Climbing icon Lydia Bradey has been honoured for her services to mountaineering.
The Wanaka local, who was the first woman to climb Mt Everest without supplementary oxygen, was awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to mountaineering at a ceremony in Queenstown.
She has since climbed Everest six times, and is the only woman to successfully guide four expeditions to its peak.
Bradey said it was an honour to receive the award from Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, and the award will be used to open doors and give back to New Zealand.
“When you get a medal, I feel it obliges you to use the letters on your name for good causes,” she said.
As patron of the Aspiring Biodiversity Trust, Bradey plans to use her influence to benefit the environment, and was recently involved in a trapping mission in the national park.
Having spent lockdown renovating her West Coast bach, Bradey is ready to get back into some adventuring this year, and hopes to start guiding in October.
With a hip surgery revision in June now behind her, she is also hoping to climb Aoraki – something she hasn’t done since before her original hip surgery in 2015.
“I would love to climb Mt Cook this year – going back to the original dream of an 18-year-old me,” she said.