Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner - first woman to scale all 14, 8,000-meter peaks without supplementary oxygen


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.

New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out.

The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast.

Listen to Gerlinde Now!

Click here if you can't see the link below.

Show notes

  • 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

Social Media

Website - www.gerlindekaltenbrunner.at


Instagram - @gerlinde_kaltenbrunner

Feeling inspired week after week?

You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!

  1. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode

  2. If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!

  3. Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love.

Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!

Want to do more?

Please become a Patron and donate US$5 a month to help fund the runnings costs. Thank you.

Support the Tough Girl Podcast with a donation

  • Patreon logo
  • Facebook App Icon
  • Instagram App Icon
  • Pinterest App Icon
  • Twitter App Icon
  • YouTube Classic