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Cathy O’Dowd - 1st woman to climb both sides of Mount Everest!

Tough Girl - Cathy O'Dowd

Cathy grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a child she was not sporty and labelled herself as an academic. As a shy person, she embraced rock climbing at university and during this podcast we learn more about Cathy, her drive, and how she went onto become the fist women to climb Mount Everest from both sides.

Take a listen now! - Hit the play button below!!

Show notes

  • What it was like growing up in South Africa

  • Being terrible at sport at young age and labelling herself as “academic & square”

  • Why she loved rock climbing and how her passion progressed

  • As an introvert and shy girl growing up, rock climbing allowed her to develop her social skills while also using her mind to solve climbing problems

  • How she ended up getting on the South African Team to go and climb Everest & why it was never a goal for her

  • Being inspired by Arlene Blum - Annapurna: A Woman's Place

  • Trying to find the opportunity to climb big mountains!

  • What she learnt whilst being on and around Mount Everest

  • Knowing she was going to make it to the top and the boost it gave to her confidence

  • Why she has always been careful on the mountains and why you can be to careful

  • What she learnt about failure from the expedition

  • Dealing with the negative media coverage and coming home to people who had opinions about her and every decision she made while on the mountain

  • Finding the opportunity in the mess

  • Being more prepared to try things

  • Being process driven, rather than goal driven

  • Attempting a new route on one of the world’s top 10 mountains – the Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat

  • The different challenges and adventures that have impacted her the most

  • Dealing with risk - in high stress environments and how’s she applied what she’s learned in the mountains to every day life

  • Why she likes to try new things! From skiing down 6,000 metre peaks, to dog sledding in the Arctic!

  • Waiting for the stars to align & having patience!

  • Shout out to Alistair Humphrys and his Micro Adventures

  • Money, finding the right partners & serendipity!

  • Why she thinks of life like a journey

  • Her next challenge!

Learn more about Cathy by visiting her website!

Say hi to Cathy on twitter @CathyODowd - I’m also on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL


Cathy explains how she came to write Just For The Love Of It: "I had always wanted to write a book and finally I had a story that seemed likely to interest other people. I’ve always felt that a lot of mountaineering literature is overly obsessed with stiff-upper-lip tales of overcoming technical difficulties or with portraying climbers as suicidal maniacs. I wanted to write a book that captured that joy that I find in the process of climbing and that shared honestly the emotional journey of the climb, what it really feels like to be floundering around on the side of the world’s highest mountains."

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