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Operation Moffat // Film Review

By Emily Thompson // I've been hiking up mountains most of my life and as such have a passion for reading and seeing films about other people's adventures and achievements. Unfortunately these are frequently dominated by men, most of whom are household names and well sponsored, enabling them to carve out careers in mountaineering and climbing.

Gwen Moffatt belaying Dave Thomas on Kern Knott’s Crack (VS 4b) in Cumbria. Gwen barefoot and Dave in nailed boots. Photo: an Engineer from Baghdad

Gwen Moffatt belaying Dave Thomas on Kern Knott’s Crack (VS 4b) in Cumbria.
Gwen barefoot and Dave in nailed boots.
Photo: an Engineer from Baghdad

 

It's rare to see women performing at this high level and even rarer for them to be well known. I still consider myself a newbie to climbing and can be a bit naive to the stars in this field. So 'Operation Moffat' was a great introduction to a female legend I really should have known more about. Gwen Moffat was the first female to achieve the status of British Mountain Guide in the 1940s and lead many female first ascents of climbing routes.

It was therefore refreshing to see a film by women about Gwen, a woman who really lead the way for women to carve their own way in this male dominated world. For Gwen climbing wasn't just a pastime it was a way of life, and Claire and Jen's film really shows how Gwen pushed boundaries and how climbing for her wasn't just a sport but a means for her to be in the mountains she loved, in her own words "mountains meant more to me than people."
Gwen Moffatt on Spiral Stairs, Dinas Cromlech (D) Photo: J R Less

Gwen Moffatt on Spiral Stairs, Dinas Cromlech (D)
Photo: J R Less

However, 'Operation Moffat' left me wanting to know more about Gwen now 91 years old - the film is framed by Claire's desire to push her own limits and be a better climber and for me there could have been so much more about Gwen and her achievements as a female legend that all women should know more about, and really should be more of a household name.

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