Cathy O’Dowd is the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest from both its north and south sides. She was also on the mountain in 1996 during the infamous storm that took the lives of several people and inspired the book Into Thin Air and the movie Everest.

In the late 1990’s, Cathy was completing her master’s degree in Media Studies in South Africa, when she saw a newspaper advertisement for a place on the first South African Everest expedition. Six months later, she became 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.

Cathy has been a professional speaker for nearly 20 years and has presented her message to companies in over 40 countries on six continents. She has written a book about her Everest experiences, called Just for the Love of It.

Cathy O’Dowd’s new project, The Business of Adventure is designed to help would-be adventurers answer the killer question: How are you going to pay for it? Find out more at, or on Twitter: @bizofadventure.

In our conversation, we discuss:

  • How Cathy ended up joining the first-ever South African Mount Everest expedition,
  • What happened on the mountain during the infamous storm of 1996 and during her own summit experience
  • What we can do when we face enormous challenges while pursuing our passion
  • How we can achieve any goal – even climbing Mount Everest – by taking one step at a time.
  • And much more!

Connect with Cathy

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030: How Cathy O’Dowd Climbed Mount Everest, One Step at a Time

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