The Boardman Tasker Prize

For Mountain Literature

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The Boardman Tasker Charitable Trust

The trust was established to promote literature by providing an annual award to authors of literary works, the central theme of which is concerned with mountains.

The prize of £3,000 commemorates the lives of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker and is given to the author or co-authors of an original work which has made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature.

On 17 May 1982 Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker were last seen on Mount Everest attempting to traverse The Pinnacles on the unclimbed North East Ridge at around 8250 metres. Their deaths marked the end of a remarkable era in British mountaineering.

Peter and Joe left two legacies. One was their great endeavour, their climbs on high peaks with bold, lightweight innovative methods which included Dunagiri, Changabang, Kongur, Everest and Kangchenjunga. The second and more lasting achievement were the books they wrote and left behind.

This literary legacy lives on through the Boardman Tasker Prize for mountain literature set up by family and friends in 1983.


Jim Curran

Jim Curran

With great sadness, we heard last night that Jim Curran had died after a long and courageous struggle with cancer.

In the climbing world Jim was much loved for his wit, humour, humility and great kindness. He was wonderful company, both on the crag and in the pub (where he excelled!) He was a great long-term friend of the Boardman Tasker Trust and served as a judge for two years. He was shortlisted for the award no less than five times and in 2014 we awarded him a much deserved, BT Lifetime Achievement Award.

God Bless you Jim - a friend to so many of us, and a writer, filmmaker and artist of great and sensitive talent. You enriched all our lives, with your sensitivity, humour and compassion. We will never forget you for so many reasons - all of them good ones.

Steve Dean
Boardman Tasker Charitable Trust

6thApril 2016

Winner of the 2015 Prize

The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains thumbnail

The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains

by Barry Blanchard by Patagonia

The irrepressible Barry Blanchard has vivid recall of every detail of his passionate struggle to escape poverty, throw himself into a hairy apprenticeship and establish himself as a non-establishment alpinist pushing himself through historic climbs and relishing the telling of the tale.

ISBN 978-1-938340-31-4

The winner of the 2015 Boardman Tasker Award is the Canadian mountaineer Barry Blanchard, with his book "The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains."

This is a gripping account of a climber's life from humble beginnings in Calgary to epic adventures in the great ranges. Known as 'The Bonatti of the Rockies', Barry has been at the cutting edge of high altitude climbing for many years and his book is a honest an visceral account of a life devoted to climbing at the highest levels, both on rock and ice.

This is one of the finest mountaineering books to appear for many years and it is destined to become a classic of that genre.

Steve Dean

The winner was announced at a prizegivng ceremony on 20th November at the Kendal Mountain Festival.

2016 Judges

Chairman Graham Desroy is an Outdoor Consultant with extensive climbing and mountaineering experience. He is a former editor of the YMC climbing guidebooks, and has served on various BMC and UIAA committees.

Terry Gifford was Director of the annual International Festival of Mountain Literature and is a former Chair of the Mountain Heritage Trust. He is the author of The Joy of Climbing and editor of The Works of John Muir and has climbed extensively for half a century.

Helen Mort is a poet, runner and climber based in Sheffield. Her first collection 'Division Street' was published by Chatto & Windus in 2013 and her next collection 'No Map Could Show Them' is forthcoming in summer 2016, a book partly inspired by the history of women's mountaineering. She has written for Climb and The Alpinist and her work features in 'Rock, Paper, Fire: The Best of Mountain and Wilderness Writing'. She is a former Poet in Residence at The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere.