Finding Our Way Podcast: Bonita Norris

Posted by Mary-Ann Ochota on 15/07/2021

Bonita Norris has summited three of the world's 8000m peaks and retains the record as the youngest British woman to climb both Everest and reach the North Pole. She's also written candidly about suffering from bulimia as a teenager.

Finding Our Way podcast champions diverse outdoor voices and is proudly sponsored by Berghaus.

 

🎧 Listen to the full episode here 🎧

📥 DOWNLOAD: Podcast Transcript

What’s it like climbing the world’s highest mountain?

I felt so lucky donning my oxygen mask and getting in my down suit to go out and climb. And then there are moments when you think, 'I should not be here. Great mountaineers have died trying to get to the top of this mountain. What on earth am I doing?!'

When you're climbing through the night to the top, you can see electrical storms beneath you and then you look up and you're surrounded by the most incredible stars. And when the sun rises, it illuminates the curvature of the earth, it's just stunning. I fell on the descent - stepping into Base Camp after that, I felt like my body was broken. It was a really bad mistake to make at that point on the hill, and it took a long time to come to terms with.

 

What about the crowding and queues on Everest?

There are a lot of mainly Western companies making huge amounts of money on Everest and not demanding much of their clients. The Sherpas deserve to have people to climb with that have been to an 8000m peak before, and Nepal deserves an economy that isn't completely based on one mountain in one valley.

 

Is high altitude mountaineering just a lot of suffering?

You've got to love it. On K2 [we were] pitching our tents on tiny little edges and hearing avalanches roar down all night long. You feel so alive. But yes, it is painful. And there are those things like waking up in the morning when hoar frost from your teammates' sweat and breath plops into your eyes. That's your alarm call - sweat and breath falling back on you. And then peeing in bottles. And having a period on the mountain...not ideal, but this is what we live for. On Everest, and in fact all the 8000m peaks I've climbed, you always try to reach the summit on a full moon because there's much more light. And lo and behold, I'm very much in sync with the full moon! So - never be put off from going out in the outdoors or on an adventure for those reasons.

 

You’ve watched the film ‘Light’, which explored the prevalence of disordered eating in professional climbing...

When you're down the climbing wall or you're watching competitions or out in Spain, there's definitely a lot of talk normalising [the idea of] being light to climb and losing weight. Which, for someone like me who's dealt with a full on eating disorder, just doesn't sit comfortably at all. It seems so easy at the time but it’s a trap. I wouldn't be able to stop, it drags people in and then it's a few more kilos and before you know it your relationship with food and nutrition has completely changed. I'm glad of this documentary. I'm interested to see how, as we open up after lockdown, how it's all going to translate and what changes we might see.

 

What do climbing and mountaineering mean to you?

Joy

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bonita (@bonitanorris)

 

FIND OUT MORE: Bonita's Website

WATCH: Light: the documentary by Caroline Treadaway about eating disorders in professional climbing

FIND OUT MORE: Beating Eating Disorders Website

READ: The Nepali Sherpa team who summited K2 in winter

Meet our guests from Season 1:

Rehna Yaseen: Free kit, ‘BAME’ and inspiring young South Asians

Euan Ryan: Making films, climbing and hidden disabilities

Bonita Norris: Everest, ethics and disordered eating

Rob Mitchell: Cake, maps, and gay, bi- & trans lads outdoors

Cherelle Harding: Urban community, reggae and rolling down hills

Stu Skinner: Deserts, jungles and mental health training

Finding Our Way is sponsored by Berghaus, and hosted by BMC walking ambassador Mary-Ann Ochota and expedition leader and equity champion Cress Allwood. Our editor is Chris Stone.

 

 

Get involved with the conversation by sharing your thoughts on the BMC Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #FindingOurWay.


Listen now 🎧

Finding Our Way is the new BMC podcast where our guests are as diverse as the outdoors should be.

Hosted by BMC Hillwalking Ambassador and TV Broadcaster Mary-Ann Ochota and Expedition Leader and equity champion Cress Allwood, the podcasts aims to diversify the people we normally hear talking about the outdoors, celebrate their stories and shine a light on their insights.

Listen and subscribe on your favourite podcast apps:

     


« Back

Post a comment Print this article

This article has been read 198 times

TAGS

Click on the tags to explore more

RELATED ARTICLES

Finding Our Way with Steph and Every Body Outdoors – Plus Sizes and Good Kit
11
Finding Our Way with Steph and Every Body Outdoors – Plus Sizes and Good Kit

In this one we sit down with Steph Wetherell, co-founder of Every Body Outdoors, a group campaigning for better representation, clothing and gear for larger and plus-sized bodies in the UK outdoors. We talk about sizest attitudes, why seeing plus size people represented by brands and media is so important, and how clothes and kit can be more inclusive. And the unexpected joy of finding your ‘tribe’. We also chat with Head of Product at Berghaus.
Read more »

Finding Our Way Podcast: Rich Chapman on Grief and Healing through Climbing
0
Finding Our Way Podcast: Rich Chapman on Grief and Healing through Climbing

In this episode, Richard Chapman talks about his young son dying from cancer, and the impact of that traumatic experience on his mental health. He also describes how climbing has helped him recover and manage PTSD.
Read more »

Finding Our Way Podcast: United We Climb on Climbing Walls and Checking Privilege
0
Finding Our Way Podcast: United We Climb on Climbing Walls and Checking Privilege

Marie Uri and Yasmin Lazarus are climbers and two of the directors of United We Climb, an organization that champions underrepresented and underserved climbers by creating experiences and events that are accessible and inclusive, as well as working with businesses like climbing walls to help the industry identify and break down barriers and become more welcoming.
Read more »

Post a Comment

Posting as Anonymous Community Standards
3000 characters remaining
Submit
Your comment has been posted below, click here to view it
Comments are currently on | Turn off comments
0

There are currently no comments, why not add your own?

RELATED ARTICLES

Finding Our Way with Steph and Every Body Outdoors – Plus Sizes and Good Kit
11

In this one we sit down with Steph Wetherell, co-founder of Every Body Outdoors, a group campaigning for better representation, clothing and gear for larger and plus-sized bodies in the UK outdoors. We talk about sizest attitudes, why seeing plus size people represented by brands and media is so important, and how clothes and kit can be more inclusive. And the unexpected joy of finding your ‘tribe’. We also chat with Head of Product at Berghaus.
Read more »

Finding Our Way Podcast: Rich Chapman on Grief and Healing through Climbing
0

In this episode, Richard Chapman talks about his young son dying from cancer, and the impact of that traumatic experience on his mental health. He also describes how climbing has helped him recover and manage PTSD.
Read more »

Finding Our Way Podcast: United We Climb on Climbing Walls and Checking Privilege
0

Marie Uri and Yasmin Lazarus are climbers and two of the directors of United We Climb, an organization that champions underrepresented and underserved climbers by creating experiences and events that are accessible and inclusive, as well as working with businesses like climbing walls to help the industry identify and break down barriers and become more welcoming.
Read more »

BMC MEMBERSHIP
Join 82,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £16.97.
Read more »
BMC SHOP
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
TRAVEL INSURANCE
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »