Towering Talent – The Joe Tasker Archive Collection

As one of the most iconic mountaineers of the 1970s, the Mountain Heritage Trust was delighted to finally bring Pete Boardman’s almost 10,000 strong slide collection under one roof. Working with the Boardman family and the Chris Bonington Picture Library, the extensive slide collection was donated to the Trust in 2017, with Pete’s papers and personal material following in 2018. All this is now stored in our archive at the Blencathra Field Studies Centre.

Two of our volunteers, Sue and Sheila, began cataloguing the slides in February 2018 and discovered just how extensive the collection is. Beginning in 1965 until Pete’s death on Everest in 1982, the slides document many of his high profile expeditions to the greater ranges; Hindu Kush in 1972, the South West Face of Everest in 1975, Changabang in 1976, K2 in 1978, Kangchenjunga in 1979, Kongur in 1981 and Everest in 1982. The slides are a unique insight in to one of the most significant periods in British mountaineering history, at a time when new lightweight approaches to the Greater Ranges were being pioneered. Yet as well as these international expeditions, the images are a unique snapshot of 1970s climbing life, with UK crags such as the Wye Valley and Alpine trips in 1974 and 1977; as well as the Caucaus, Tatras, Corsica and Australia all pictured. Access to the collection can be requested by getting in touch through the website.

The Mountain Heritage Trust would like to extend their sincere thanks to both the Boardman family and our volunteers for ensuring that this valuable archive is preserved for the years ahead. With the slides organised, work is now beginning on re-boxing the slides in specialist archive boxes and our thanks go to the Boardman Tasker Charitable Trust who have paid for these.

The Mountain Heritage Trust is delighted to announce the news that it has successfully achieved a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Grant of £40,400 to preserve and make accessible the papers and writings of one of mountaineering’s most iconic figures – Joe Tasker.

The Joe Tasker archive comprises correspondence, papers, photographs and literary manuscripts relating to his life as a premier climber and mountaineer plus his ability to illustrate this in outstanding photographic and literary formats.

Particularly poignant are letters written home to his parents whilst on expedition as well as their responses to him. Joe’s family is extensive and their love, memory and respect has resulted in this collection being donated to MHT in order to share Joe’s achievements with an aim to inspire and stimulate similar talent.

Joe Tasker, together with Peter Boardman, lost his life on Mount Everest in 1982.  In order to mark their lives, the Boardman Tasker Literary Award was established which rewards the talent for writing gripping and thought-provoking climbing literature which Joe himself excelled at.

This Collection superbly complements the Chris Bonington Collection in that they were friends and climbing partners, thus the contents reflect the close bonds such a lifestyle encourages. MHT also holds several artefacts belonging to Joe including ice axes, a cine film camera and posthumous commemorative awards.

Julie Summers, Chair of MHT remarked  ‘We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has recognised the enormous contribution Joe Tasker’s collection will make to mountaineering heritage and we look forward to being able to celebrate his inspiring achievements widely through exhibitions and education programmes in the future.’

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