What drives a person to scale dangerous heights, across punishing terrain, in sub-zero temperatures? Is it for the view?
One only has to look at the photographs of beautiful, dramatic mountain landscapes, taken by Joe Tasker to appreciate he had an eye for a breath-taking vista. Much of his photographic work was published, post expeditions, in the glossy Sunday magazines accompanying detailed reports of climbs but as he wrote:
‘If it were only the view that was sought, no one would ever climb. For a climber there is more, though it may be little understood.’
Writing in Savage Arena, the book that Chris Bonington described as, ‘The most riveting book on climbing that I have ever read’, Tasker explains the danger, hardship and fatigue experienced during ascents up the highest most unforgiving terrains in the world. The challenge of reaching a goal with a journey full of obstacles required resilience, perseverance and self-motivation.
‘We needed to struggle, needed to be at the edge of what was possible for us; we needed an outcome that was uncertain.’
Here he is talking of himself and climbing companion, Dick Renshaw. Once while sheltering under blocks of ice during an unexpected avalanche that roared all around, they passed the time, not by fretting about the conditions but by planning their next climb.