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The Everest disasters of recent years have focused world attention on humanity's obsession with high-altitude mountaineering. What is it that drives people to court such awful risk? And what is the real cost in human terms? Nobody has written more eloquently about these matters than BC author Maria Coffey. Fragile Edge details her love affair with elite British mountaineer Joe Tasker, who perished with his partner Joe Boardman while attempting Everest's "unclimbable" Northeast Ridge in 1982. Coffey writes about her experiences first as an observer of the hard-partying mountaineering scene and then during her long journey towards an understanding and acceptance of the tragedy that cost her the man she loved. This book gives us an insider's view of the life of a world-class mountaineer; it also recounts Coffey's deeply moving pilgrimage with Boardman's widow across Tibet, retracing Boardman and Tasker's steps as far as their abandoned Advance Base Camp, 21,000 feet on Everest.
When Fragile Edge appeared in hardcover ten years ago it was hailed for bringing "an extraordinary new dimension" to mountaineering literature. Mountain Magazine called it "Emotionally vivid, a fresh and powerful piece of writing:" Coffey says simply, "It is about the other side of mountaineering-the human side:" It is aside that recent events on Everest have placed more in the forefront than ever before.
This paperback edition contains new photos, a foreword by mountaineering legend Sir Christian Bonington (who led the expedition on which Tasker died) and an updated epilogue by Coffey.
Posted December 1, 2001
I first read this book several years ago, and felt extremely moved by the writing. The horrific events of Sept 11th this year caused me to pick it up again. Coffey managed to make me interested in what motivated people to climb mountains. Her journey to acceptance of what happened to her boyfriend Joe Tasker, and what it taught her about life, is beautifully described. A book to make you reflect on how precious life is, and how it can all change in an instant. Bit like what happened Sept 11th............Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.