Local Culture

Joe was particularly keen on understanding the local cultures he encountered, and on expeditions he was keen to buy supplies and spend time in the local area as much as possible.

He covers these times in some detail in his books showing that expeditions were not just about the climbing but also the long journeys in, staying in houses, villages and towns with local people whilst appreciating the changing scenery and natural history.

“I felt that we belonged more to the country travelling as we were. Only the four of us were foreigners. Our fifty porters were all from the region…we were not so big a foreign group that we swamped the villages we entered. We needed local produce and the local people came to us for medicine.” (Joe Tasker, Savage Arena)

On an expedition there is always the need to engage the services of local people as liaison officer, cooks, porters, mail runners, yak handlers etc and Joe’s books describe daily dealings with these vital members of the team.

“When we at last exited from the gorge, the porters broke into song…The song of the porters was a long traditional ballad of courtship and romance. The whole recitation takes several days but our porters would sing parts of it at night…They danced in time to the song…a mime so well executed that we had no need of words to follow the story…I felt that we were privileged to glimpse another side to the life of the people.” (Joe Tasker discussing an expedition to K2 in Savage Arena).