A life less ordinary


Not content with climbing an Afghanistan mountain in between running a Closeburn homestay, Queenstowner Christine Byrch (right) has now co-written a book. 

Byrch is one of 23 contributors to Thesis Survivor Stories published last week by AUT Media and sub-titled “practical advice on getting through your PhD or Masters thesis”. 

In her chapter Byrch, 51, who completed her thesis in 2007, revealed how she came to apply and be offered a three-year grant for her PhD in geography, after 15 years out of academia. 

“With no partner or children or anything like that, my life was uncomplicated and I knew it would be relatively easy for me to make the change to become a middle-aged student,” she writes. 

Yet Byrch’s life is certainly not uncomplicated. 

Last month, according to The Press, she and her Christchurch-based sister reached the summit of the 6515-metre Koh-e-Baba-Tangi peak in Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush range. 

After the descent came a twist. 

The two women were detained in China for two days before being deported for not having transit visas.