Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner's interest in mountain climbing developed while she was growing up in Spital am Pyhrn, Austria.
Her greatest dream—climbing an 8,000-meter peak—came true at the age of 23, when she succeeded in climbing the fore-summit of Broad Peak in Pakistan, at a height of 8,027 meters. She then put the money she earned as a nurse into different trekking and climbing expeditions to the Himalaya.
After climbing the Nanga Parbat—her fifth 8,000-meter peak—in 2003, she decided to become a professional mountain climber.
Today, Kaltenbrunner has climbed all 14 main peaks in the 8,000-meter series.
When she reached the summit of K2 (8,611 meters), she became the first woman to scale all 8,000-meter peaks without the use of supplementary oxygen. During this episode Gerlinde shares more about her journey into mountaineering and takes us up on K2, she shares lessons learned and how she moved forward after dealing with a friends death on the mountain.
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Where her love of the mountains came from
Being inspired at 8 years old by her priest
Loving nature from a young age
Watching a lecture on K2 and being inspired at 16 years old
Going to Pakistan at 23 to climb her first 8,000m peak
Telling her parents about her mountaineering dreams
Wanting to climb without oxygen
Working as a nurse and doing as much endurance training as possible
Cycling 40km to work and back again
Spending as much time as possible in the mountains
Finding the right people to climb with
Female role models in mountaineering
How her grandmother inspired her passion
Climbing Broad Peak (8,027m) in Pakistan
Spending 6 days in Islamabad
Trying to save a life on the mountain
The importance of drinking water at high altitude
The importance of routine in high altitude climbing
Being very focused and not being able to enjoy the summit of Broad Peak
Getting addicted to the high mountains
Having a break of 4 years to save money and holiday time
Why the learning should never end
Being discriminated against and deciding to go in small teams
Changing her strategy on climbing mountains
Being more selective on who she climbed mountains with
Climbing Nanga Parbat - the ninth highest mountain in the world at 8,126 metres (26,660 ft) above sea level
Being ignored on the mountain by other climbers
Not being allowed to break trail
Making life long friends on the mountains
Making 7 attempts on K2
Evaluating risks while on the mountain
Walking for 39 hours to get back to base camp and away from the oncoming storm
Losing a friend on the mountain
Dealing with the aftermath of a death on the mountain and figuring out whether to keep climbing or not
Accepting the accident
Deciding to change the route on K2 and go from the Chinese side
Being very disciplined at high altitude
Drinking at least 6 litre of water to help with blood circulation
Being trapped in a snowstorm for 3 nights at over 7,950m
The importance of staying calm and maintaining a positive attitude in tough situations
Accept the situation and keep your mind positive and strong
The importance of team work and tolerance
Deciding to continue with the K2 climb when others decided to turn back
Having to accept the power of nature
Getting another chance to summit
Being on the summit of K2
Sitting in silence for 50 mins to take it all in
Having a life long dream come true
Website - www.gerlindekaltenbrunner.at
Instagram - @gerlinde_kaltenbrunner
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