The Worst Disasters on Everest: 7. Boardman and Tasker Disappear

With the 2012 climbing season underway, we look back at some of the most incredible moments to take place on the world's tallest mountain over the last 150 years

Himalayan climber via Shutterstock     Photo: Galyna Andrushko

In 1982, when the British duo Peter Boardman, a climbing instructor, and Joe Tasker, a former seminar student, set out to tackle the Pinnacles, a fearsome triad of shark’s teeth jutting out of Everest’s Northeast Ridge at nearly 26,000 feet, they were two of the most promising alpinists the sport had ever seen. They championed and advanced a stringent alpine-style approach in the mountains, now de rigueur among hardcore climbers. Despite the seriousness with which they approached climbing, they had a wry sense of humor and were known to keep life at Base Camp light and fun. On May 17, the pair left their high camp on the Northeast Ridge, and, after 14 hours of climbing above 8,000 meters, were enveloped in darkness. It would never be clear what happened after that. In 1992, a team of Kazak climbers discovered Boardman’s body, “sitting peacefully” near the base of the Second Pinnacle. Joe Tasker was never seen again.

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