Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature 2016 Shortlist

© UKC News

Interest in the Boardman Tasker (BT) Award for Mountain Literature remains as great as ever and this year’s competition has resulted in 35 books being submitted, from personal journeys and adventures, poetry, biographies & autobiographies to novels.

The BT Award highlights afresh the memory of Pete Boardman and Joe Tasker, but it seeks to do more than that. The Award recognises and rewards outstanding books of literature concerned with the mountain environment, books which will in turn challenge and inspire their readers, perhaps to climb or to explore the world of mountains, perhaps to write or perhaps to look at the world in a different way. Perpetuating and refreshing the challenge and inspiration of mountains through literature is one way in which the BT Trust seeks to remember Pete and Joe.

This year’s judges Graham Desroy (Chair), Terry Gifford and Helen Mort have selected the following books for this year’s shortlist:

Alex Honnold: Alone on the Wall  © UKC News
Alex Honnold with David Roberts Alone on the Wall (Pan Macmillan) The cover of this book sends a shiver down the spine. The life of an un-roped solo climber is its sensational subject. But it is the quality of Alex Honnold’s articulation of his approach to this purest of pursuits that grabs the reader, together with his honesty about the personal costs of his lifestyle and amazing achievements, contextualised by David Roberts in this well-crafted book.



Simon McCartney: The Bond  © UKC News
Simon McCartney The Bond (Vertebrate Publishing) Simon McCartney’s title is the theme of his book - the bond between climbers upon which he increasingly comes to rely in his accounts of two epic new routes in Alaska in 1978 and 1980 that demonstrate a remarkable self-awareness verging upon hubris, as he readily admits.



Steve Olson: Eruption  © UKC News
Steve Olson Eruption (W.W.Norton & Co) When a smoking Mount St Helens actually erupted on a spring Sunday morning in 1980 fifty-seven people were killed, some as far as thirteen miles away. Steve Olson not only tells their personal stories, but also turns the tension between the science and the cultural assumptions at play on that day into a drama that reads like a tragic thriller.



Mark Vallance: Wild Country  © UKC News
Mark Vallance Wild Country (Vertebrate Publishing) More than the story of ‘the man who made Friends’, this book reveals that the spirit brought to bear on friendships, climbs, BMC management and tough business dilemmas, can be harnessed to deal with the onset of Parkinson’s disease in a direct and at times humorous narrative.



Robert Wainwright: The Maverick Mountaineer  © UKC News
Robert Wainwright The Maverick Mountaineer (Allen & Unwin) It was the Australian rebel George Finch who demonstrated the value of oxygen in reaching almost 27,000 feet on Everest in 1922. But Robert Wainwright’s biography also reveals an eccentric scientist and inventor whose complicated personal life extended to his strange relationship with his son, actor Peter Finch. 




All comments on the books are courtesy of Terry Gifford.

The winner of the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature will be a book that Pete and Joe would be proud of being associated with. The winner will be announced on November 18th 2016 at the Kendal Mountain Festival after the BT Shortlisted Authors event. Stephen Venables, mountaineer and writer will chat with the shortlisted authors, and they will all read from their books. The anniversary of Pete and Joe’s Changabang in 1976 will be marked by a display.

For the full details of all the submitted books, please see the new BT website,

See for further details.

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25 Aug, 2016
Thanks to Steve and Terry for writing this. Mick
25 Aug, 2016
Good stuff. I'd just about finished reading last year's list...
25 Aug, 2016
Miserable bstrds Mick! I guess dating a pole dancer - then a professional Dominatrix counts for nowt these days then. Grumble, grumble. Bstrds, no three grand for 'Punk in the Gym' then! There is even some rock climbing in it but not enough snowy mountains obviously. Am not bitter. Honest. No, seriously, am not. Good luck to 'The Bond', sounds like a ripper. Cheers, Andy Boorm ,,, err Pollitt.
25 Aug, 2016
I'm surprised Punks in the Gym isn't in the list, that's the book I can't wait to read.
25 Aug, 2016
Pah, did Al Evans not date a Spanish hooker for a while? He didn't win any prize for that, not even a STD.
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