Top Read #11 Everest - The Unclimbed Ridge

19th Oct 2015

everest - the unclimbed ridge

Wide ranging opinions have been doing the rounds on social media in the last few weeks about the content and character portrayal of the new Everest film.  The story it tells about the 1996 disaster is a devastating low point in the mountain’s history - but a journey through Everest’s mountaineering past reveals a whole series of tragic moments. Peak Mountaineering’s Top Read #11 highlights another heart wrenching event…..

By 1982 the British mountaineers Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker (*) were at the top of their game.  They both had a series of stunning ascents to their name and had formed a brilliant climbing partnership that seemed unstoppable.  Their pedigree was without question and, as they headed to Everest with a small team led by Chris Bonington, hopes were high that the team would manage the first ascent of the mountain’s little known North East Ridge.

After weeks of toil the team, gradually physically and emotionally ground down by difficult conditions and dangerous terrain, were all but beat.  Only Tasker and Boardman had anywhere near enough juice in the tank for a final crack at the top.  They set out for the summit but, after several days making good progress, they disappeared while traversing the routes challenging rock pinnacles. The world had lost two great climbing talents just as their friends and families had lost a piece of their hearts. 

On their return Bonington and expedition doctor Charles Clarke set about documenting the expedition in the book ‘Everest: The Unclimbed Ridge’.  The book will have you in tears just as it will give you an incite into the trials and joys of a cutting edge high altitude expedition.  It is a must read for Everest aficionados but it is also a can’t put down read for anyone who loves the mountains.

* Our Top Reads series has previously featured a number of other books linked to Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker including Savage Summits, The Shining Mountain and Fragile Edge. 

Posted by Cal 

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Comment from Alan M

'This is a great book documenting a cutting edge expedition that would have been, had they pulled if off, one of the greatest achievements in Himalayan mountaineering.'