Family Album with Lydia Bradey

Lydia Bradey, the first woman to have climbed Mt Everest without oxygen, reveals her life in pictures.

2012 - Lydia on the Minarets, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.
Michael Chapman-Smith.

2012 - Lydia on the Minarets, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

Lydia Bradey was the first woman to have climbed Mt Everest without oxygen – and remains the only New Zealander to have done so. She'smade three Everest ascents,  and is one of New Zealand's most high-achieving and experienced high-altitude mountaineers. Her personal journey is just as fascinating – a non-sporting only child, raised by a single mother, with an enduring ambition to climb 8000-metre peaks.

Bradey tells of her historic Everest ascent where she climbed oxygen-free to the summit at the age of 27 in Going Up is Easy, which is co-written with with Laurence Fearnley.

 1965 -  

1965 - Lydia aged 4.
Lydia Bradey collection

1965 - Lydia aged 4.

My first snow at 4 years old and first (rather tiny) snowman -plonked right in the middle of the path to our front door of the Christchurch house, split into two flats, and that we shared with Nigerian students. I particularly like my snowman's red necktie, and watched sadly as he eventually became so short he was just a head. The hat I was wearing has special importance:  it was blue and white with paper-cut dolls across it that Royce, my mother knitted.I had red gumboots. Proud as. 

1988 -At camp two at 6400m, the morning after coming down from the South Col after climbing Everest,

What to say … still organising my equipment, sitting in the sun, still thinking my friends were climbing  OK on the SW face of Everest and were going to be OK. Looking forward to celebrating our ascents together back at base camp … stoked with my achievement.

1988 - Lydia and Marc Batard, after climbing Everest.
Lydia Bradey collection

1988 - Lydia and Marc Batard, after climbing Everest.

1988 -  Me and Marc Batard — who set a speed record that year for the ascent of Everest — after climbing Everest, Tyangboche Monastery, Khumbu Valley, Nepal,.

Don't you love this – this is after I first climbed Everest, my legs weren't very thick at that point, and it looks like I'm wearing some kind of mini-kaftan.  I'm standing next to a very good climber and I was as proud of his ascent as I was of mine. Still, behind that smile I was extremely sad … 50 per cent of my expedition had died on the mountain and two of them some of the best friends I'd ever made in the hills.

 2012 -  On the Minarets, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand. 

1988 - Lydia at camp 2, at 6400m.
Lydia Bradey collection

1988 - Lydia at camp 2, at 6400m.

 Michael Chapman-Smith.

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This was a perfect guided climb with a local man Michael, half from Lake Hawea and half big city Auckland. We had climbed up the west face of the Minarets' 3040m in the icy shade and finally burst out into the early morning sunshine, to a view that busted big smiles on our faces.Aoraki/Mt cook behind me, the Tasman Glacier below, the ocean to the west, the plains in the distance, a friend … what could be better?

Wanaka climber and author Lydia Bradey.
Thierry Huet Photography

Wanaka climber and author Lydia Bradey.

 - Stuff

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