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The Boardman Tasker Memorial Award For Mountain Literature

Prize Background (from the appendix to The Boardman Tasker Omnibus)

The Award was founded as a memorial and tribute to the talents and achievements of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker who disappeared in 1982 on a first attempt at the Northeast Ridge on Mt Everest.


The Boardman Tasker Omnibus: Savage Arena, The Shining Mountain, Sacred Summits, Everest The Cruel Way by Peter Boardman, Joe Tasker
(Read our review)

The Prize of £2,000 is given to the author (or co-authors) of an original work which has made an outstanding contribution to Mountain Literature. The Prize is open to works of fiction, non-fiction, drama or poetry published in the English language initially or in translation. Since 1984, it has been awarded annually to a variety of books including biographies, novels, short stories, expedition accounts and autobiographies. In addition, mountaineering histories, philosophical books, conservation books, essay collections, and a guidebook/compendium have been short-listed.

The The Boardman Tasker Memorial Award is truly international and has so far attracted authors from twelve nations: America, Nepal, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India and six European countries. Liveliness in the judging panel is maintained by a two-year term of office and the juxtaposition, each year, of three judges with varied interests. The Trustees intend that the Award will promote discussion, stimulate interest in the entries, and give continuing encouragement to writers alert to the beauty and challenge of the mountains, and of life in high places.


The Boardman-Tasker Award Winners

We include lists for both the winners and the finalists (from the short list) since the award was first given in 1984. When available, we have include links to in the US, Canada, and the UK.

YEAR Winning Titles and Author
2007 The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane
Adapted from the award citation: This is neither a book of forensic investigation, nor autobiography, but elements of both styles are vibrantly present in this moving, challenging, luminously written book. MacFarlane wants to search for, and find “wildness” – noticeably, he never uses the term “wilderness” – but not only to find it: to sense it, feel it, understand it, capture something of its soul. This is a magical book in which hedgerow, summit, crag, tree, storm, shingle beach, bivouac and solo exploration are discovered and described anew. His evocations of the ordinary are extraordinary. A spurt of birds driven down the wind; a tall bright sky; a flash of the sea grass; a shrapnel-blast of shingle. There are also quiet and moving meetings with extraordinary people, first among whom is the late, great Roger Deakin. Indeed, part of the true delight and revelation of this book is the integration he achieves, melding disparate sources, observations, facts and firsthand experience; he leads us to see and think the way he does. He seeks to find and to feel the nature of Nature itself. He shows us how wildness exists just round the corner, as well as in the remote mountain peaks and vistas. That we can be moved to visit our own little pieces of wildness and come to terms with our responsibility to preserve them for others to discover anew, is gloriously celebrated in this book.

Check out the other finalists below.

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
2006 An Afterclap Of Faith: Mallory On Everest by Charles Lind

The perennial mystery of Mallory and Irvine on Everest receives an intriguing twist in a reconstruction of their fateful climb written virtually in Mallory's own words. Drawn from the climber's letters, writing and Mallory's background as a classicist, this is a near forensic examination of the evidence and points to one firm conclusion. There is a second half to the book, almost as interesting and of the same length as the first, in which the evidence for the first ascent is presented informatively and very persuasively.
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
Learning to Breathe by Andy Cave
Andy Cave's autobiography telling the story of his journey from working as a miner during the 1984 miners' strike to his emergence at the forefront of British alpine climbing and a gripping conclusion on Changabang.
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
The Villain: A Portrait of Don Whillans by Jim Perrin
A detailed and compassionate view of the life of a complex and often difficult character, who was one of the key figures in British climbing since the last war. The book is in turns funny, sad, thrilling and infuriating as one is suddenly confronted with such a rapid decline of a giant personality in our sport.
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
2004 When The Alps Cast Their Spell: Mountaineers Of The Alpine Golden Age by Trevor Braham
From the award citation: "An epic work of reference, written with skill and a deep understanding of the subject. The author opens up to the reader the learning that the early climbers underwent, their determination and bravery. It is not only the story of great summit bids but also the story of the way that cols were crossed for the first time linking the Alpine regions of Switzerland, France and Italy."
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
2003 The Fall: A Novel by Simon Mawer
From the award citation: "Simon Mawer encompasses a great swathe of British mountaineering from rock climbing in North Wales, to Himalayan expeditions and alpine ascents such as the Eiger North Face. The book succeeds where most climbing novels fail. The Fall works as an investigation into what constitutes love, friendship and betrayal, and as an authentic account of what it is like to climb and what it is like to be a climber."
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
2002 Fatal Mountaineer: The High-Altitude Life and Death of Willi Unsoeld, American Himalayan Legend by Robert Roper
From the award citation: "Robert Roper tells the story of Unsoeld’s obsession with Nanda Devi mountain and the climb he would attempt with his daughter of her namesake mountain -- a climb that would claim Devi’s life at 24,000 feet on its Northwest Face."
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
2001 Hazard's Way by Roger Hubank
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
2000 The Wildest Dream: The Biography of George Mallory by Peter and Leni Gillman
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1999 The Totem Pole And A Whole New Adventure by Paul Pritchard
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1998 Eric Shipton: Everest and Beyond by Peter Steele
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1997 Deep Play: A Climber's Odyssey From Lanberis To The Big Walls by Paul Pritchard
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1996 A Portrait of Leni Riefenstahl by Audrey Salkeld
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1995 Geoffrey Winthrop Young: Poet, Mountaineer, Educator by Alan Hankinson
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1994 At The Rising Of The Moon by Dermot Somers
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1993 The Ascent: A Novel by Jeff Long
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1992 In Monte Viso's Horizon: Climbing All the Alpine 4000m Peaks by Will McLewin
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
Mer de Glace (Masks) by Alison Fell
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
A View From The Ridge by Dave Brown and Ian Mitchell
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1990 Elusive Summits by Victor Saunders
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1989 Climbers by M. John Harrison
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1988 Touching the Void: The Harrowing First Person Account Of One Man's Miraculous Survival by Joe Simpson  My Review
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1987 A Walk To The Pole: To The Heart Of Antarctica In The Footsteps of Scott by Roger Mear and Robert Swan
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1986 Lost Mountains: Climbs in the Himalaya by Stephen Venables

