‘It's a preposterous plan. Still, if you do get up it, I think it'll be the hardest thing that's been done in the Himalaya.’
So spoke Chris Bonington when Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker presented him with their plan to tackle the unclimbed West Wall of Changabang – the Shining Mountain – in 1976. Bonington's was one of the more positive responses; most felt the climb impossibly hard, especially for a two-man, lightweight expedition. This was, after all, perhaps the most fearsome and technically challenging granite wall in the Garhwal Himalaya and an ascent – particularly one in a lightweight style – would be more significant than anything done on Everest at the time. The idea had been Joe Tasker's. He had photographed the sheer, shining, white granite sweep of Changabang's West Wall on a previous expedition and asked Pete to return with him the following year.
Tasker contributes a second voice throughout Boardman's story, which starts with acclimatisation, sleeping in a Salford frozen-food store, and progresses through three nights of hell, marooned in hammocks during a storm, to moments of exultation at the variety and intricacy of the superb, if punishingly difficult, climbing. It is a story of how climbing a mountain can become an all-consuming goal, of the tensions inevitable in forty days of isolation on a two-man expedition; as well as a record of the moment of joy upon reaching the summit ridge against all odds.
First published in 1978, The Shining Mountain is Peter Boardman's first book. It is a very personal and honest story that is also amusing, lucidly descriptive, very exciting, and never anything but immensely readable.
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About the Author
He was part of Chris Bonington's 1975 Everest expedition, made an almost impossibly difficult ascent of Changabang with Joe Tasker in 1976 and went on to climb Kangchenjunga and to attempt to summit K2, being beaten back by poor weather and exhaustion.
Mount Kongur followed in 1981 and, in March 1982, in a small expedition with Chris Bonington, Joe Tasker and Dick Renshaw, he attempted the previously unclimbed and highly difficult North East Ridge of Everest, where he and Joe Tasker tragically lost their lives.
Peter and Joe left two legacies. One was their great endeavour, their climbs on high peaks with bold, lightweight innovative methods, the second and more lasting achievement is the books they wrote and left behind. Peter's talent for writing emerged through his climbing career. The success of his first book The Shining Mountain was immediate in the climbing world and won him wider acclaim with the John Llewelyn Rhys Memorial Prize for literature in 1979. Sacred Summits, published shortly after his death, described the climbing year of 1979, the trips to New Guinea, Kangchenjunga and Gaurisankar.
Table of ContentsForeword by Chris Bonington; 1- A Great Partnership; 2- From the West; 3- The Rim of the Sanctuary; 4- The First Stone; 5- The Barrier; 6- Survival; 7- Recovery; 8- The Upper Tower; 9- Beyond the Line; 10- Descent to Tragedy; 11- The Outside; Chronology