• Mont Blanc. Marc Kargel/Unsplash
    Mont Blanc. Marc Kargel/Unsplash

How's this for a great new story!

Elise Wortley has summited some of the tallest peaks in the Scottish Highlands wearing full Edwardian gowns.

She’s retraced mid-century explorations in vintage tweed coats. She’s traversed Iran’s Valley of Assassins wearing a 1930s Burberry Mac trench coat and hobnail boots.

When Wortley heard about Henriette d’Angeville’s historic ascent up Mont Blanc in 1836, she knew it was her next project.

D’Angeville (1794-1871) hiked to the mountain’s summit, climbing it with nothing more than a walking staff, 18 bottles of wine, 26 roast chickens, 3 pounds of chocolate, a feather boa, and a lot of other gear that might make modern mountaineers scratch their heads.

“It’s crazy,” Wortley told GearJunkie. “There weren’t outdoor clothes for women back then, so [d’Angeville] actually made it herself. That’s why it’s quite ridiculous.”

When Wortley departs Chamonix on foot on 1 September this year, she’ll be wearing a nearly identical version of the 12kg wool and cotton outfit. If everything goes according to plan, she’ll summit the mountain on the same day d’Angeville did 188 years ago.

Her goal is to draw attention to history’s female adventurers and to inspire the next generation.

Good luck Elise!

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