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Savage Arena

Paperback (252pp)
  • Paperback £12.50
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PLEASE NOTE: This is a print on demand title and may take up to ten working days to arrive

Joe Tasker lies, struck down by illness, in a damp, bug-infested room in the Himalaya, wondering if he will be well enough to climb Dunagiri, his first venture to the ‘big’ mountains. One of Britain’s foremost mountaineers and a pioneer of lightweight climbing, he is about to attempt one of the first true ‘Alpine-style’ climbs in the Greater Ranges.

The Dunagiri attempt forms part of Tasker’s striking tale of adventure in the savage arena of the mountains. A superb writer, he vividly describes the first British winter ascent of the North Face of the Eiger, the first ascent of the West Wall of Changabang – considered a ‘preposterous’ plan by the climbing world – and his two unsuccessful attempts on K2, the second highest mountain on Earth.

Savage Arena is both moving and exciting, an inspirational tale of the adventuring spirit which follows its own path, endlessly seeking new challenges, climbs and difficulties to overcome. It is not reaching the summit which counts, it is the journey to it. It is also a story of the stresses and strains of living for long periods in constant anxiety, often with only one other person, and of the close and vital human relationships which spring from those circumstances.

 ‘The most riveting book on climbing that I have ever read.’ Chris Bonington

A gripping story of tremendous courage and unbelievable endurance.’ Sir Edmund Hillary


Also available as an ebook:

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Joe Tasker (1948-82) was a phenomenal mountaineer, an innovative pioneer of lightweight climbing with a real talent for writing. He died attempting a new route on Mount Everest with his friend Peter Boardman. Their deaths marked the end of a remarkable era in British mountaineering.

Tasker began climbing in his teens. Increasingly drawn to mountaineering, he made several remarkable ascents in the Alps, including the first British winter ascent of the Eiger North Face. Progressing to the Himalaya, he began to tackle routes of extreme technical difficulty in a bold, lightweight style at a time when huge expeditions and siege tactics were still the mountaineering norm. Among his many climbs were the first ascent of the awesome West Wall of Changabang with Peter Boardman, the first ascent of Mount Kongur and an epic attempt on K2 with Boardman, reaching nearly 8,000 metres before being thwarted by unsettled weather.

Tasker was a fantastic writer and the author of two books. The first was Everest the Cruel Way, an exciting account of his winter attempt on Everest. The second Savage Arena, recounted his adventures in the ‘savage arena of the high mountains’ and was finished just before he left for Everest in 1982. Both have become mountaineering classics.

Tasker and Boardman left two legacies: their innovative climbs and the books they wrote. The Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature was established in memory of the two men by their family and friends. It is presented annually to the author or co-authors of an original work which has made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature. For more information, visit:

  • Title: Savage Arena
  • Imprint: Vertebrate Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-911342-24-3
  • Rights: Worldwide
  • Publication: 9 December 2016
  • Author: Joe Tasker
  • Classification: Climbing and mountaineering (WSZG); Autobiography: sport (BGSA); Extreme Sports (WSE); Himalayas (1FKAH); Nepal (1FKN); Switzerland (1DFH); India (1FKA)
  • Size: 234mm x 156mm
  • Extent: 252 pages
  • Cover: Paperback 
  • Retail price: £9.99

Also available as an ebook:

  • Imprint: Vertebrate Digital
  • ISBN: 978-1-906148-75-1
  • Publication Date: 01 October 2013
  • Price: £4.99

The most riveting book on climbing that I have ever read.
Chris Bonington

A gripping story of tremendous courage and unbelievable endurance.
Sir Edmund Hillary

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