1963 – 1986

THE Early Years

Sue was born on the 18th March, 1963 in Sydney Australia. She grew up in St Ives and then lived in Wollstonecraft. She was head prefect at St Ives North Primary School then educated at Abbottsleigh and finally Barker College. Whilst at school, Sue achieved the Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award, which was her first introduction to adventure and self-reliance. After finishing school in 1980, Sue took a course with Outward Bound in the mountains near Canberra. This opened up many possibilities for adventurous pursuits; Sue began to seek out more challenges both locally and overseas. Over 10 years, Sue steadily accrued qualifications and experience in the travel industry. She gained a position in the Sydney office of World Expeditions Australian Himalayan Expeditions, which allowed opportunities to work as a part-time guide in cross-country skiing, rafting, cycling and walking programs, and also introduced her to the magnificent Himalayan region.
1963 – 1986
1987 – 1993

Mt Kilimanjaro – 5895m

Furthering her skills, Sue undertook a mountaineering course in New Zealand in 1986 and realised she would soon be returning to this new found sport. The following year she left her office job to travel and climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (5895m), Africa's highest peak and her first climb at altitude. In 1988 Sue was appointed manager of Wilderness Expeditions (formerly owned by Tim Macartney-Snape) where she gained valuable experience in planning and implementing expeditions. World Expeditions took over Wilderness Expeditions in 1993 and once again opportunities for adventure travelling and mountaineering emerged.
1987 – 1993
July 1992

Nevada Pisco, Vallunaraju and Chopicalqui, ANDES of Peru

Sue's work now included guiding throughout the year on various high altitude programs in the Himalaya, Karakoram and the Andes. From 1993, Sue spent the majority of each year guiding treks and climbs in various parts of the world, adding new destinations and programs each year to her already extensive In the Peruvian Andes in July 1992, Sue climbed Nevada Pisco, Vallunaraju and Chopicalqui. Sue was sponsored by Australian outdoor gear specialists, Mountain Designs, which allowed her to test and advise on gear as well as work as a sales consultant in the company's Sydney store.
July 1992
August 1997

Makalu II – 7678m

Sue regularly tested her own skill levels in the mountains, undertaking reconnaissance trips to a wide variety of locations, but her first major climbing project was to Makalu II (7680m) in 1997. Sue was leader of a small group to this Himalayan peak and on reaching the summit, became the first Australian team to do so.
August 1997
24 September 1998

Mt Cho Oyu – 8201m

With this success she moved on to a greater peak, Sue then made plans for another Himalayan peak; Mt Cho Oyu (8201m), sixth highest mountain in the world. This time however, she chose a lightweight style of climbing without bottled water, travelling only with one partner on the mountain, with the support of a simple style base camp. With her Nepali colleague and friend Nima Tamang, they reached the summit on 24 September 1998, this time the record was the first successful ascent by an Australian woman.
24 September 1998
15 May 2002

Shishapangma – 8012m

The next personal climb for Sue was Shishapangma (8012m) situated on the vast steppes of the Tibetan plateau. In the spring of 2000, with two Australian friends and a sherpa, they aspired to reach the summit but it was not to be. Altitude sickness of party members necessitated descent and, upon returning to Australia and preparing for an attempt the following year, Sue broke her foot. Undeterred, she quickly recovered and led a succession of trips for World Expeditions in Bolivia, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Nepal before securing a permit to return to Shisha in the spring of 2002. This time by lightweight style, with base camp support only, she achieved the summit on 15 May.
15 May 2002
31 May 2003

Mt Everest – 8849m

In 2003, Sue secured a permit to climb Mt Everest with Russell Bryce’s expedition from the northern side. At 7.15 am on the 31 May, she became the second Australian women to climb Mt Everest, the first Australian born women and first Australian women to climb from the difficult north face.
31 May 2003
26 July 2004

Gasherbrum II – 8201m

In 2004 Sue was offered to lead a group to climb Gasherbrum II in Pakistan after a guide had pulled out. The group successfully summited it in July.
26 July 2004
January 2005

Order of the Australian Medal

Sue was finally recognized for all her work in climbing and charity and was awarded the “Order of the Australian Medal” (O.A.M.).
January 2005
28 May 2006

Mt Manaslu – 8156m

Sue looked at others mountains and decided Mt Manalsu was her next goal. With recent Maoists unrest in the region the mountain had been quiet with climbers. It also had a reputation for heavy snow falls and avalanches. After a failed first attempt, Sue, climbing with just her good friend and trusted climber partner Sherpa Bishnu reached the summit on May 28th. During their descent, Sue stepped into an unknown/unmarked crevasse in a relatively flat location. This was to be her last climb and final resting place.
28 May 2006

Sue's Legacy

In 2006, Sue had become one of only ten women to climb five or more mountains over 8000 metres which made her Australia’s leading female high altitude climber at that time.

She was an ambassador for the Fred Hollows Foundation, an organisation committed to the prevention and restoring of sight in developing countries such as Nepal. Also an ambassador for the Australian Himalayan Foundation helping poorer Nepalese communities.

Barker College, a school Sue attended have created a school house in honour of her named ‘Fear House’.

A plaque has been placed at the basecamp of Mt Manaslu in Nepal to commemorate Sue.