Gwen Moffat

Gwen Moffat was a beatnik before the term was invented. After experimenting with communal living in Wales and England, and indulging in all sorts of nefarious and dubiously legal practices, Moffat became an early fixture of the North Wales climbing scene in the late 1940s and early ’50s, climbing the test pieces of the day and hanging out with the boys. She paved the way for women's equality in climbing, proving that female crag rats are every bit as tough as men. Hitchhiking, roughing it in damp Welsh cottages, sleeping under hedges, even deserting from the army, Moffat did everything she could to avoid holding down a proper job and devote as much time as possible to climbing. Many adventures ensued in the Alps and Scotland, during which she began a career writing for BBC Radio before becoming the first woman to qualify as a British Mountain Guide, receiving her guide certificate from the BMC in 1953 and the ASCC in 1957, years before other women would join her and begin to redress the gender inequality in the profession. Since the 1970s, Moffat has carved a niche as a crime writer, setting her plots in wilderness areas from the Rocky Mountains to Sutherland, Scotland.