Everest the Cruel Way

The audacious winter attempt of the West Ridge

Author: Joe Tasker Sir Chris Bonington

Series title:

Paperback publication date: 04 Mar 2021

Paperback ISBN: 9781839810527

Everest the Cruel Wayis Tasker’s story of an attempt to climb the highest mountain on earth, without supplemental oxygen, and in winter. Tasker’s epic account vividly describes experiences that no climber had previously encountered or endured.

On 30 January 1981 Joe Tasker and Ade Burgess stood at 24,000 feet on the West Ridge of Mount Everest. Below them were their companions, some exhausted, some crippled by illness, all virtually incapacitated. Further progress seemed impossible. Everest the Cruel Way is Joe Tasker's story of an attempt to climb the highest mountain on earth – an attempt which pushed a group of Britain's finest mountaineers to their limits. The goal had been to climb Mount Everest at its hardest: via the infamous West Ridge, without supplementary oxygen and in winter. Tasker's epic account vividly describes experiences that no climber had previously endured. Close up and personal, it is a gripping account of day-to-day life on expedition and of the struggle to live at high altitude. Joe Tasker was one of Britain's best mountaineers. He was a pioneer of lightweight, alpine-style climbing in the Greater Ranges and had a special talent for writing. He died, along with his friend Peter Boardman, high on Everest in 1982 while attempting a new and unclimbed line. Both men were superb mountaineers and talented writers.

Joe Tasker was one of Britain’s foremost mountaineers. He was a pioneer of lightweight, ‘Alpine-style’ climbing in the Greater Ranges and had a special talent for writing. He died, with his friend Peter Boardman, high on Everest in 1982 while attempting the previously unclimbed North East Ridge. Their deaths marked the end of a remarkable era in British mountaineering. Born in Hull in 1948, Joe began rock climbing in his teens. Drawn to mountaineering, he made many remarkable ascents in the Alps, including the first British winter ascent of the North Face of the Eiger, before moving to the Greater Ranges. Here, Joe pioneered routes of extreme technical difficulty in a bold, Alpine-style – at a time when huge expeditions and siege tactics were still the mountaineering norm. Peter and Joe left two legacies. One was their great endeavour, their climbs on high peaks with bold, lightweight innovative methods; the second is the books they wrote and left behind. Both had developed a special talent for writing. Joe’s first book Everest the Cruel Way is an exciting account of his winter attempt on Everest and his second book, Savage Arena, was finished just before he left for Everest in 1982. Both have become mountaineering classics. The Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature was established in Pete and Joes’ honour, and is presented annually to the author or co-authors of an original work which has made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature. For more information about the Boardman Tasker Prize, visit: www.boardmantasker.com

Born in 1934, Chris Bonington – mountaineer, writer, photographer and lecturer – started climbing at the age of sixteen in 1951. It has been his passion ever since. He made the first British ascent of the north face of the Eiger and led the expedition that made the first ascent of the south face of Annapurna, the biggest and most difficult climb in the Himalaya at the time. He went on to lead the expedition that made the first ascent of the south-west face of Everest in 1975, when Doug Scott and Dougal Haston became the first Britons to summit, and he reached the summit of Everest himself in 1985 with a Norwegian expedition. He has written seventeen books, fronted numerous television programmes and has lectured to the public and corporate audiences all over the world. He received a knighthood in 1996 for services to mountaineering, was president of the Council for National Parks for eight years, and is the non-executive chairman of Berghaus and a chancellor of Lancaster University.

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