Simon McCartney with his award at the festival event

Simon McCartney with his award at the festival event

A work by British alpinist Simon McCartney was announced winner of a major award at the Kendal Mountain Festival.

The mountaineer’s book The Bond won the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature.

The award is made for original works that have made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature and is named after Pete Boardman and Joe Tasker, who lost their lives on the north-east ridge of Everest in 1982.

The award ceremony was hosted by Stephen Venables, the first Briton to successfully summit Everest without supplementary oxygen. Venables is himself a winner of the Boardman Tasker prize, for his 1986 book Painted Mountains.

The audience was treated to readings from the awards’ shortlisted authors before the winner was announced.

The Bond details McCartney’s relationship with Californian ‘stonemaster’, Jack Roberts. Together they climbed the north face of Mount Huntington, a route so hard that for decades nobody believed they had done it. They then made the first ascent of the south-west face of Denali, a climb which almost cost the Briton his life, and which broke the bond between him and climbing.

Stephen Venables hosted the awards event. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Stephen Venables hosted the awards event. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Bond describes how a chance reconnection with Roberts gave him the chance to bury the ghosts of what happened high on Denali.

Simon McCartney was up against stiff competition this year, with a strong shortlist from authors Mark Vallance, Alex Honnold, Steve Olson and Robert Wainwright.

He said: “Book writing has changed my life. The people I see in the audience, I have risked my life with, if there was ever a way of representing what climbing is about, this festival is it.”

Henry Iddon, arts and literature officer at the Kendal Mountain Festival, said: “It’s been a great pleasure over recent years to host the Boardman Tasker Prize.

“The prize is a core part of mountaineering culture in Britain, celebrating the legacy of Pete and Joe. Huge congratulations to Simon.”