Uncoiling the Ropes will be of great interest to many MI members as Clare’s story spans over half a century of Irish mountaineering history. As a child she fell under the spell of wild Irish landscapes and went on to become a regular hill walker at a time when few people ventured into the hills unless they were out searching for sheep. In the decades since then Clare has been a very active climber, both in Ireland and abroad (in the Alps, the Himalayas and the Americas) and her experiences, along with those of her husband Calvin Torrans, give a unique perspective on many of the achievements, trends and debates that have shaped the development of Irish climbing.
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clare Sheridan has been at the forefront of Irish climbing for decades and has long been a role model for women climbers. In 2014 she was the first woman to be awarded the Lynam medal by Mountaineering Ireland, and the Irish Times said, ‘She is to Irish mountaineering what Sonia O’Sullivan is to athletics and Katie Taylor is to boxing.’ Clare has written many articles for the Irish Mountain Log and co-edited numerous rock climbing guidebooks with her husband, climbing legend Calvin Torrans. She and Calvin have three sons. She is a retired primary school teacher and when she’s not away climbing, home is Bray, County Wicklow.
The book is due to be published in August 2020.