Remembering Sue Fear, the first Australian-born female to summit Mt Everest, 1963-2006
Sue Fear

Susan Erica Fear OAM was an Australian mountain climber and one of the recipients of the Order of Australia Medal in 2005, she was born on March 18, 1963 and passed away on May 28, 2006. She was also a supporter of the Fred Hollows Foundation. Her life and climbing career are detailed in her book, Fear No Boundary: The Road to Everest and Beyond, which was written by fellow climber Lincoln Hall and Fear and released in 2005. Fear’s biography was written with Fear.

The 28th of May, 2006 was the day that the world lost the courageous spirit, power, and beauty of Sue Fear, who was an integral member of the World Expeditions family for over twenty years. Sue Fear passed away on that day.

However, even though it has been fifteen years since Sue tragically passed away as a result of a tragic accident that occurred when she was descending from Mount Manaslu (8,163 meters) in Nepal, which is the eighth-highest peak in the world, she is never far from our hearts and minds.

We gave her the nickname “Fearless” because of the unyielding and unyielding desire she had to venture out into the wilderness to go skiing, hiking, and, in her latter years, climbing the tall mountains.

When a late-season ice bridge gave way to a crevasse in poor weather circumstances and where a rescue was difficult, she tragically passed away on May 28. Her death occurred on her sixth 8,000-meter trek.

In the annals of history, Sue is remembered as a youthful and vibrant woman with blue eyes and a smile who contributed a great deal to the world.

Her father Ron was incredibly proud of Sue, not only because of her climbs on Mount Everest, Shishapangma, Makalu, and Broad Peak, but also because she was an example to women of all ages. At home, she was a caring sister to her brothers Graham and John, and she was like a best friend to her father Ron.

Despite the fact that she led a simplistic way of life, she was extremely giving her time to everyone who knew her. In addition to volunteering and assisting in fundraising efforts, her charitable activities encompassed Nepal, The Fred Hollows Foundation, and the Australian Himalayan Foundation. Both of these organizations were deeply ingrained in her character.

At the time of her passing, she was just 43 years old, and she was one of only 10 women in the world who had successfully ascended five summits with an elevation of more than 8,000 meters. She was also the first woman born in Australia to climb the technically challenging north face of Mount Everest.

The book “Fear No Boundary: The Road to Everest and Beyond” written by Sue is an engaging read on her quest to become Australia’s most successful female mountaineer. There are very few books published by women climbers, and this book is one of the few that she has authored.

In a sport that has traditionally been controlled by men, Sue made a significant contribution to the sport of climbing in Australia and cleared the way for women to participate in the sport.

She made use of her status as one of the most accomplished female mountaineers in the world to assist others, and this was a quality that was associated with the way Sue chose to spend her life.

Additionally, she enjoyed giving presentations to young women who were in their student years. She advocated for the notion that, as a person with a small frame, she could compete with guys in climbing large mountains. She emphasized that we should all aspire to be the greatest version of ourselves, to dream big, and to do great things.

She gave young people the confidence to step outside of their comfort zones, completely submerge themselves in nature, and interact with people from various cultures. Therefore, in 2019, after Sue had attended Barker College in Sydney’s upper North Shore for the final two years of her high school education, it was fitting that they named a house in her honour with the phrase “courageous soul” added to the house motto.


  – Mt Kilimanjaro (5,895m) Tanzania
– Makalu II (7,678m) Nepal
– Cho Oyu (8,188m) Nepal
– Shishapangma (8,027m) Tibet
– Mt Everest (8,848m) Nepal
– Gasherbrum II (8,034m) Pakistan
– Mt Manaslu II (8,163m) Nepal

There are times when everything falls into place and you can do what you set out to do. Climbing is more like tossing a dice. There will be moments when your number turns up. — The Fear of Sue

Her accomplishments have also been acknowledged in other fields, the most notable of which was in 2005, when she was presented with an Order of Australia Medal in recognition of her contributions to the sport of climbing and her work as an Ambassador for the Fred Hollows Foundation.

As a fervent supporter of wilderness travel, she was also honoured as the Adventurer of the Year by Australian Geographic in the year 2003. In her honor, the eco campground that World Expeditions operates beneath Mount Sonder at the western end of the Larapinta Trail is named after her and is called Camp Fearless.

In addition to guiding on a global scale, Sue took great pleasure in leading hikers along the Larapinta track in the Northern Territory. This track passes through the West MacDonnell Ranges and is located close to Alice Springs. It was during this phase that World Expeditions pioneered commercial walking on the trail.

We at World Expeditions count ourselves extremely fortunate to have Sue’s professional engagement as a tour guide for over sixteen years, during which time she led treks all over the world. It was difficult not to be in awe of her fervent enthusiasm in assisting others in accomplishing their outdoor recreation goals.

