25 May 2017

First Kiwis summit world's seventh highest mountain

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:34 pm on 25 May 2017

Lydia Bradey – the first woman to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen – was part of the group which conquered Dhaulagiri 816 in Nepal.

Bradey tells Jesse Mulligan that the challenges and beauty of Dhaulagiri 816 made it one of the best summits she's ever done.

"It hurts to walk uphill in not much oxygen and lots of snow, but the views were fantastic."

Dhaulagiri 816 is an especially remote mountain which isn't climbed very often because quite a few things have to come together, Bradey says.

You need good snow conditions, low avalanche hazards and you have to reckon with high winds.

Then there's the gruelling week-long walk along dangerous cliff tracks to even reach base camp.

Yet it's just these conditions which create the beauty, says Bradey.

"The cloud formations around Dhaulagiri were art works every day."

But the sights weren't all rosy.

Along the way, the group met many children living in poverty, including one that may have died if they had turned up in time to treat an infected foot, she says.

 Seeing poverty in places which are remote even for Nepal was especially tough, Bradey says.

"There isn't that essence of hope."

All ten of the sherpas working with her group made the summit the 8167-metre mountain, which is a rarity, Bradey says.

"Almost all of them were young, really hard-working and super motivated and this was their first 8,000-metre peak. So everyone was excited."

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