Wood, Sharon Adele

Sharon Adele Wood, mountaineer, guide (b at Halifax 18 May 1957). In pursuit of a passion that began with an introductory climbing class in JASPER, Alta, when she was 17, Wood achieved international recognition in the spring of 1986 when she became the first woman from the Western Hemisphere to stand atop Mt Everest.

Known as a strong, aggressive climber, she had previously accumulated an impressive portfolio of difficult ascents, including the Kane Face of Mt Robson; Mt Logan (as part of the first all-woman team to negotiate the peak); the Cassin Ridge on Mt McKinley; the S face on Aconcagua, and a new route on the Anquash Face of Huasscaran, Peru's highest mountain. Her climb on Everest was as a member of the Canadian Everest Light Expedition, a 13-person, non-Sherpa-supported assault on the mountain's W ridge. On 20 May, the last day of the climb, Wood and her partner, Dwayne CONGDON, overcame severe winds and 695 vertical m of rock, snow and ice to reach the summit at 9:00 PM. When not on one of her own climbs, Wood teaches the sport to others, working as a mountain guide as well as a keynote speaker. She has received several honours, including an honorary doctorate of laws from the UNIVERITY OF CALGARY and the GOVERNOR GENERAL's Meritorious Service Medal.