Pat Morrow: A Pioneer in Canadian Mountaineering and Adventure Filmmaking
Pat Morrow is a celebrated Canadian mountaineer, adventurer, filmmaker, and writer who has made history with his achievements. Born in Alberta in 1952, Morrow's love for skiing started at an early age, and he eventually went on to become a member of the Canadian Ski Team. He competed in the 1976 Winter Olympics held in Innsbruck, Austria, and this experience was a formative one for his future career as a mountaineer.
Pat exploring the canyons of the American southwest. 1978. Photo: Art Twomey
Morrow is renowned for being the first Canadian to summit Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, in 1982. As part of a Canadian expedition, Morrow climbed to the top of the mountain with two fellow climbers, Laurie Skreslet and Roger Marshall. His success on Everest was a significant accomplishment for Canada and made him an instant national hero.
Pat stands on top of Everest, with the Changtang Plateau of Tibet beckoning to the right and the deep valleys of Nepal to the left. 1982. Photo: Pema Dorje
The climb was no easy feat, and the team faced many challenges, including altitude sickness and harsh weather conditions. But despite the difficulties, they persevered and finally reached the summit, planting the Canadian flag on the top of the world.
The Khumbu Icefall, the dangerous section where others perished. Photo: Pat Morrow
The climb was a defining moment in Canadian mountaineering history and helped to put Canada on the map as a serious player in the world of high-altitude climbing. The achievement was also significant for Morrow personally, as it marked the culmination of years of hard work and dedication to his craft.
Over the years, Morrow continued to test his limits by exploring some of the world's highest peaks. He became the first person to ski down the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, a feat known as the Seven Summits. In addition to his mountaineering career, Morrow is also an accomplished filmmaker and writer, having produced documentaries such as "Beyond Everest" and "Carstensz: Stone Age to Iron Age." These films have been shown at film festivals around the world and have won numerous awards.
Morrow at work on a film. Photo: Pat Morrow
Morrow's passion for the outdoors and adventure has earned him recognition in Canada and beyond. He was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1984 and was awarded the Order of Canada in 1985. In an interview with Lynn Martel, Morrow shared that his love for mountaineering stems from his desire to explore new frontiers and to challenge himself physically and mentally.
Lhakpa Tshering cleans up in a poker game with John McIsaac and Tim Rippel, Advance Base Camp, Everest North Col route. Photo: Pat Morrow
Forty years after Morrow's historic climb, Canadians continue to make their mark on the world of mountaineering. The country has produced many notable climbers, including Sharon Wood, who became the first North American woman to summit Everest in 1986, and Laurie Skreslet, who at 28 years old was the youngest person to climb Everest at the time of his ascent with Morrow. Their achievements have inspired generations of Canadian adventurers and continue to be a source of pride for the country.