Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner speaking at UCSB

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner in Santa Barbara

Vassiliy Pivtsov Photo

UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Austrian mountaineer and adventurer Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner in an adventure-packed multimedia presentation titled Passion 8000: Dream of a Lifetime on Tuesday, May 19 at 8 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall.

The newly added event is presented in conjunction with the National Geographic Live series, now in its third season in Santa Barbara. Books will be available for purchase at the event, and an audience Q-and-A and book signing will follow the talk.

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner became interested in mountain climbing at an early age, and by the age of 13 she had conquered her first major climb. While pursuing her nursing training in Vienna, she continued to hone her skills by participating in climbing tours. At age 32, Kaltenbrunner decided to pursue professional mountain climbing full-time.

In 2010, after an unfortunate incident that resulted in the death of her climbing partner Fredrik Ericsson, Kaltenbunner aborted her fifth attempt on K2, the world’s most deadly peak. In 2011, she courageously returned to K2 and successfully reached the summit, becoming the first woman to climb all fourteen of the world’s 8,000+-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen or porters. Her unstoppable appetite for adventure drove her to break a trail into the male domain of high-altitude mountaineering.

Meet this astonishing adventurer and hear the dramatic story of how she prepared for and triumphed on K2 and other peaks, told with breathtaking photos and video from the roof of the world.

About Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner’s interest in mountain climbing developed while she was growing up in Spital am Pyhrn, Austria. Reverend Erich Tischler, the town’s youth leader, would take her on climbs up the surrounding mountains after church services. At the age of 13, Kaltenbrunner ventured up her first major peak, “Sturzhahn,” a 2,028-meter climb, and then rarely skipped an opportunity to go climbing. She enjoyed ski, ice, and climbing tours while she completed her nursing training in Upper Austria and Vienna.

Her greatest dream—climbing an 8,000-meter peak—came true at the age of 23, when she succeeded in climbing the fore-summit of Broad Peak in Pakistan, at a height of 8,027 meters. She then put the money she earned as a nurse into different trekking and climbing expeditions to the Himalaya. After climbing the Nanga Parbat—her fifth 8,000-meter peak—in 2003, she decided to become a professional mountain climber.

Today, Kaltenbrunner has climbed all 14 main peaks in the 8,000-meter series. When she reached the summit of K2 (8,611 meters), she became the first woman to scale all 8,000-meter peaks without the use of supplementary oxygen. She was named National Geographic’s s “Explorer of the Year” in 2012 for this extraordinary achievement.

In addition to her passion for climbing the high mountains of the Himalaya, she also is enchanted with the people and culture of the region.

About National Geographic
Founded in 1888, the National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. With a mission to inspire people to care about the planet, the member-supported Society offers a community for members to get closer to explorers, connect with other members and help make a difference. The Society reaches more than 500 million people worldwide each month through National Geographic and other magazines, National Geographic Channel, television documentaries, films, books, DVDs, radio, maps, exhibitions, live events, school publishing programs, interactive media and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit

About National Geographic Live
Passion 8000: Dream of a Lifetime is part of the UCSB Arts & Lectures series National Geographic Live, featuring dynamic events, entertaining people and captivating stories from National Geographic. The newly added presentation is the final series event.

National Geographic Live is the live events division of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations whose mission is to inspire, illuminate and teach. With a broad roster of talent including renowned photographers, scientists, authors, filmmakers and adventurers, National Geographic Live’s critically acclaimed programs have connected with audiences worldwide for over a century. Currently, National Geographic Live events are held in 32 cities around the world, including New York, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney. In each of these cities, speakers share behind-the-scenes stories from the front lines of exploration on stage alongside stunning imagery and gripping footage. In 2014, National Geographic Live events were attended by over 150,000 people. For more information, visit