1970s Ireland had a message for Clare Sheridan: ‘Girls don’t climb.’
But in an era when there was no shortage of voices telling women how they should behave, Clare wasn’t listening. Fresh out of convent boarding school, she was determined to venture onto steep rock and see the world from a different perspective.
Climbing quickly became her passion, and Clare’s thirst for adventure was matched only by her courage. She was soon recognised as a pioneering leader by the top climbers of the day, not least Belfast mountaineer Calvin Torrans, the love of her life, who she met on her first trip to the Alps. They have been climbing together ever since, tackling difficult routes on high mountains all over the world and achieving a phenomenal succession of first ascents on Irish cliffs, even as they raised a family of three.
In this compelling memoir, Clare recreates in vivid detail the fears, the triumphs and the losses of a lifetime of heart-stopping adventures. Highly engaging and disarmingly honest, Uncoiling the Ropes gives a rare insight into the experience of a woman who has beaten her own path through the male-dominated world of mountaineering.
With its reflections on risk and courage, motherhood, self-belief and the joy of living fearlessly, this thought-provoking memoir is a powerful read for climbers and non-climbers alike.