Adventure and Presentation videos

Cathy O’Dowd’s Story

Cathy O’Dowd is the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, from both its north and south sides, and she remains an active adventurer today!

The years she spent on or around Everest were, for her, a degree ‘in living’. The insights she discovered about herself, and about individuals and teams under intense stress in the face of overwhelming challenge, are ones she has been sharing with her corporate audiences ever since. She has been a professional speaker for nearly 20 years and has presented her message to companies in over 40 countries on six continents. She is a Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association of UK/Ireland, who have given her their highest award, the Professional Speaking Award of Excellence. She is also a Global Speaking Fellow.

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Cathy O'Dowd award
Cathy O'Dowd award
Cathy O'Dowd award

Climber

Cathy O’Dowd is the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, from both its north and south sides. Her first ascent of Everest happened in the midst of the chaotic events that form of the basis of the ‘true story’ behind the Hollywood movie Everest.

Cathy, who grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, has climbed ever since leaving school. She was completing her Masters degree in Journalism, while working as university lecturer, when she saw a newspaper advert for a place on the 1st South African Everest Expedition. Six months later she was the first South African to summit Everest. Three years later she became the first woman in the world to climb the mountain from both sides. Finally she made one last expedition to Everest to try a new route on the Kangshung face. She has written a book about her Everest experiences, Just For The Love Of It.

The years she spent in the Himalaya were for her a degree ‘in living’. The insights she discovered about herself, and about individuals and teams under intense stress in the face of overwhelming challenge, are ones she has been sharing with her corporate audiences ever since. Her stories touch on themes of importance to anyone trying to run successful projects and get the best out of people.

Cathy’s most challenging Himalayan epic was as part of team forging a new route on an 8000 metre peak. Although Cathy herself did not reach the summit, two of her teammates did, doing the first ascent of Nanga Parbat via the Mazeno ridge, and winning the prestigious Piolet d’Or for their achievement. She has turned this experience into a fascinating interactive case-study of successful project execution of truly innovative goals.

Her 2019 expedition is a ski ascent of Mt Steele, a 5000 metre peak in the Canadian Yukon.

Author

Just for the Love of It
Cathy O’Dowd has written a book about her Everest experiences –  Just for the Love of It (translated into German as Aus Liebe Zum Berg). The latest edition includes an extra chapter, telling the story of her attempt to climb a new route on the east side of Everest, and made both the Amazon Mountaineering and New York Times Sport bestseller lists. It is available as a print book, an e-book, and an audio book.

Find out more about Cathy O’Dowd’s inspiring book, Just for the Love of It.

Activities & Adventures

Cathy is actively involved with charities focused on female leadership, notably the Rwenzori Women for Health project in Uganda, and the ASTRAIA Female Leadership Foundation in Germany.

She is also a jury member for the ISPO Innovations in Outdoor Products awards, and the European Adventurer of the Year award.

In her free time she does technical rock-climbing and ski-mountaineering. Cathy O’Dowd is currently living in Andorra, in the Pyrenees Mountains, while she pursues her speaking career, and explores the mountains of Europe.


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Clients love Cathy
Clients love Cathy