Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman are possibly some of the most well-known people in the world of mountaineering. While both of them had pioneered the field of mountain climbing, there was a lot more waiting to hold them back from leading a sound life among the mountains. Both Joe and Peter were fond of mountains and did so in spite of having different family backgrounds and obligations to do otherwise. Remaining headstrong had never really been easy for Joe, especially due to several conditions in his family, but this never really stopped his stubborn heart from achieving what he was always meant to achieve. His journey, however, ended on a terrible and tragic note.
There is so much to know about Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman’s life, journey in mountaineering, and their death on the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. Make sure to read till the end of this article to know more!
Who Was Joe Tasker?
Joe Tasker was a British mountaineer who passed away at the tallest peak of the world, Mount Everest, doing what he loved the most. He was born in 1948 to a very strict Catholic Christian family. It was never quite easy for a person like him, who comes from a household like that, to follow his dreams. But instead of doing what everyone else was, Tasker chose to follow his dreams, which led to mountaineering.
The mountaineer had made several amazing attempts to climb the mountains that have rather been considered difficult by even the most skilled mountaineers in the world. Though he passed away in Mount Everest, like a lot many mount climbers, his legacy has remained to this date.
Joe Tasker’s Climbs
Joe’s journey in mountaineering has been quite legendary. He made some of the most successful and notable climbs alongside his climbing partner Dick Renshaw. Joe and Dick took off to the North Face of the Eiger and made it possible to climb the mountain that had long been feared and seen as a massive challenge by many other experienced mountaineers throughout the world. This climb really made history and created a stir among mountain climbers. Soon after, the duo also climbed the East Face of the Grand Jorasses in the year 1975. This climb was just as legendary as it was also their second climb there.
During his climb to the Dunagiri in 1976 among the Himalayas, he came up with a plan that not only shocked his other mountaineer friends but many even questioned his decision. He wanted to climb the West Wall of Chingabang. Then he approached Peter Boardman, another legendary British mountaineer, to join him in the terrific and bone-chilling journey. This was the start of their amazing partnership, which, unfortunately, ended on a very sad note when they ascended Mount Everest in 1982.
Who was Peter Boardman?
Peter Boardman was a British mountaineer who was born in Stockport, Cheshire, England, to parents Alan Howe Boardman and Dorothy Boardman. He first started his climbing journey with his friends from Windgather Rocks in the Peak District National Park. Boardman also went on school trips to Corsica and the Swabian Alps in the years 1965 and 1966 when he was studying at Stockport Grammar School. He later joined the Mynydd Climbing Club in 1966, motivating him to climb the Pennine Alps in 1968.
He also became the President of the Mountaineering Club in the years 1971 and 1972. His first expedition was in Afghanistan in the year 1972. Similarly, Peter tied the knot with Hilary Collins in August 1980. Though she was a teacher responsible for outdoor activities, Hilary had also always been in love with adventures and mountains. This common interest helped them ascend some of the most prominent mountains in the world, like Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, and Carstensz Pyramid. Collins went to Switzerland after leaving Britain and letting go of her position as a teacher. She later joined her husband as Director of the International School of Mountaineering.
Boardman, on the other hand, has been the holder of several positions like Mountain Guide Carnet – September 1977, Vice-president, British Mountaineering Council, elected in 1979, President, Association of British Mountain Guides, elected in 1979.
Peter Boardman’s Climbs
Like Joe Tasker, Peter has made several legendary climbs to many mountains throughout the world in his short yet exceptionally big life. In Europe itself, he has climbed Petit Dru, SW Pillar. He was also a part of the very first British expedition ever to climb the North Face Direct of the Olan, the WNW face of Pic Sans Nom, the North Face of the Nesthorn, the North Face Direct of the Lauterbrunnen Breithornand, and the SW face of Aiguille de Sialouz. The mountaineer was also successful in climbing the north face of the Matterhorn. When he was on his ascent to the North Spur of the Droites, he crossed paths with Joe Tasker and Dick Renshaw.
His other notable climbs include the Hindu Kush in the Himalayas, Mount Dan Beard, Alaska, Everest, South West Face, Changabang, West Wall, K2, West Ridge, Carstensz Pyramid, Kangchenjunga, North Ridge, Gauri Sankar, South Summit, K2, West Ridge and Abruzzi Spur, Kongur, and Everest, North East Ridge.
Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman climb together
Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman started getting along quite well with one another after climbing Chololungma in Sagarmatha, or Mount Everest. This had to be one of their bravest climb, as no one would even have dared to go there at the cost of their own lives. These two mountaineers, however, succeeded in doing so without the help of any Sherpas or guides.
This in itself, and at that time period, was the most legendary thing any mountaineer had done. Peter Boardman even went on to write a book called “The Shining Mountain,” talking about his difficult climb alongside his partner. The event not only made the mountaineers popular among the people engaged in mountaineering, but the duo also started conquering several other mountains like K2, the north ridge of Nuptse, Mount Kanchenjunga, and even the unclimbed mountain in China, Mount Conger.
