Sue Fear

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Sue Fear
Personal information
Born(1963-03-18)18 March 1963
St Ives, New South Wales
Died28 May 2006(2006-05-28) (aged 43)
Climbing career
Type of climberMountaineer
Major ascentsMount Everest
Updated on 17 March 2013.

Susan Erica Fear (18 March 1963 – 28 May 2006) was an Australian mountain climber, 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 her biography Fear No Boundary: The Road to Everest and Beyond, written by fellow climber Lincoln Hall and Fear, published in 2005.

Early life[edit]

Fear was born on 18 March 1963 in St Ives, New South Wales, Australia, she was the middle child in her family, with two brothers Grahame and John.[1] 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.[2]

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.


After leaving school, Fear took an office job with Wilderness Expeditions, an adventure travel company founded by Tim Macartney-Snape. That company was later acquired by World Expeditions, and she moved out of the office and into the field. She became an adventure guide and led cross country ski trips in Australia as well as treks in Africa, South America and Asia. She was recognized as one of the company's senior guides, leading many physically challenging mountaineering expeditions.

Climbing career achievements[edit]

Between 1997 and 2006 Fear climbed five of the world's fourteen 8,000 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.


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 clinic named after her in Dhading Besi, Nepal. Fear was also named the 2003 Adventurer of the Year by the Australian Geographic Society. She was an ambassador for the Australian Himalayan Foundation, and also helped raise funds for Australian Nepalese Medical Group.


Fears' life and climbing career is written about in the biographical book Fear No Boundary: The Road to Everest and Beyond, written by fellow climber Lincoln Hall (with Sue Fear), and first published in Melbourne by Lothian Books in 2005.[2]

Final climb[edit]

Fear died on Sunday, 28 May 2006,[1] when she fell into a crevasse (approx. 7,800 m) while descending from the summit of Manaslu in Nepal. Manaslu was her fifth climb of a mountain over 8,000 metres. Her body remains on the mountain, honouring an earlier request if she were to die whilst climbing a mountain.[3] A plaque now lies in memory of her just above the town of Bandipur on a small hill facing Manaslu.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Biography". Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b Hall, Lincoln with; Fear, Sue (2005). Fear No Boundary: The Road to Everest and Beyond. South Melbourne: Lothian. ISBN 978-0-7344-0786-3. Retrieved 27 April 2015 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b Baillie, Rebecca (29 October 2008). "Sue Fear's video diary from Mount Manaslu". The 7.30 Report. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 27 April 2015.

External links[edit]