Joe Tasker

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.

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