“I was actually really bad at sports at school, but it is my love of the mountains and nature, as well as the people with whom I share these passions, that motivates me to explore wild places, and to climb.
In 1988, I became the first woman in the world to climb Mt Everest without supplementary oxygen. Twenty years later, I guided a group up Everest, reaching the summit for the second time on May 24, 2008. To date, I am still the only New Zealander to have climbed Everest without oxygen and the only New Zealand woman to have climbed it twice.
I currently live in Lake Hawea, near Wanaka with my partner Dean Staples, who is also a mountain guide. Together we hold eight ascents of Everest, and he was the first Kiwi to climb Everest from both the north (Tibetan) and the South (Nepali) sides… but I promise that we don’t talk about Everest all the time!
In late 2010, I travelled to Nepal with international guiding company Adventure Consultants to guide a group to the summit of Ama Dablam. This peak is 6956m and is referred to as the “Matterhorn of the Himalayas” due to its towering ridges and sheer faces.
Just before I left for Nepal, I was endowed with some gorgeous pieces of Icebreaker to wear on the journey. One in particular became the centre-piece of my whole Himalayan wardrobe. My GT260 Quantum Hood in Belize is singularly the most technical yet beautifully designed long sleeved top I have ever worn.
As a climber and high altitude Mountain Guide, I need to carry heavy kitbags of climbing equipment when travelling, which limits what I am able to carry as day to day wear. Yet as well as climbing some of the highest mountains in the world, I need great garments for a variety of other tasks:
In Nepal, we met with officials in the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism (and needed to look smart!), we dined out with our clients in Kathmandu, we packed loads for yaks, we trekked into the base camp at the bottom of the mountain and we drank tea in dirt-floored tea-houses. My Quantum Hood looked clean and elegant in basically any situation, even when it had brushed against the occasional yak on the trek in!
Per Thellersen from Denmark, our climbing Sherpa Sange and I made up the small advance party of three which reached the summit of Ama Dablam on November 4th 2010 in perfect weather. The following day, six others climbed to the top.
Although the members of our group were from different countries, almost everyone was wearing an Icebreaker! One of our strong Sherpa team also wore an Icebreaker, and had done so on several Everest summits, an ascent of Kanchenjunga and two ascents of Makalu, respectively the third and fifth highest peaks in the world. He surely needs a new Icebreaker!
Sherpa climbers do an incredible amount of physically intense and sometimes dangerous work at high altitude. In bitingly cold winds, they carry very heavy loads for the team and forge ahead to fix ropes for the climbers to make a safe ascent. This year the summit pyramid was hard blue ice and even after the ropes had been fixed, extreme care and strenuous work was required to climb to the top. But the view from the summit – right in the face of Everest, Barunste and Makalu – has to be one of the most amazing views in the world!”
- Lydia Bradey – Mountaineer, Mountain Guide and Motivational Speaker http://www.lydiabradey.com/