Sandy Allan signs copies of his work. Photo: John Coefield/Vertebrate Publishing

Sandy Allan signs copies of his work. Photo: John Coefield/Vertebrate Publishing

Five books have been shortlisted for an international mountain literature award.

Judges for the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature whittled down the original 36 entries to five which will go into the final round.

The winner will be announced at the Kendal Mountain Festival in November.

The five shortlisted are:

  • Sandy Allan’s In Some Lost Place
  • Snowblind: Tales of Alpine Obsession by Daniel Arnold
  • The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains by Barry Blanchard
  • David Pagel’s Cold Feet, Stories of a Middling Climber
  • One Day as a Tiger by John Porter.

Two of the titles come from Vertebrate Publishing. In Some Lost Place is Sandy Allan’s recently published account of his ascent of Nanga Parbat’s Mazeno Ridge. The climb, considered to be one of the last great challenges in the Himalaya, took 18 days to complete and pushed Sandy and his partner Rick Allen to the limits of survival. In recognition of their achievement, the pair were awarded the Piolet d’Or in 2013.

Also dealing with hard Alpine climbing, One Day as a Tiger by John Porter explores the life of leading British mountaineer Alex MacIntyre. MacIntyre enjoyed a meteoric rise to mountaineering fame following his bold first ascents of routes in the Alps, the Himalaya and the Andes, but was tragically killed by rock fall on Annapurna’s south face when he was just 28. The book won the grand prize at the 2014 Banff Mountain Book Festival and was shortlisted for the 2015 British Sports Book Awards.

Vertebrate’s Publishing Manager John Coefield said: “Vertebrate exists to capture and share exceptional stories inspired by a love of outdoor environments, sports and cultures.

“We’re lucky to be able to work with some of the mountaineering world’s most talented people, like Sandy and John, in order to produce books of enduring quality and appeal. This year’s shortlisting is a real privilege and testament to the calibre of our authors and the dedication of the Vertebrate team.”

Snowblind: Tales of Alpine Obsession is the work of Daniel Arnold who, judges said, is an accomplished storyteller who sets himself dramatic challenges that he explores with page-turning tension combined with psychological insights.

“The seemingly effortless prose belies a sophisticated and knowing craft that is able to conjure the real thing.”

The book is published by Counterpoint.

Patagonia’s title The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains was written by Barry Blanchard. Judges said: “Barry Blanchard has vivid recall of every detail of his passionate struggle to escape poverty, throw himself into a hairy apprenticeship and establish himself as a non-establishment alpinist pushing himself through historic climbs and relishing the telling of the tale.”

David Pagel’s self-published Cold Feet, Stories of a Middling Climber also made the shortlists. The Boardman Tasker panel said: “For 30 years David Pagel has been contributing to American magazines wry, self-effacing accounts of his climbing his way through classic peaks, famous personalities and our often puzzling mountaineering culture.

“His bemused sense of fun cannot disguise his climbing and writing achievements.”

The Boardman Tasker Prize commemorates the lives of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker, outstanding mountaineers and accomplished authors, who disappeared together high on Everest in 1982.

It is given to the author or co-authors of an original work that has made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature.

This year’s judges for the prize are chair Robin Campbell, Graham Desroy and Terry Gifford.

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