Dorothy Pilley Richards

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Dorothy Pilley Richards
Dorothy Pilley - Secretary of the British Women's Patriotic League, c.1922.jpg
Dorothy Pilley - Secretary of the British Women's Patriotic League, c.1922
Born Dorothy Eleanor Pilley
Occupation Writer & Mountaineer
Notable work Climbing Days, 1935

Dorothy Pilley Richards (16 September 1894 in Camberwell, London – 24 September 1986 in Cambridge) was a prominent female mountaineer. She began climbing in Wales and joined the Fell and Rock Climbing Club, later helping found The Pinnacle Club in 1921.

In the 1920s, she climbed extensively in the Alps, Britain, and North America after her marriage to educator, literary critic, and rhetorician Ivor Armstrong Richards.

In 1928, she made the celebrated first ascent of the north north west ridge of the Dent Blanche, with Joseph Georges, Antoine Georges and her husband [1], which she described in her well-regarded memoir, Climbing Days (1935).[2]

Pilley’s great-great-nephew Dan Richards has written a biography of her life, published Faber in 2016 and also called Climbing Days.[3][4]


  1. ^ Alpine Club Guide Books: Pennine Alps Central (1st ed.). The Alpine Club, London. 1975. pp. 107–109. ISBN 090052314X. 
  2. ^ Dorothy Pilley Richards (1935). Climbing Days (1st ed.). London: G. Bell and Sons. 
  3. ^ "Climbing Days". Faber & Faber. Retrieved 2017-10-26. 
  4. ^ Norbury, Katharine (26 June 2016). Book of the Day: Climbing Days by Dan Richards – review The Guardian



Photos of Dorothy Pilley
A photo of 'the Pinnacles' (members of The Pinnacle Club). Dorothy Pilley is on the back row, second from the left. 
Dorothy Pilley in alpine mountaineering kit. 
Double photo showing (left) I. A. Richards and (right) Dorothy Pilley. 
Photos taken by Dan Richards of the original photos thought to date from the 1920s-30s.