Note: Published in the UK as Painted Mountains: Two Expeditions To Kashmir.
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
1985 Menlove: The Life Of John Menlove Edwards by Jim Perrin
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA
Living High: A Family Trek In The Himalayas by Linda Gill
Amazon UK
Shisha Pangma: The Alpine Style First Ascent of the Southwest Face by Doug Scott and Alex MacIntyre  My Review
Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA - Outdoor Gear



 YEAR  Short-Listed Titles and Author  


bulletFallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes by Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver
bulletThe Eiger Obsession:Facing The Mountain That Killed My Father by John Harlin III
bulletPsychovertical by Andy Kirkpatrick
bulletCham by Jonathan Trigell
bulletArarat by Frank Westerman


bulletThe Mountains Look On Marrakech by Hamish Brown
bulletHappy Climbing Tells No Tales by Judith Brown
bulletBrotherhood Of The Rope: The Biography Of Charles Houston by Bernadette McDonald
bulletThe Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane
bulletForever on the Mountain: The Truth Behind One of Mountaineering's Most Controversial and Mysterious Disasters by James Tabor
bulletHigher Than the Eagle Soars: A Path to Everest by Stephen Venables


bulletBreaking Trail: A Climbing Life by Arlene Blum
bulletHigh Endeavours: The Life and Legend of Robin Smith by Jimmy Cruickshank
bulletAn Afterclap Of Faith: Mallory On Everest by Charles Lind
bulletThe Climbing Essays by Jim Perrin (UK Only)
bulletA Rope of Writers: A Look At Mountaineering Literature In Britain by Graham Wilson (UK Only)


