Entity Type:
Chadwick, Alison (died 1978)
Chadwick, Alison (died 1978)
Alison Chadwick is perhaps better known amongst today’s generation of mountaineers for the eponymous fund which bears her name and which supports British and Polish womens’ expeditions. However, in the 1970s Chadwick was clearly the finest female high-altitude mountaineer the UK had produced up to that point. She was easily streets ahead of the opposition having made the first ascent of Gasherbrum III (26,090 ft), the world’s 15th highest summit and for a decade the highest unclimbed mountain until Chadwick ascended it with a Polish woman. For several years this remained the fourth highest peak to have been climbed by any Brit, male or female and it will always remain the highest unclimbed summit to be bagged by women as well as the second highest mountain to have received a first British ascent. But despite all these nationalistic credentials, Chadwick was poorly known in the UK, partly due to the fact that she undertook much of her record breaking climbing with foreign expeditions (often Polish: she also married the Polish climber Janusz Onyszkiewicz and changed her married name to Chadwick-Onyszkiewicz). However, she was recognised by the cognoscenti, becoming one of the first women to be elected to membership of the Alpine Club after she had gained prominence by setting a British womens’ altitude record by climbing Noshaq (24,581 ft) in the Hindu Kush. Sadly, she lost her life in October 1978 during a summit attempt on Annapurna as part of Arlene Blum’s US womens’ expedition.
Standout climbs: Gasherbrum III, Karakorum; Noshaq, Hindu Kush.
Further reading: Annapurna, a woman’s place. Arlene Blum. Granada, 1980.

Biographical information is kindly supplied by Colin Wells.
2006-08-06 00:00:00
Maxine Willett
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Chadwick, Alison (died 1978)