Adventures and Reflections from Cathy O'Dowd

Adventures & Reflections
from Cathy O'Dowd

The team sets out from basecamp to climb Mount Logan.

What You Heard is Not What I Meant

One Key Way Communication Breaks Down In Teams and What You Can Do About It

A year ago I reached the summit of Mount Logan, the highest peak in Canada. The most important lesson I learnt from that expedition was the vital importance of clear communication within a team.

“I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” – mis-attributed to Alan Greenspan, among others

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Public Everest lecture, to support Heart Health

Four years ago Darren Tate, a family friend, had a major heart attack while out hiking on Blencathra in Cumbria. He was lucky to survive through the night, until he could be treated the next morning.

Young, fit and active, Darren was completely unaware he had a heart defect. Under the name Hearts of Cumbria, he then set up a campaign to get The Heart Centre at Cumberland Infirmary open 24hrs a day, rather than just from 9am to 5pm. Continue reading

The Grand Teton photographed from the summit of the Middle Teton.

30 years & counting

We had reached the short section of fixed rope below the Lower Saddle in the Grand Tetons when the youngster caught up with us. He had a huge rucksack and Michael joked that he was loaded like a pack mule. It turned out he was carrying gear for his father and younger brother who were far behind. “They’re slow,” he said, “Dad’s 45.” We started to laugh – both being over 45 ourselves – and he got that embarrassed look of the young having to deal with old folk. “Yeah, but my dad, he’s only 45 but he acts like he’s fifty!” Michael was one week shy of his fiftieth birthday.
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Cathy O'Dowd on the summit plateau of Kilimanjaro

From Kilimanjaro to Everest

Key moments in the journey of life.

Looking back at the course of a lifetime, there are certain moments where, if you’d made a different choice, you’d be living a completely different life. Given how experiences shape character, you’d probably be a different person. It’s twenty years since I became the first South African to climb Everest, but that epic, complex, controversial journey didn’t begin in Nepal. It began on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. And it began with one of those key moments.
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Team setting out from base camp on Mount Logan

Mount Logan on Skis – public lectures UK Nov/Dec

Most of my talks are closed events for corporate clients but here is something different!

In spring 2016 I was part of an Eagle Ski Club six-person team that tackled Mount Logan on skis, and one of four who reached the top. Mount Logan is the highest peak in Canada, and the second highest in North America. A giant slab of a mountain set deep in a remote icecap on the Yukon/Alaska border, it is notorious for bad weather.

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