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Summary

"It’s a preposterous plan. Still, if you do get up it, it’ll be the hardest thing that’s been done in the Himalayas."

Thus spoke Chris Bonington when Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker presented him with their plan to tackle the unscaled West Wall of Changabang - the Shining Mountain - in 1976. 

Bonington’s was one of the more positive responses; most felt the climb impossibly hard, especially for a two-man, lightweight expedition. This was, after all, perhaps the most fearsome and technically challenging granite wall in the Garhwal Himalaya, and an ascent - particularly one in a lightweight style - would be more significant than anything done on the Everest at the time.

The idea had been Joe Tasker’s. He had photographed the sheer, shining white granite sweep of Changabang’s west wall on a previous expedition and asked Pete to return with him the following year. Tasker contributes a second voice throughout Boardman’s story, which starts with acclimatization, sleeping in a Salford frozen food store, and progresses through three nights of hell, marooned in hammocks during a storm, to moments of exultation at the variety and intricacy of the superb, if punishingly difficult, climbing. 

It is a story of how climbing a mountain can become an all-consuming goal, of the tensions inevitable in 40 days of isolation on a two-man expedition, as well as a record of the moment of joy upon reaching the summit ridge against all odds.

First published in 1978, The Shining Mountain is Peter Boardman’s first book. It is a very personal and honest story that is also amusing, lucidly descriptive, very exciting, and never anything but immensely listenable. It was awarded the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize for literature in 1979, winning wide acclaim. His second book Sacred Summits was published shortly after his death in 1982.

©1978 Peter Boardman (P)2020 Vertebrate Digital

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Excellent

Totally enthralled from start to finish - evocatively written with enough detail to understand fully.

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One of the best mountaineering books

Imagine climbing the north face of the Eiger, but 9,000 ft higher. It's hard to judge the achievement of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker, but their climb of the west wall of Changabang must rate as one of the greatest of the modern era. There was just the two of them - not a well-supported, massive expedition - and their determination and ingenuity is extraordinary. Boardman's writing is excellent. He gives a flavour of the region, refers to past expeditions which opened up the territory and has great respect and sympathy for the people, who live in this harsh environment. The final chapter, when the euphoria of their successful descent is met by tragedy at base camp, is harrowing.

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Inspirational

An inspirational account of a ground breaking ascent. Boardman's writing has a poetic quality in places underlining man's interaction with wild nature made all the more poignant in light of the tragic fate of Boardman and Tasker a few years later on the North East ridge of Everest. The performance by Stewart Crank is in the main of the first order with an ability to convey all aspects and elements of this dramatic and difficult climb.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 28-08-20

An absolute classic

One of the finest books ever written about mountaineering. It is the rare climbing book that surpasses the genre due to its literary quality. Great Narration as well.

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