One of the greatest books ever The Shinning Mountain By Pete Boardman and at the time in 1978 was one of the hardest climbs ever done in the Himalays. Two man against a great mountain. I went to a lecture by Pete on his return in 1978 expecting a talk about his Everest trip, he spoke about this in a lecture called * Total commitment” It was an incredible night about the Shinning Mountain and one that I will never forget.
His most notable ascents were made with fellow Brit Joe Tasker. Their first together was chronicled in Boardman’s book, The Shining Mountain(1978), when they attempted the blank West Face of Changabang in the Garhwal Himalaya. Ken Wilson, a British climbing magazine editor, commented that their planned line, which Chris Bonnington announced to the public, “didn’t look like a married man’s route.” (Which makes me chuckle every time I read it.)
I had met Pete a lot when he was at Glenmore Lodge in the Cairngorms he was a very talented mountaineer. We met in a few gully’s and I walked of the hill with him a few times, He had no ego and we got on well He liked my dog Teallach, who at times got in the way in the gullies! Pete and Joe Tasker went on to become incredible mountaineers, who pushed the Himalayan Alpine style to the limit.
In 1982 Pete and Joe were again on Everest trying to climb the North East ridge with the famous pinnacles, they were unclimbed at the time.
” Boardman and Tasker made a final push to cross the Pinnacles. Boardman and Tasker left Advance Base Camp on 15 May and reached the second snow cave the same day. By 16 May they reached the third snow cave and made what was to be their last radio contact with Bonington that evening. On 17 May they moved slowly beyond the First Pinnacle and were last seen at 9.00pm at the foot of the Second Pinnacle at 8,250m having been climbing for 14 hours. By 21 May, with no sign of Boardman and Tasker for 4 days Bonington and Clarke travelled up the Kangshung Valley to search the other side of the ridge for any sign of the missing climbers, while Gordon maintained a watch at Advance Base Camp. By the beginning of June the expedition was back at Base Camp and Bonington travelled to Chengdu to break the news of the deaths to Boardman and Tasker’s families ”
Expeditions to the North East Ridge in 1985, 1986 and 1987 failed to reach Boardman and Tasker’s high point. In August 1988, Russell Brice and Harry Taylor succeeded in crossing the Pinnacles, thus completing the unclimbed section of the route, before descending via the North Ridge. They saw no sign of Boardman or Tasker due to heavy monsoon snow cover.
The next expedition on the ridge was in 1992 when a joint Japanese–Kazakh expedition crossed the Pinnacles but were unable to continue to the summit. They found a body beyond the second pinnacle at approximately 8,200m on the Rongbuk side of the ridge.] Photographs taken by Vladimir Suviga and sent to Chris Bonnington enabled the body to be identified, from the clothing and features, as Peter Boardman. Joe has never been found.
When I visited the North side of Everest I walked over to the North East Ridge, I was on my own and it was an incredible sight. What a place and to try to climb it Alpine style was some undertaking. I helped clean up Joe and Pete’s stone a Base Camp, what a tragedy we lost such talent so young, If you get a chance read the books they have written they are incredible writing of the trials and tribulations of high altitude mountaineering.