Pat’s Climbing Story

Pat began her mountaineering career in 1976. Highlights prior to 1980 included ascents of all NZ?s ten thousand-foot peaks and a three-month south to north traverse of the Southern Alps. In the early eighties she did repeats of the classic grade 5 test pieces, the ?Central Gully? on the South Face of Douglas and ?White Dreams? on the South Face of Cook.
Pat spent 1985 and 1986 climbing in the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges. She completed several unsupported two-man ascents of 6000m plus peaks including ascents of the South Face of Mera (6400m) in Nepal and the East Ridge of Girgindal (6200m) in Pakistan.
More recent mountaineering highlights within New Zealand include an asent of the Caroline Face of Mt Cook and the first female ascents of ?Logans Run? (grd. 6+) on the South face of Hicks and the ?Hidden Balfour Face? (grd. 6) on Mt Tasman. She has also been part of the first female team ascent (with her sister) of the Central Gully of Douglas Peak (grd. 5+) and the South Face of Mt Aspiring (grd. 5).

In 2002 Pat was part of an expedition to Alaska. She made six successful ascents including two technical test pieces on Mt Huntington (the Nettle/Quirk route and the Colton/Leach route). She returned to Alaska in 2003 and made a first ascent of the Nth. Face of Pk 11,520 in the Alaskan Range. She also made an ascent of the Nth Buttress of Mt. Hunter (via ?Deprivation?) and the SW Ridge of 11,300 in the Ruth Amphitheatre.
In 2004 Pat took part in two Himalayan mountaineering expeditions: the British/New Zealand Jankuth Expedition to the Indian Garwhal region, and the New Zealand Expedition to Cholatse, Nepal. Neither expedition summated due to poor weather and snow conditions.
In 2005, with ex-pat New Zealander Karen McNeill, she made the first ascent of Xiashe (6000m), a remote and technical route in eastern Tibet. The team of two women beat a strong team of British climbers to the summit.
In September 2006 she returned to eastern Tibet and made the first ascent of the much coveted Haizi Shan (approximately 6000m) by the direct north face with British climber Malcolm Bass. They were the eleventh expedition to try the peak and the first to succeed.
In 2007 Pat took part in two expeditions to Asia. In June/July she attempted the first ascent of Beka Brakkai Chhok (6900m) with fellow Kiwi Lydia Bradey. The pair were unsuccessful on BBC, but did make the first ascent of a smaller peak in the same area which they named Wahine (5900m).
A month later Pat returned to India and made the first ascent of a 6400m peak in the Gangotri glacier with Scottish climber Bruce Norman. The pair called the peak Miandi Peak.
The following (2008) year Pat returned to Pakistanwith Malcolm Bass to make a second attempt at Beka Brakkai Chhok. The pair were forced to sit out a seven day storm at over 6000m which left them with very little food. Once the weather cleared they attempted at the summit but were forced back at 6400 by bad snow conditions.
In 2009 Pat made a successful solo ascent of unclimbed Karim Sar (Northern Pakistan). Her team mate Paul Hersey waited at 5000m while Pat climbed the final 1000m alone. She received much international acclaim for this ascent.
In 2010 she made an attempt at the first ascent of the West Face of Vasuki Parbat, India, with Malcolm Bass and Paul Figg, but turned back at 6200m.
In 2011 Pat and her sister Chris Byrch made the first ascent of the NW ridge of Koh-e-Baba-Tangi in the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan. The mountain had only had one other ascent in 1963.
In 2012 she made the first ascent of Koh-e-Rank 6200m with Maryrose Fowlie. This was also in the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan. Her brother Bill Byrch came along as base camp support.

Over the past decade Pat has waterfall ice climbed and rock-climbed internationally to a very high level.
During recent Nth American winters she has spent 120 days waterfall ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies. She has led water fall ice to grade 7, including lead ascents of highly acclaimed test pieces ?Sea of Vapours?(WI 7), Acid Howl (WI 6+) and French Maid (WI 6+). With a Canadian climbing partner she completed a significant new route on the Terminator Wall,?Stuck in the Middle? (M7, WI6)
Pat has been a dedicated rock climber since 1990. She has climbed extensively throughout Australia over the past fifteen years. In 1996 she was part of the first female partnership ascent of ?Siblings of the Sun? (9 pp, grd.26/12.c), at the time considered Australia?s most committing multipitch climb. In 1997 she climbed for four months in Thailand, Spain and France. In 1999 she spent six months climbing in Britain and the USA. In 2001 she completed the first ascent of her hardest climb to date ??Intifada? (grd28/ 29/ French 8a)
She was the New Zealand Women?s Sport Climbing Champion in 1994 and was placed 3rd in the Escalade Australia International Competition in 1995.
Pat won the Macpac/CMC Mountaineer of the Year Award in 1999