Patrick Morrow

Climber, photojournalist

Born: 18 October 1952, Invermere, British Columbia

On August 5th, 1986, Patrick Morrow became the first person(*) in the world to complete mountaineering's ‘grand slam’ – climbing the highest peak on each of the seven continents. The quest, known as the Seven Summits, took Morrow over fourteen years to complete.

His participation in the 1982 Canadian Mt. Everest Expedition, as one of only two climbers to make it to the top, brought Morrow to national attention and launched a new career as a photojournalist. With his wife Baiba, Morrow has written books, created documentaries, and won many awards. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1988.

Patrick Morrow makes his home in Canmore, Alberta and continues to travel the world. He has made an average of one high altitude climb every year for the last twenty-three years.

The seven summits(*), ordered by the date of Morrow's climb:

Africa - Mt. Kilimanjaro (05 February 1972)
North America - Denali / Mt. McKinley (09 June 1977)
South America - Aconcagua (09 February 1981)
Asia - Mt. Everest (07 October 1982)
Antarctica - Vinson Massif (19 November 1985)
Oceania - Puncak Jaya / Carstensz Pyramid (07 May 1986)
Europe - Elbrus (05 August 1986)

* There is some dispute over what constitutes the seven summits or, to be more exact, what constitutes the seven continents. As a result, there is also some dispute over whether or not Morrow was the first to complete this quest.

Using the dictionary definition of continent (“large, continuous mass of land”), Australia is the seventh continent and it's highest peak is Kosciuszko. American Dick Bass was the first to complete the quest using this definition.

However, if one was to use the dictionary definition, Europe and Asia would be considered one continent, leaving only six summits.

In mountaineering terms, Oceania, not Australia, is the seventh continent and Carstensz Pyramid on Irian Jaya is the seventh summit. Morrow was the first to complete the quest using this criteria.

Additional trivia:

Morrow was the publicity stills photographer for the movies K2 and Seven Years in Tibet.

More information on:

The dispute over the seven summits
More on the dispute

1982 Canadian Mt. Everest Expedition

Morrow Photography


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Added 12 March 2003.