In 1988, 27-year-old Lydia Bradey, from New Zealand, became the first woman to summit Everest without supplementary oxygen. Her feat was shrouded in controversy the moment she arrived at the bottom of the mountain. Her team had failed in their bid to reach the peak via the South Pillar, so Bradey, alone, decided to head up the Southeast Ridge. The feat was so unbelievable, at the time—a woman, alone, with no supplementary oxygen—that many simply didn’t believe her. It didn’t help that she didn’t have a permit for that approach and had to be cagey about her claim to reach the top out of fear she’d be banned from further climbs. Nevertheless, in the decades since, the mountaineering world has come to put the controversy aside and celebrate her achievement for what it is. The short film is Bradey, in her own words, telling the story.


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