Sharon with fellow Everest summiteers Laurie Skreslet and Pat Morrow. 2007.
Sharon Wood is a certified alpine guide living in Canmore, Alberta. The daughter of a RCAF pilot, she grew up in Vancouver and made her first technical climb on Sky Pilot, north of the city, when she was 12.
In her late teens, she moved to Banff and, later, Field, British Columbia, where she took a variety of jobs to support her climbing pursuits. There she met climbers who encouraged her passion for mountain life — many of them went on to become her colleagues on the Everest ’86 expedition. Others were on Canada’s ’82 Everest expedition.
Sharon Wood, Everest summit. 1986.
In May 1986, Sharon became the sixth woman to reach Everest’s summit and the only one to do it on a new route. Despite several attempts, no other team has repeated the North Face route she and Dwayne Congdon established.
After her return from Everest, Sharon became a successful motivational speaker. She has two sons and continues to guide clients on mountain treks.
She is a gifted and passionate writer who made her contribution to Everest: High Expectations at the invitation of lead author Pat Morrow. He felt that her 1986 expedition had completed the vision that his team had failed to fulfill four years earlier. Sharon is working on a biography of her climbing life.
Sharon Wood and Pat Morrow. 2012.
Pat Morrow was born in Invermere and grew up in Kimberley, British Columbia, the son of a construction carpenter. His parents taught him their love of the outdoors and he began hiking and climbing as a teenager. At age 19, he almost died with two friends during their winter ascent of Mount Assinboine when they got caught by darkness just below the summit and had to spend a night on the mountain with no tent or sleeping bags. The experience did nothing to discourage his love of high-altitude, winter ascents.
After a brief stint as a photographer with the Calgary Herald, Pat studied photography at the Banff School of Fine Arts. He quickly learned that photography could support his love of mountain climbing and he made a name for himself as an adventure photographer willing to go anywhere in the world for little more than expense money and rolls of film.
He met Bungalo publisher Frank B. Edwards in early 1976 after dropping into the offices of Canadian Geographic (then called Canadian Geographical Journal) where Frank was working as a junior editor. Frank bought Pat’s first magazine features (frozen waterfall climbing and hang gliding) and the pair became lifelong friends.
When Frank went to work at Harrowsmith magazine and helped launch Equinox, Pat found enthusiastic buyers for his work. His features in Equinox included mountain adventures in China, Tanzania, Indonesia, Argentina and Nepal.
Pat and Lhakpa Tshering. Everest. 1982.
In 1982, Pat became the second Canadian to summit Mount Everest (two days behind expedition colleague Laurie Skreslet). He then spent several more years becoming the first climber to top the world’s Seven Summits (highest peak on each continent) including Australasia’s Carstenz Pyramid, an accomplishment later repeated by international climbing star Reinhold Messner. Pat’s book Beyond Everest: Quest for the Seven Summits was published in 1986 by Camden House Publishing.
Pat now lives in Wilmer, British Columbia with his photographer/writer wife Baiba. Their house overlooks the Columbia River and is surrounded by mountains.
Visit his Facebook page.