Changing South

Changing South: Lydia Bradey


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Lydia Bradey is a truly remarkable New Zealander.

Bradey’s ascent of Mt Everest was achieved without supplementary oxygen, a world-first for a female and by a New Zealander of any gender.

Bradey completed the climb on her own after the male climbers she was with, fellow New Zealanders Rob Hall, Gary Ball and Bill Atkinson, had made their own, unsuccessful ascent of Everest days earlier. Bradey had returned to Base Camp on her own to see out inclement weather, but returned to make a solo attempt once it had improved.

Eventually arriving back in Kathmandu from her historic climb, Bradey discovered her New Zealand teammates were disputing her ascent, with claims she may have hallucinated and couldn’t have summited.

The ensuing fallout made headlines around the world and divided the climbing community in New Zealand.

Bradey’s ascent was eventually officially recognised and she has gone on to forge a hugely successful career as a mountain and ski touring guide.

This is the latest in a series Newsroom is running over summer, by Christchurch documentary-maker Gerard Smyth. The series, called Changing South, looks at life in the South Island – the people, the places and how events like the Christchurch earthquake have had a lasting impact.

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