Shortlist 2008

This year's Boardman Tasker Prize received entries from Canada, the USA, South Africa and Ethiopia, as well as the UK, and the shortlist of five reflects the range of books submitted, from classic mountaineering history to a dark Chamonix-based novel, by way of Mount Ararat and two obsessional climbing lives.

The judges' shortlist is as follows:


Fallen Giants, by Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver, published by Yale University Press

A sustained and eminently readable history of Himalayan mountaineering that pulls together and references rigorously the crucial explorations that have provided the peaks with climbers. An important addition to the shortlist.


The Eiger Obsession, by John Harlin III, published by Hutchinson

This book surprised the judges by its candour, open style and plain readability. As a balanced account of a controversial climb and personality, this is exemplary. A much enjoyed and no-doubt popular choice.


Psychovertical, by Andy Kirkpatrick, published by Hutchinson

In measured and balanced writing throughout, Kirkpatrick finds the perfect measure of himself, his obsession and some of the most dangerous climbs on the planet. That he is equally honest about his dyslexic upbringing and selfish impulses as a husband and father is also more than endearing: an outstanding biography in its own right.

  Cham, by Jonathan Trigell, published by Serpent's Tail

An account of a fictional amoralist in the mountains. With strongly drawn characters and some powerful set pieces, it challenges received ideas about subject matter and deserves recognition.


Ararat, by Frank Westerman, published by Harvill Secker

Wholly engaging, thought-provoking and challenging of simplistic beliefs, the mountain as metaphor sits subtly behind the explorations in this book. Shortlisted because it asks us to think deeply with its author.

Full list of entries