After meeting Sue Fear at one of the information nights she’d delivered or hearing her motivational keynote speech at an event, we frequently hear from former travellers who regale their memories of Sue Fear as their excursion or climbing guide. These travellers have shared their experiences with us.

Her favourite things to do were drinking beer, dancing, listening to music, running, swimming, and, of course, going on hikes in the woods.

Our good buddy Sue was a climber with an incredible amount of accomplishments, an exceptional guide, and a wonderful person.

We all remember Sue in our unique ways and with our own cherished memories as she rests in the home of the gods on the mountain in the Himalayas, which she cherished so much.

Climbing Career

Fear ascended five of the fourteen eight-thousander peaks that are located across the world during the years 1997 and 2006. During the year 1997, she was the leader of the first successful ascent of Makalu II (7,680 m) by an Australian team. This event marked the beginning of her climbing career. She then proceeded to climb Cho Oyu (8,201 meters) in 1998 and Shishapangma (8,046 meters) in 2002. Both of these ascents were successful. Everest, which is 8,848 meters in height, was ascended by Fear in 2003 from the more challenging Tibetan side on the North Col. Not only was she the first woman born in Australia, but she was also the second woman born in Australia to achieve this feat. After that, in 2004, she was able to succeed in climbing Gasherbrum II, which is located in Pakistan and is 8,035 meters high. It was in 2006 that she made her final ascent, which was to the peak of Manaslu, which is 8,156 meters high.

Fear her away on May 28, 2006 as she was descending from the peak of Manaslu in Nepal and fell into a crevice that was approximately 7,800 meters deep during her descent. peak Manaslu was her fifth ascent of a peak that was higher than 8,000 meters. If she were to pass away while ascending a mountain, her body would be left on the mountain following a wish that was presented before. Just above the town of Bandipur, on a little hill that faces Manaslu, there is now a plaque left in her honour to commemorate her life.

Sherpa spent two hours trying to rescue Sue Fear

Sue Fear, an Australian climber, was tethered to a Nepalese Sherpa when she fell to her death. The Nepalese Sherpa has revealed for the first time how he spent two arduous hours attempting to rescue her out of a chasm.

Eventually, Bishnu Gurung, who was completely worn out, gave up when the crevasse began to get larger. The climber, who was 43 years old and from Sydney, was believed to be asleep, so he secured the rope into the anchor of his ice axe and then fled.

In an incident report that Mr. Gurung submitted to the Nepal Ministry of Tourism and Culture yesterday, the specifics of the occurrence were disclosed to the public.

An account of their ascent to the summit of Mount Manaslu and their subsequent descent, during which Ms. Fear met her untimely end, is included in the report.

Before getting up at three in the morning on May 28th, the two individuals had spent the night in Camp 4, which was located at an elevation of 7400 meters. Following a brief period of relaxation and refuelling on the top, they started their descent from the 8163-meter peak around eleven in the morning, with Ms. Fear leading the way and Mr. Gurung following ten meters behind. The rope that connected them was thirty meters in length.
In the process of falling, the wind picked up, and clouds began to gather. Mr. Gurung was requested to take the initiative by Ms. Fear.

“When they reached 7800 metres, all of a sudden, Bishnu heard a big noise and saw Sue Fear fall into a crevasse head down,” according to the findings of the investigation.

Given that they were both attached to the same main rope, Bishnu promptly… applied the brake with his ice axe, which was dragging him in the other direction. It was then that he began to call out, “Sue Didi, Sue Didi,” as he attempted to pull her out of the crevasse. Although she did not respond, it appeared as though she was unconscious.

After that, the report, which is only one page long and is headed “Death Report of Susan Erica Fear, Manaslu Golden Jubilee Expedition 2006,” continues by stating that Mr. Gurung spent the subsequent two hours attempting to recover Ms. Fear.

“During (this time), slowly and gradually the crevasse started getting bigger and bigger, and Bishnu, who was totally exhausted … finally tied the rope on his ice axe anchor and left it.”

Balaram Neupane, a coworker of Mr. Gurung’s who is involved in hiking, referred to the guide as “a very strong, lovely guy” who “would definitely be able to save her if he was behind her, but she wanted him to be in front.”

Per the report, Mr. Gurung arrived to Camp 1 at nine o’clock the same evening, “after it was confirmed that Sue Fear had passed away.”

Prizes and honours abound.

Fear was honoured with the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2005 for her work as an Ambassador for The Fred Hollows Foundation and her contributions to the climbing community. In recognition of her contributions, the foundation will honour her with the naming of an eye clinic in Dhading Besi, Nepal. In addition, the Australian Geographic Society honoured Fear as the Adventurer of the Year for the year 2003. Both the Australian Himalayan Foundation and the Australian Nepalese Medical Group benefited from her efforts to gather money when she served as an ambassador for both organizations.

You can read more about her legacy at and leave a message for her family who dedicated the website to Sue.


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