Most mountaineers are unable to make a living from climbing and exploration alone and Joe Tasker was no exception.

From the age of 13 Joe trained to become a Catholic priest at Ushaw College near Durham. When he was 21 Joe made the difficult decision to leave the seminary. Joe then worked as a dustman, and at a quarry in the Lake District, before studying Sociology at Manchester University. After university Joe spent time climbing in the Alps then stayed on to work in the Swiss vineyards and at an archaeological site in Beaume.

Following mountaineering in Britain and the Alps, the next step for Joe was expeditions in the Himalayas. To reach these mountains, thousands of miles away from Britain, Joe needed both time and money. He worked in various jobs to raise his share of the money for expeditions – these included supply teaching, night shifts in a cold store, and providing technical advice to a boot manufacturer.

Eventually, Joe decided to open an outdoor equipment shop. He hoped this would give him a steady income and time to go away on expeditions. The shop was called Magic Mountain and was based in Hope, Derbyshire. While Joe was away on expedition the shop was run by manager Alf Gledhill and assistant Jo Allwright.