Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Inspirational Tale from Top Alpinist

Pat Deavoll was fifteen years old when she first met the person who would determine the course of her life to come.
Just old enough to join the school tramping club, she climbed her first mountain with Norman Hardie, one of New Zealand’s greatest mountaineers. Norman recognised and encouraged Pat’s potential and helped her discover her true passion in life.  
These days, Pat is considered to be one of New Zealand’s top mountaineers. She has been climbing at an elite level for more than three decades, participating in world-class expeditions to the great mountain ranges of Alaska, the Canadian Rockies, and Central Asia, including the Himalayas and the Karakorum. What makes this achievement even more remarkable is that Pat has accomplished it despite a life-long struggle with clinical depression.
“These days depression no longer drags me down completely,” says Pat. “I’ve learned to see things differently, be more open about it and ask for help. But I still have to remind myself from time to time how very lucky and privileged I am to have done the things I’ve done and been the places I’ve been.”
“That I can still climb with a knee replacement is quite an achievement too,” she jokes.  
Pat’s autobiography Wind from a Distant Summit is being published this October. It delves into the more personal aspects of elite mountaineering – the extreme conditions, the sacrifices that must be made and the motivations that drive her and others to take part in a notoriously risky sport.
“To be fit, funded, acclimatised and half way up an unclimbed face with a strong partner in good weather is the most amazing feeling,” she says. “It’s pretty much a miracle when it all comes together like that.”
Wind from a Distant Summit by Pat Deavoll will strike a chord with experienced and aspiring climbers and armchair enthusiasts alike. It is available from bookstores and libraries nationwide. 
Wind from a Distant Summit: The story of New Zealand’s top woman mountaineer 
Pat Deavoll- Craig Potton Publishing -RRP $39.99
A bit more about the author:
In addition to her career as an alpinist, Pat Deavoll has also been one of New Zealand’s leading whitewater kayakers and worked as an outdoor instructor for many years before retraining as a journalist. Her current day job is as the Activities & Events Coordinator for the New Zealand Alpine Club in Christchurch.
 Since 2002 Pat Deavoll has mounted up to two alpine style expeditions a year to the high mountains of Alaska and Central Asia:
-            2002 climbs two steep ice routes on Mt Huntington in the Alaskan Range, Alaska
-        2003 climbs ‘Deprivation’ on Mt Hunter and a number of other technical    routes in the Alaskan Range, Alaska
-        2004 attempts on Cholatse, in Nepal; and Janahut, in India
-        2005 the first ascent of Xiashe in Tibet
-        2006 the first ascent of Haizi Shan in China
-        2007 an attempt on Beka Brakkai Chok, and the first of ascent of Wahine, both in Pakistan; and the first ascent of Miandi Peak, in India
-        2008 a second attempt on Beka Brakkai Chok in Pakistan
-        2009 the first ascent of Karim Sar in Pakistan, climbed solo
-        2010 an attempt on the West Face of Vasuki Parbat in India (pic below)
-        2011 the first ascent of the NW Ridge of Koh-e-Baba-Tangi, Afghanistan, with sister Christine
Editors note:
Norman Hardie played a part in three expeditions with Sir Edmund Hillary and was one of the party that made the first ascent of the world’s third-highest mountain, Kanchenjunga, in 1955. He was elected to Life Membership of the New Zealand Alpine Club in 1955 and his autobiography, On My Own Two Feet, was published by Canterbury University Press in 2006. 

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