The Canadian mountaineer Barry Blanchard has won this year’s Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature with his book “The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains.”
Described as a gripping account of a climbers life from humble beginnings in Calgary to epic adventures in the great ranges. Known as ‘The bonatti of the Rockies’, Barry has been at the cutting edge of high altitude climbing for many years and his book is an honest an visceral account of a life devoted to climbing at the highest levels, both on rock and ice. The judges described the book as, “one of the finest mountaineering books to appear for many years” and said it was likely to become a classic.
The other books which reached the prestigious shortlist were:
In Some Lost Place by Sandy Allan – an epic account of an incredible feat of endurance and commitment at the very limits of survival – and the first ascent of one of the last challenges in the Himalaya.
Snowblind: Stories of Alpine Obsession by Daniel Arnold – a collection of short stories by veteran travel writer and alpinist Daniel Arnold, explores mountaineering and the power it holds over the people who pursue it.
Cold Feet, Stories of a Middling Climber by David Pagel – for thirty years David Pagel has been contributing to American magazines wry, self-effacing accounts of his climbing his way through classic peaks, famous personalities and our often puzzling mountaineering culture. His bemused sense of fun cannot disguise his climbing and writing achievements.
One Day as a Tiger by John Porter – a biography of Alex MacIntyre in which Porter recreates both the anarchic spirit of an era and its uneasy flaws with unflinching personal honesty.
The prize of £3,000 commemorates the lives of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker and is given to the author or co-authors of an original work which has made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature.
On 17 May 1982 Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker were last seen on Mount Everest attempting to traverse The Pinnacles on the unclimbed North East Ridge at around 8250 metres. Their deaths marked the end of a remarkable era in British mountaineering.
Peter and Joe left two legacies. One was their great endeavour, their climbs on high peaks with bold, lightweight innovative methods which included Dunagiri, Changabang, Kongur, Everest and Kangchenjunga. The second and more lasting achievement were the books they wrote and left behind.
This literary legacy lives on through the Boardman Tasker Prize for mountain literature set up by family and friends in 1983.