Sue Fear

Sue Fear

Susan Erica Fear (18 March 1963 – 28 May, 2006) was an Australian mountain climber, passionate supporter of the Fred Hollows Foundation and a 2005 recipient of the Order of Australia medal in the Queen's birthday honours. Her life and climbing career is illustrated in the book "Fear No Boundary: The Road to Everest and Beyond", written by fellow climber Lincoln Hall with Sue Fear, and published in Melbourne by "Lothian Books" in 2005.

Early life

Born in St Ives, New South Wales, Australia, Sue was the middle child in her family, with two brothers Grahame and John. Her parents were Ron and Joan Fear. Her mother Joan died from breast cancer in May 1988, and her father Ron died unexpectedly of a heart attack in June 2002.

Fear attended St Ives North Public School in her primary school years where she was the School Captain, and later attended Abbotsleigh (7-10) where she was the Softball Captain, and Barker College (11-12) in Sydney's north where she was a prefect and the Captain of both Hockey and Cricket. While at school she attained the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award.

Climbing career

Between 1997 and 2006 Fear climbed five of the world's fourteen 8000-metre peaks. Her climbing career took off in 1997 when she led the first successful ascent by an Australian team of Makalu II (7,680 m) in Nepal. She followed this with ascents of Cho Oyu (8,201 m) in 1998 and Shishapangma (8,046 m) in 2002. In 2003, Fear climbed Everest (8,848 m) from the more difficult Tibetan side on the North Col. She was the first Australian-born woman and the second Australian woman overall to do so. She then successfully summitted Gasherbrum II (8,035 m) in Pakistan the following year (2004). Her final climb was to Manaslu (8,156 m) in 2006, which she successfully summited.

Charity work

Fear was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2005 for her work as Ambassador for The Fred Hollows Foundation and for services to mountaineering, which will have an eye clininc named after her in Dhading. She became an Ambassador for the Australian Himalayan Foundation. She also helped raise funds for Australian Nepalase Medical Group.

Final climb

Fear was killed on Sunday, 28 May 2006, when she fell into a crevasse (approx. 7800 m) while descending from the summit of Manaslu in Nepal. Manaslu was her fifth climb of a mountain over 8000 metres. Her body remains on the mountain, honouring an earlier request if she were to die whilst climbing a mountain. A plaque now lays in memory of her just above the town of Bandipur on a small hill overlooking Manaslu.


* [ Sydney Morning Herald - Top climber is dead: officials]
* [ Sydney Morning Herald - Exploring the not so lonely planet]

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