|Margaret Anne Jackson [née Sanderson] (1843-1906)
I’m sorry Ms Jackson, you can’t be for real
Jackson was one of the most accomplished early women alpinists, albeit usually second on the rope to her husband. Nevertheless, she was prolific in her enthusiasm for bagging alps, often by new routes, such as the one she followed on the east face of the Weissmies in 1876, and pioneering the West Ridge of the Dom in 1878. The death of her beloved Edward in 1881 didn’t stop her, however, she simply teamed up with others, such as Swiss Guide Alois Pollinger, to make pioneering climbs like the first descent of the Ferpècle Arete of the Dent Blanche in 1884, the ascent of the Grand Dru in 1886, and the Grand Charmoz in 1887. After 1887, Jackson, like Lizzie Le Blond», became interested in the audacious concept of winter alpinism. And it was in this testing environment that Jackson made her most impressive achievement. In 1888 she undertook an outstanding 12-day blitz, making the first winter traverse of the Jungfrau and first winter ascents of three other Swiss peaks. During this great traverse the party had been forced to bivvy in an ice cave below a glacier, which resulted in a dose of severe frostbite for the doughty Jackson. She lost several toes as a consequence, and it effectively brought to an end her serious climbing career. Nevertheless, in the stiff upper-lipped tradition of the day, she never complained or mentioned such a trifling incident in the subsequent account of the expedition she wrote for the Alpine Journal. By the time she retired from alpinism in 1889 she had completed more than 140 Grandes Courses.
What they said: ‘She combined the elegance of fashionable society with the stoicism of the mountaineer.’