The Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature started in 1983 to commemorate the lives of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker. Every year, a new jury selects a handful of books for the shortlist and the winner is announced in the fall. In 2016, 35 books were submitted and the jury, Graham Desroy, Terry Gifford and Helen Mort have selected the following for the shortlist. In every issue of Gripped magazine, we have book reviews that you shouldn’t miss if you love to read climbing novels, biographies and journals.
ALEX HONNOLD WITH DAVID ROBERTS
ALONE ON THE WALL
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, contextualized by David Roberts in this well-crafted book.
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.
W. W. NORTON & CO
When a smoking Mount St Helens erupted on a spring Sunday morning in 1980 57 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.
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.
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, the actor Peter Finch.