Welcome to Episode 48 of the Ω Powerband Podcast - a podcast dedicated to rock climbing in Aotearoa New Zealand. In this episode, I speak with the first woman to climb Mt Everest without supplemental oxygen, Lydia Bradey ONZM.
Lydia grew up in Christchurch and started her adventuring as a young teenager when she joined one of the local tramping clubs. She quickly developed a taste for tramps off the beaten track and above the bushline.
Tramping gave way to mountaineering (same same but different, she would say) and before you could blink she was climbing big aid lines in Yosemite and tackling 8000m peaks in the Himalaya.
In 1988, following her (near solo) ascent of Mt Everest without supplemental oxygen, Lydia became embroiled in an unsavory controversy when fellow Kiwi climbers (who had been members of her expedition) called her ascent into question.
The immediate aftermath of that experience was extremely difficult for Lydia, as rumours, half-truths and lies swirled around the New Zealand climbing community and she was powerless to stop it. Happily, after 2 years of darkness, she reclaimed her place in the mountains.
These days, when she isn't guiding climbers or skiers in some far flung corner of the globe, you'll find her hanging out with her partner and her cat in the Lake Hāwea township or maybe enjoying a cheeky sport climb on the cliffs around Wānaka.
In our conversation, we chat about her origins, her love of tramping, her love of aid climbing and, of course, the whole Everest thing.
If you want to know more about Lydia or to buy her book, click here.
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