- Special Edition
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The Last Blue Mountain
The great Karakoram climbing tragedy
- Special edition
- ISBN: 232 pages
- ISBN: 978-1-912560-42-4232 pages
- Ralph Barker
- Publication date
- 5th Mar '20
‘When an accident occurs, something may emerge of lasting value, for the human spirit may rise to its greatest heights. This happened on Haramosh.’
The Last Blue Mountain is the heart-rending true story of the 1957 expedition to Mount Haramosh in the Karakoram range in Pakistan. With the summit beyond reach, four young climbers are about to return to camp. Their brief pause to enjoy the view and take photographs is interrupted by an avalanche which sweeps Bernard Jillott and John Emery hundreds of feet down the mountain into a snow basin. Miraculously, they both survive the fall. Rae Culbert and Tony Streather risk their own lives to rescue their friends, only to become stranded alongside them.
The group’s efforts to return to safety are increasingly desperate, hampered by injury, exhaustion and the loss of vital climbing gear. Against the odds, Jillott and Emery manage to climb out of the snow basin and head for camp, hoping to reach food, water and assistance in time to save themselves and their companions from an icy grave. But another cruel twist of fate awaits them.
An acclaimed mountaineering classic in the same genre as Touching the Void, Ralph Barker’s The Last Blue Mountain is an epic tale of friendship and fortitude in the face of tragedy.
We will publish 200 special edition hardback copies of The Last Blue Mountain in March 2020. These will be signed by Ed Douglas, author of the 2020 Introduction, and numbered. They will be bound in black Wicotex Brillianta cloth with silver foil blocking to the spine and yellow and black head and tail bands, and come with a special edition dust jacket. This special edition hardback offer is available exclusively from our website on a first-come, first-served basis for £24 per copy inc. UK P&P. The trade paperback edition of The Last Blue Mountain will also be published in March 2020 and will be available to purchase at the same time for £12.99 inc. UK P&P.
Also available as an ebook:
Ralph Barker was born in Middlesex in 1917. He joined the editorial staff of Sporting Life in 1934 and later went into banking. He had some early success as a writer, and several of his sketches were performed at the Windmill Theatre.
In 1940 he joined the RAF as a wireless operator and air gunner. After completing his training, he served with torpedo bomber squadrons, taking part in dangerous missions to attack ships bringing supplies to German forces. He left the RAF in 1946 to return to banking, but rejoined two years later. He went on to broadcast with the British Forces Network and work for the Air Ministry.
Barker began to establish himself as a serious author on RAF subjects and his first book, Down in the Drink, was published in 1955. This was followed in 1957 by The Ship-Busters, inspired by his wartime experiences. He was subsequently invited to write The Last Blue Mountain, which was first published in 1959. He retired as a flight lieutenant in 1961 and became a full-time writer.
Cricket was Barker’s lifelong passion, and he played for the RAF and various Surrey clubs. His first cricket book, Ten Great Innings, was published in 1964, followed in 1967 by Ten Great Bowlers.
Barker continued to write non-fiction titles on mainly cricketing, survival and aviation themes, including a compendium of England–Australia Test matches and authoritative histories of the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. His final book, Men of the Bombers, was published in 2005. He died in 2011.
- Title: The Last Blue Mountain
- Subtitle: The great Karakoram climbing tragedy
- Author: Ralph Barker
- Imprint: Vertebrate Publishing
- ISBN: 978-1-912560-42-4
- Rights: Worldwide
- Publication date: 5 March 2020
- Edition: New
- Size: 240mm x 162mm
- Extent: 232 pages
- Cover: Paperback
- Weight: 200g
- Retail price: £12.99
Also available as an ebook:
- Imprint: Vertebrate Digital
- ISBN: 978-1-912560-43-1
- Publication Date: 5 March 2020
- Price: £12.99
The Last Blue Mountain has remained for climbers of my generation the most gripping survival story of its genre, and also a most readable one when compared to the many formulaic ‘Expedition’ books that had appeared prior to its publication. – Dennis Gray, Footless Crow
As I reached the end of The Last Blue Mountain and closed the final page I confess I said a silent thanks. It was not just to the late Ralph Barker for writing this excellent book, but to Tony Streather and his fellow climbers, who are the kind of men who inspire us and whose tales of bravery and resilience will continue to enthral for generations to come. – Matt Johnson, LoveReading
What is extraordinary about this book is that it is not written by a mountaineer. Ralph Barker was a professional writer with a wide output including many books on subjects as diverse as aviation and cricket. This is his only mountaineering book and the way he brings the whole story of the expedition vividly to life is almost uncanny. It all makes for great reading and Vertebrate are to be congratulated for bringing it back into print: a new generation of climbers and hillwalkers can now add it to their libraries. – Alex Roddie, TGO magazine