What happened to Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman?
Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman were the most influential and successful mountaineers of their time. It is no surprise that the duo was chosen to climb the ridge of Mount Everest, which no one had ever climbed before. The two went there in 1982 and never returned, though.
On Mount Everest, they were last seen at 27,000 feet late on May 17 before they disappeared. On their way up, they lost the radio contact. Marty Hoey, an American mountaineer and guide, had been murdered in the mountain only two days before the mountaineers were reported dead. Sadly, the body of Hoey was never recovered.
Joe and Peter both made it later to the peak. Their team was willing to not climb the tallest peak with the most altitude and the most difficulty in the world without any artificial oxygen. The ultimate cause of their death is still a mystery to the world. Their case has very closely been related and associated with the case of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, who disappeared almost similarly in the year 1924. The cause of their disappearance has very often been labeled as murder, but it still has not been clear as to how the duo died a century ago. The mountain remained unclimbed till 1953.
Peter also made an expedition with Chris Bonington to Mount Kongur in the Chinese Pamirs just a year before he passed away. Since there were several assumptions about the murder of mountaineers in the mountain, including Marty Hoey and many other mountaineers, throughout the decades, it was mildly assumed that Peter and Joe may have also been killed in the mountain without having anyone known about it. But, the mystery still remains as they were climbing the most difficult and dangerous ridge on Mount Everest without any supervision. Chances of an avalanche having swept them or a strong wind have also very closely been associated as the reason as to why the mountaineers disappeared without a single person knowing about them vanishing.
Team leader Chris Bonington about the tragedy of Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman
When the expedition leader Chris Bonington, who had made it down the mountain safely, heard about the unfortunate news, he was shaken to the point that he couldn’t get himself to even deliver interviews to more than just a few interviewers. In one of his interviews, however, Bonington said that when he looked through his binoculars, he saw his teammates climb the mountain and disappear in thin air in an instant. Chris was not quite sure about the duo’s happenings as he was too exhausted from his own climb. However, he assumed that they had taken off from the mountain through the 10,000-foot Kangshung face.
In an interview, Bonington told Four Principal Climbers, ”It was inconceivable that they could have remained out of sight four nights and five days, unless some disaster occurred, particularly at that altitude, where the human body deteriorates very quickly, especially as they were not using oxygen.”
Likewise, he stated that Renshaw had to be evacuated from the mountain due to the extreme conditions, which led to Peter and Joe taking charge of completing the journey together. After the loss of the most amazing climbers, Bonington came to the conclusion that the team was rather too small for the expedition.
Chris added, ”All of us expressed while we were doing the climb that it was the most arduous climb any of us had ever undertaken, but it was a worthwhile, exciting challenge, and Pete and Joe were very nearly in sight of complete success, and it’s just tragic that this happened to them.” in an interview with a British journal in the eighties.
Furthermore, in an interview with the Chinese media, the team leader said, ”They both had excellent mountain judgment and, whilst being bold and determined in concept, were also sensibly cautious. Their loss is an immense one to the entire world of mountaineering.”
Possible sightings of Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman
There have been several assumptions of sightings of the mountaineers throughout the decade. They have been assumed to have been seen dead in the mountain by several expedition teams. The heights that Tasker and Boardman climbed were not expedited in 1985, 1986, and 1987. In 1992, a joint Japanese-Kazakh team went to the mountain and sent photos of a dead body, which was assumed to have been of Peter Boardman, to Bonington. The former team leader of the two mountaineers confirmed that with the given descriptions in the picture that was provided to him, the man could actually be Peter.
Again, a Japanese expedition team in 1995 sent a picture of another body sighting that they thought resembled that of Joe Tasker. When Chris took a look at this body, he could not confirm that the body belonged to Joe, but he was pretty sure that this body, again, was that of Boardman. Tasker, according to the assumptions that have ever been made about their deaths, has never really been found. It is quite obvious that the team leader was not mistaken about both the sightings of the body belonging to Peter Boardman and not Joe Tasker. Likewise, the cause of both their deaths is nothing but a mystery even to this day.
- Mick Burke: 1975 Expedition And Tragic Missing Of English Mountaineer
- Noel Hanna: Accomplished Climber Did Not Survive Ruthless Manaslu
- Chhang Dawa Sherpa: First Brothers To Summit 14 Peaks
- David Sharp: Everest Climb Without Oxygen Supplements
Frequently Asked Questions
Was Peter Boardman ever found?
Vladamir Suviga took a picture of a dead body found in the North ridge of the Everest, which was assumed to have belonged to Peter.
Was Joe Tasker ever found?
No, Joe Tasker was never found.
What happened to Peter Boardman?
He disappeared on a climb to the North Ridge of the Mount Everest.
What happened on Everest in 1982?
Two mountaineers, Joe Tasker and Peter Boardman, disappeared in the North Ridge while Hoey, a female mountaineer, was murdered in the mountain in 1982.
Who was Joe Tasker’s girlfriend?
Joe Tasker’s girlfriend was Maria Coffey.