Joe Tasker was born in Hull in 1948. As the eldest son of a strong
Catholic family, Joe was sent to Ushaw College, a Roman Catholic
seminary, at the age of thirteen but later took a degree in sociology
at Manchester University. After getting a good degree, he decided
not to settle into a career but to allow himself the freedom to
climb. His early mountaineering was largely spent in the Alps where
he climbed a number of demanding routes, including the North Face
of the Eiger in the winter of 1974-5.
In 1975 he experienced his first Himalayan peaks, preferring small
light weight expeditions. After Dunagiri in 1976, he conceived the
audacious idea of climbing the awesome West Wall of Changabang with
Peter Boardman. In 1977 he attempted, without success, the North
Ridge of Nuptse and in 1978 he went with Chris Bonington's expedition
to K2,where he witnessed the huge avalanche that swept away his
friend Nick Estcourt. The following year, in 1979, he went to Nepal
and successfully climbed Kangchenjunga with Doug Scott, Peter Boardman
and Georges Bettembourg. In 1980 he returned to K2 and in an epic
attempt with Peter Boardman reached 7975 metres before being thwarted
by unsettled weather.
Shortly after returning from K2, Joe attempted a winter ascent of
the West Ridge of Everest. Later that year, in 1981, he summited
Mount Kongur, an unclimbed peak in Western China, with Chris Bonington
Peter Boardman and Alan Rouse. He returned again to Everest in March
1982 to climb the North East Ridge on which he tragically lost his
life with Peter Boardman.
Joe developed a special talent for writing. His first book, Everest
The Cruel Way, was 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.
Click for obituary of Joe Tasker