bulletOn Thin Ice by Mick Fowler
bulletBroad Peak by Richard Sale (UK Only)
bulletMountain Rescue Chamonix - Mont Blanc: A Season with the World's Busiest Mountain Rescue Service by Anne Sauvy (UK Only)
bulletLife and Limb: A True Story of Tragedy and Survival Against the Odds by Jamie Andrew
bulletFeet in the Clouds by Richard Askwith
bulletWith Friends In High Place by Malcom Slesser
bulletNanda Devi by Hugh Thomson
bulletEverest: The Official History by George Band
bulletTenzing: Hero of Everest by Ed Douglas
bulletYosemite: Half a Century of Dynamic Rock Climbing by Alexander Huber and Heinz Zak
bulletMountains of the Mind: How Desolate and Forbidding Heights Were Transformed into Experiences of Indomitable Spirit by Robert Macfarlane
bulletMy Father, Sandy: A Son's Memoir by Nicholas Wollaston
bulletThe Beckoning Silence by Joe Simpson   Read Review
bulletClimbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World by Lynn Hill (with Greg Child)
bulletEvidence of Things Not Seen: A Mountaineer's Tale by W.H. Murray
bulletExpeditions by Andrew Lindblade
bulletOver the Edge: The True Story of Four American Climbers' Kidnap and Escape in the Mountains of Central Asia by Greg Child
bulletTravels with the Flea and Other Eccentric Journeys by Jim Perrin
bulletClimbing Everest: A Meditation on Mountaineering and the Spirit of Adventure by Pat Ament
bulletThe Middle-Aged Mountaineer by Jim Curran
bulletPyrenean High Route by John Harding
bulletTouching My Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey To The Top Of Everest by Jamling Tenzing Norgay
bulletSnow in the Kingdom: My Storm Years on Everest by Ed Webster
bulletA Slender Thread: Escaping Disaster In The Himalayas by Steven Venables  Read Review
bulletTravail So Gladly Spent by Tom Price
bulletHell of a Journey: On Foot Through the Scottish Highlands in Winter by Mike Cawthorne
bulletWhite by Rosie Thomas
bulletCreagh Dhu Climber: The Life and Times of John Cunningham by Jeff Connor
bulletOthers tbd
bulletThe Peak: Past and Present by Gordon Stainforth
bulletA Deathful Ridge: A Novel Of Everest by J. A. Wainwright
bulletOthers tbd
bulletAgainst The Wall by Simon Yates
bulletInto Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer  Read Review
bulletIcefields by Thomas Wharton
bulletSpirits of Place by Jim Perrin
bulletDark Shadows Falling by Joe Simpson  My Review
bulletThe Return Of John MacNab by Andrew Greig
bulletStorms Of Silence by Joe Simpson
bulletSpy On The Roof Of The World by Wydney Wignall
bulletK2: The Story Of The Savage Mountain by Jim Curran
bulletVertical Pleasure: The Secret Life Of A Taxman by Mick Fowler
bulletEverest Calling: Ascent Of The Dark Side - The Mallory-Irvine Ridge by Lorna Siggins
bulletThe Burgess Book of Lies by Adrian Burgess and Alan Burgess
bulletAmong Mountains by Jim Crumley
bulletAlps 4000: 75 Peaks In 52 Days by Martin Moran
bulletNo Place to Fall: Superalpinism in the High Himalaya by Victor Saunders
bulletWe Aspired: The Last Innocent Americans by Pete Sinclair
bulletUndiscovered Country by Phil Bartlett
bulletThis Game Of Ghosts by Joe Simpson
bulletMy Vertical World: Climbing the 8,000 Meter Peaks by Jerzy Kukuczka
bulletLes Flammes de Pierre: Short Stories About Mountains And Mountaineers by Anne Sauvy
bulletSpirit Of The Age: Royal Robbins by Pat Ament
bulletThe Water People by Joe Simpson
bulletThe Endless Knot by Kurt Diemberger
bulletSuspended Sentences From the Life of a Climber by Jim Curran
bulletVortex by David Harris
bulletFootloose in the Himalaya by Mike Harding
bulletMountains And Other Ghosts by Dermot Somers
bulletEverest: Kangshung Face by Stephen Venables
bulletFeeding the Rat: A Climber's Life On The Edge by Al Alvarez 
bulletThin Air: Encounters in the Himalayas by Greg Child  My Review
bulletK2: Triumph and Tragedy by Jim Curran  My Review
bulletK2: Savage Mountain, Savage Summer by John Barry
bulletNative Stones by David Craig
bulletKingdoms of Experience: Everest, The Unclimbed Ridge by Andrew Greig
bulletOn And Off The Rocks: Selected Essays 1968-1985 by Jim Perrin
bulletSavage Snows: The Story Of Mont Blanc by Walt Unsworth
bulletSummit Fever: The Story Of An Armchair Climber On The 1984 Mustagh Tower Expedition by Andrew Greig
bulletJourney After Dawn by William Peascod


Eponymous Book(s)


The Boardman Tasker Omnibus: Savage Arena, The Shining Mountain, Sacred Summits, Everest The Cruel Way by Peter Boardman, Joe Tasker
This collection of four books describes the progression of these two climbers as they reached ever more difficult peaks. In particular, The Shining Mountain is a great account of their expedition to Changabang. It demonstrates the determination of two guys with virtually no support and a shoestring budget who climb a 23,000 foot mountain with near sheer rock walls over a route that no one has done before.
Read Review

If you like this list of award winning mountaineering books, you may be interested in checking out the winners of some of the other outdoor and climbing book prizes:
bullet American Alpine Literary Award
bullet Banff Mountain Book Festival Award
bullet National Outdoor Book Awards.

Return to TheRagens Books homepage. For other books on our lists of recommended books, follow the links below.
bulletOur Current Book List. The list of books on our current reading list.
bulletMountain Climbing and Outdoor Adventures with the cover graphics.
bullet Books on Wine Appreciation and Winemaking.
bulletChildren's Books that our boys or their cousins are reading. Click here for the Seattle Children's Theatre recommended booklist.
bulletHistory Books that relate to our family history or that we have enjoyed.
bulletOther Books that we are waiting to categorize.


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