Joe’s first book, Everest the Cruel Way, was published in 1981 and concentrates on one expedition, the eight man British team attempt on Everest 1980/81.
Their aim was to attempt the as yet unclimbed West Ridge, not only with a small team but also without oxygen and in winter when the Himalayan climate is at its worst. Joe had already committed to a K2 expedition in the spring of 1980 and as the Everest expedition was planned for 1981/2 he was looking forward to a lengthy, for him, period at home in between. Unfortunately, the permit was not available for five years later or a year earlier! The period at home was shortened and expedition planning went into full swing.
On 30 January 1981 Joe and his fellow climber Aid Burgess stood on the crest of the West Ridge at a height of 24,000 ft. Below them were their companions, some exhausted, some crippled by illness, all virtually incapacitated. Further progress was impossible and the expedition returned home.
Joe spoke at the Yorkshire Post Literary Luncheon during the publicity for the book before setting off for his next adventure.