About Cathy O'Dowd

Climber, author and motivational speaker. 1st woman in the world to climb Everest from both sides. Lover of all things mountain! Follow my adventures on Instagram @CathyODowd.

Ski Mountaineering in Kyrgyzstan


From 16 March to 6 April 2022 I joined two friends in exploring the Terskey Ala-Too, a mountain range in the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan. It stretches south [...]

Ski Mountaineering in Kyrgyzstan2023-06-13T19:15:48+02:00

Access All Areas


Is it right to demand that everyone have access to all of the great outdoors? I am often asked how I feel about the photographs of queues on Everest. The [...]

Access All Areas2022-01-18T11:12:41+01:00

‘What are you doing next?’


“What are you doing next?” I hate that question. I know why you ask. I’ve asked it myself, talking to climbers or adventurers I admire, and winced inwardly as I [...]

‘What are you doing next?’2020-05-23T20:36:46+02:00

Not all adventurers are born equal


There is a fashion right now for blog posts telling you that your dream/adventure/expedition is totally possible. Just Do It! Throw your fears to the wind! Believe in yourself! Stop [...]

Not all adventurers are born equal2020-04-30T20:07:13+02:00

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 [...]

30 years & counting2020-04-27T21:15:44+02:00

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 [...]

From Kilimanjaro to Everest2020-05-23T16:35:19+02:00

The Art and Joy of Serendipity


Why the power of serendipity means you should focus on gaining skills and experiences, rather than achieving goals. Mountain climbing would seem to be the ultimate goal-driven activity, everything resting on [...]

The Art and Joy of Serendipity2020-05-18T18:09:50+02:00

What is holding you back?


When to stop focusing forward and instead look at what is holding you back. With snow still sadly sparse in the Pyrenees, I found myself out rock climbing with friends on [...]

What is holding you back?2020-04-30T23:55:46+02:00

Risks too big to comprehend


“No climber ever expects to be in this position. When I was planning Lhotse, the word “earthquake” never entered my mind.” From Alan Arnette’s blog. [...]

Risks too big to comprehend2020-04-28T13:26:16+02:00

Why to make it up as you go along


The difference between ‘fluid decision-making’ and ‘making it up as you go along’ can be hard to detect. I’ve just returned home after a nine-day ski-tour in the Ecrins, a [...]

Why to make it up as you go along2020-05-19T16:12:09+02:00

The art of serendipity and skiing


While I am very much a believer in planning and preparation, the fact remains that the adventures I enjoy most are often the ones that unfold spontaneously. I've just returned [...]

The art of serendipity and skiing2020-05-19T16:12:26+02:00

Bolivian Andes Corderilla Real


In June 1991 I joined the Mountain Club of South Africa's Centenary Expedition to the Corderilla Real in Bolivia. There I climbed with Stephen Kelsey and Graham Wittaker, both [...]

Bolivian Andes Corderilla Real2020-05-17T16:40:46+02:00

En route to Everest via Aconcagua


In February 1998 I attempted Aconcagua by the standard route but turned back at Berlin camp to help less experienced team members descend in bad weather. In January 2000 [...]

En route to Everest via Aconcagua2020-05-17T15:54:06+02:00

The Attraction of Climbing


This article describes an ascent of the Angus-Leppan route on the Sentinel, one of the classic multi-pitch rock climbs in the Drakensberg. It was first published in Southern Rock #2 [...]

The Attraction of Climbing2020-05-01T00:03:18+02:00

Ruwenzori: the mountains of the moon


In June 1990 I went on my first mountaineering expedition, to the Ruwenzori mountains in central Africa. This range has been linked with the fabled Mountains of the Moon, for [...]

Ruwenzori: the mountains of the moon2020-04-27T20:51:10+02:00

The Great Storm of 1996


The most famous storm in the history of Everest. Four teams sitting on the South Col, wondering whether to go for the summit in the morning, despite the marginal weather. [...]

The Great Storm of 19962020-05-23T16:36:49+02:00

Why take the risk?


In January of 1992 I was sharing a flat in London with Stephen Kelsey, Graham Wittaker and his girlfriend Carolyn. On the wall of our room I found a [...]

Why take the risk?2020-04-28T10:07:20+02:00

My first time to the top of the world


Wits University in Johannesburg was where I did my undergraduate degree and their Mountain Club was where I began climbing. This article  was written for the Wits Mountain Club [...]

My first time to the top of the world2020-05-23T16:37:16+02:00
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