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Everest the Cruel Way

Paperback (132pp)
  • 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

In November 1980 an eight-man British team set out to climb Mount Everest in a style never before attempted. Their goal was to reach the summit via the infamous West Ridge, to climb it without the aid of supplementary oxygen and to do it in winter, at the time of year when the Himalayan climate is at its worst.

On 30 January 1981 Joe Tasker and Ade Burgess stood on the crest of the West Ridge of the mountain, at a height of 24,000 feet. Below them were their companions, some exhausted, some crippled by illness, all virtually incapacitated. Further progress was impossible. The expedition retreated.

Everest the Cruel Way is Joe Tasker’s story of this attempt to climb the highest mountain on earth – a climb which proved too much for even a group of Britain’s finest mountaineers.

First published in 1981, and available now for the first time as an ebook, Tasker’s epic account of the Everest West Ridge expedition vividly describes experiences which no climber had previously encountered or endured – and in doing so Tasker weaves a gripping narrative, not only of one man’s quest to climb Everest but of the whole challenge of what motivates men and women to search for conquests hitherto unachieved.


Also available as an ebook:

  • Imprint: Vertebrate Digital
  • ISBN: 978-1-906148-74-4
  • Publication Date: 01 October 2013
  • Price: £4.99

Kindle UK

Kindle USA




Joe Tasker was one of Britain’s foremost mountaineers. He was a pioneer of lightweight, ‘Alpine-style’ climbing in the Greater Ranges and had a special talent for writing. He died, with his friend Peter Boardman, high on Everest in 1982 while attempting the previously unclimbed North East Ridge. Their deaths marked the end of a remarkable era in British mountaineering.

Born in Hull in 1948, Joe began rock climbing in his teens. Drawn to mountaineering, he made many remarkable ascents in the Alps, including the first British winter ascent of the North Face of the Eiger, before moving to the Greater Ranges. Here, Joe pioneered routes of extreme technical difficulty in a bold, Alpine-style – at a time when huge expeditions and siege tactics were still the mountaineering norm.

Peter and Joe left two legacies. One was their great endeavour, their climbs on high peaks with bold, lightweight innovative methods; the second is the books they wrote and left behind. Both had developed a special talent for writing. Joe’s first book Everest the Cruel Way is 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. Both have become mountaineering classics.

The Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature was established in Pete and Joes’ honour, and 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 about the Boardman Tasker Prize, visit:

  • Title: Everest the Cruel Way
  • Author: Joe Tasker
  • Imprint: Vertebrate Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-911342-23-6
  • Rights: Worldwide
  • Publication date: 1 December 2016
  • Author: Joe Tasker
  • Classification: Climbing and mountaineering (WSZG); Autobiography: sport (BGSA); Extreme Sports (WSE); Himalayas (1FKAH); Nepal (1FKN)
  • Size: 234mm x 156mm
  • Extent: 132 pages
  • Cover: Paperpack 
  • Retail price: £9.99
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