Changabang 1976

Having seen Changabang from Dunagiri in 1975, Joe became haunted by this beautiful mountain.

At 22,520 feet, it wasn’t the highest of the Himalayan peaks and it had been climbed before, but the route that excited Joe was the West Face. With 5000 feet of vertical granite, Chris Bonington had called an attempt on it “preposterous”. Not only was it deemed to be the most technically difficult climb in the Himalaya at the time, but Joe was determined to undertake the expedition Alpine style – lightweight on both equipment and climbers! This caused some concern with the Indian mountaineering bureaucracy and only with the help of friends in India was permission finally granted. Joe knew that a key ingredient would be his climbing partner and, with Dick Renshaw out of commission following severe frostbite on Dunagiri, he asked Pete Boardman. Extraordinarily, they had never climbed together before but Joe sensed a common “attitude of mind” and the “same spirit” in Pete (Savage Arena). This compatibility, skills, preparation and the intensity of their joint determination to climb the mountain ensured their eventual success.