Lydia Bradey: First Woman To Climb Mount Everest Without Oxygen

Lydia was the first female climber of Mount Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen in 1988. She has scaled Everest six times now. She has completed 10 climbs above 8000 meters and more than 35 adventures above 6000 meters.

Her Acsent To The Top Of The World


Bradley had plenty of experience in trekking, having completed numerous climbs in New Zealand’s Southern Alps since she was a teenager. Additionally, her strong determination to push her boundaries to pursue her passion for mountaineering made her the first woman to achieve enormous success in climbing the tallest peak without supplementary oxygen.

A year ago, before her climb to Mt Everest, Lydia successfully climbed Gasherbrum II, an 8035-meter peak in Pakistan, without the use of supplementary oxygen. This climb boosted her confidence in climbing the highest peak without relying on additional oxygen.

On October 14, 1988, after a failed attempt to climb Everest from the South Pillar with a group of climbers, she was successful to embark on her journey from the Southeast Ridge route on her own. She ascended on the 13th from Camp 2 to Camp 4, then set off early on the 14th from the South Col. She persisted despite climbing alone and lacking fixed ropes, passing the South Summit and Hillary Step, to eventually reach the main summit at around 4 p.m.It took her 12 hours to reach the summit. She arrived at her tent well after dusk, completely fatigued. She spent the following days on the South Col alone, sleeping until she was ready to descend to Camp 2. On October 16, she arrived safely back at Base Camp.

Lydia Bradey Gallery From Instagram

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Controversy About Her Claim

Controversy About Lydia Bradey's Claim

Bradey used the South Col route without a permit and her lone, oxygen-free ascent was so unbelievable that it was met with utter disbelief by some. Due to the fear of getting banned from the mountain for ten years, Lydia initially withdrew her claim to the summit out of concern which raised more controversy about the issue.

But later, she stood by her claim and accepted a 2-year ban. Later, when New Zealand Alpine Club Association acknowledged her historic ascent, the controversy was put to rest. It was 10 years later, after her heroic climb, her achievements were considered to be true.

Early life

Mountaineer Lydia Pounamu Bradey was born on October 9, 1961, in Christchurch, New Zealand, to Royce and John Bradey. Her father was mostly absent for most of her childhood, leaving Lydia and her mother to struggle financially.

She eventually discovered solace and a passion for mountain climbing as a teen. She set off on her first wilderness journey when she was just 14 years old, and by the time she was 17, she had ascended Mount Cook and Mount Aspiring.

Bradey embarked on a lengthy four-year worldwide climbing tour when she was 19 years old. Her voyage included an excursion to Alaska’s Denali and an astonishing ten ascents of Yosemite’s large walls. Notably, seven of these ascents were made by female climbers for the first time.

Lydia Bradey Achievements

1988 - Lydia and Marc Batard, after climbing Everest.
1988 – Lydia and Marc Batard, after climbing Everest.

Apart from making history by being the first woman to climb Everest without additional oxygen support, she has other notable achievements as well.

She earned a physiotherapy degree from the University of Auckland in 1994, and in 1998 she finished an acupuncture diploma program. In addition to holding the Canadian Level 2 “Avalanche Forecasting” certification, the BHSc(Physio), being a licensed physiotherapist, and becoming an International Mountain and Ski Guide (IFMGA) in 2000, she is also a professional inspirational speaker.

Bradey has also received the title of Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the 2020 New Year Honors for his contributions to climbing.

She also published her book “Lydia Bradey: Going Up Is Easy” in 2015. She pens about her ascent of Everest without the use of oxygen in the book.


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A post shared by Lydia Bradey (@lydiabradey)


At the age of 61, Lydia Bradley is still trying to better herself. She is an inspiration to all the women mountaineers. And being a feminist herself, she constantly pushes women to do their best. With an absent father, her mother became her role model, she has always been a woman who had something to prove.


Traveller, Travel Blogger and SEO Expert who combines his love for exploration with his talent for writing and digital marketing.

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