
> Incidentally, there was no Mrs Raeburn: he never married.
That's interesting, I was on the same site but looked at the text version and got confused, I think probably due to the OCR being a bit crap.

So the guide should read Mr Harold Raeburn or just Harold Raeburn.
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Mark Bull - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to winhill:

The OED entry for "bouldering" has a contemporary (but no earlier) reference:

Mountaineering. Practice climbing on large boulders.
1920 G. W. Young Mountain Craft iv. 152 The introduction to climbing customarily... is practice upon single rocks, low cliffs, quarries and erratic boulders, with or without the aid of a rope held from above. This ‘bouldering’, or problem climbing... is of little use as commencing practice.
1954 W. Noyce South Col iv. 63 John spotted a pointed boulder some thirty feet high by the wayside. Daring routes were made up it; and henceforward bouldering... became a popular pastime.


George Abraham's "Complete Mountaineer" from 1907 has the following passage, but does not use the term bouldering as such:

"The best plan for the beginner would be to learn 'the feel' of the rocks on some small boulders or diminutive crags where a sudden descent would not prove dangerous."



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