Magazine article Geographical

Feeling on Top of the World

Magazine article Geographical

Feeling on Top of the World

Article excerpt

South African mountaineer Cathy O'Dowd was the first woman to climb Everest from both its south and north sides. She has just completed a book about her Himalayan experiences

WHAT WAS THE FIRST OVERSEAS PLACE THAT YOU VISITED? It must have been England when I was about 11.1 remember all the pigeons in the square by South Africa House. There were hundreds of them and they would come and sit on your arm and you could feed them.

WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF HEAVEN ON EARTH? Being in a mountain wilderness with all the time in the world to experience it. There are a whole bunch of actual places: Patagonia, the back hills of Yosemite National Park, bits of the Himalaya.

AND HELL? Sitting in a traffic jam at eight in the morning on my way to a nine-to-five job.

WHO ARE YOUR BEST TRAVEL COMPANIONS? That's a difficult one. Somebody who shares my passion for the places I visit, who can understand and share the experience and pleasure of the adventure. In the last few years I've done much of my travelling with my partner, Ian Woodhall.

AND WORST? I've travelled with a man who summarises my worst travelling companion. He was a journalist that joined us on a trek to Nepal. God knows why they chose him. All he could do was complain. He complained about the lack of showers and the squat toilets.

WHO IS THE MOST MEMORABLE PERSON? Probably a husband and wife who run a lovely lodge in Namche Bazaar in Nepal. Although they are both educated and widely travelled they love their land and are interested in sharing it with the people who pass by. …

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