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Fragile Edge: Loss on Everest [Paperback]

Chris Bonington , Maria Coffey
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 May 2003
Nobody has written more eloquently about the human side of high altitude mountaineering then Maria Coffey. In this new edition of Fragile Edge, she describes her love affair with elite British mountaineer Joe Tasker, who perished with his partner Peter Boardman while attempting Everest's then unclimbed Northeast Ridge in 1982. Coffey relives her experiences, first within the hard-partying mountaineering scene and then during her long journey to understanding and acceptance of the tragedy that cost her the man she loved. She gives us an insider's view of the life of a world-class mountaineer and recounts her deeply moving pilgrimage with Boardman's widow across Tibet; a journey which retraced Tasker and Boardman's steps to their abandoned Advance Base Camp at 21,000 feet on Everest. (2002-12-17)

Product details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New edition edition (1 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099460335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099460336
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 338,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

'Sensitive and very moving- a very different perspective from the usual climbing story - one that is perhaps uncomfortable for many of us climbers for it is the story of what we leave behind when we get ourselves killed indulging our passion for high, empty places.' Chris Bonington (2002-12-17)

About the Author

Maria Coffey's writing career began in 1989 with the publication of Fragile Edge (Chatto & Windus). Since then she has published a further nine books, chronicling her world-wide expeditions and travels with her husband, Dag Goering. Originally from England, she now lives on the West Coast of Canada, where she and Dag run an adventure travel company, Hidden Places. For further information please check Maria's website: (2002-12-17)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 4 Sep 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having come across by chance the Boardman/Tasker omnibus of wonderful climbing books, and having learnt therefore of their tragic deaths on Everest, I became fascinated by their lives and wanted to know more about how they had lived and died. Maria Coffeys book gave the kind of insight I was looking for but I wasn't expecting to be so moved by her account of how she had tried to come to terms with the tragedy. Her writing is easy but very evocative, highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading 29 Dec 2013
By Xxaabb
Format:Kindle Edition
Very interesting to hear 1st hand account of such a sad story.
I was in same class as the author at school, and it was an insight into the life of an old classmate.
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By T. Almy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Marie Coffey was the girlfriend of Joe Tasker, a world-class mountaineer, who perished, along with Pet Boardman, on Mt. Everest. Although the writing is only OK, there is a raw, unvarnished power to her depiction of grief and desolation. Where the book succeeds is in showing the consequences of (predominantly) male heroics on the families/girlfriends, etc. who are excluded from their adventures. Indeed, Joe comes across as being not only gifted and driven but also selfish and pretty sexist (this was, admittedly, 40+ years ago). Interesting to compare to Joe Simpson's 'Game of Ghosts' on the barely justifiable risks climbers take and the toll those risks cause.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE LONG GOODBYE... 20 Sep 2001
What happens to the loved ones of mountaineers, who perish while seeking to climb higher peaks or pioneer new routes on challenging mountains? The author attempts to answer this question with her well written and deeply personal account.
The author was intimately involved in the mountaineering world of the nineteen seventies and early nineteen eighties. At the time, she was in the throes of an intense love affair with Joe Trasker, the British climber, who perished in 1982 with his regular climbing partner, Peter Boardman, while attempting to climb the then unclimbed Northeast ridge of Everest.
The author offers an intriguing, birdseye view into the tight inner circle of the mountaineering elite through her relationship with Joe Trasker. The book, however, is not about climbing, per se. It is more of a peronal catharsis of her relationship with Joe Trasker. Still, this makes for an interesting read. The book is divided into two parts. The first concerns itself with the Joe that was living. The second part concerns itself with the Joe that had perished.
The first part chronicles their relationship, which was intense. It also seemed to be a little one sided. The author makes it fairly clear to the reader that Joe Trasker did not seem to have the same commitment to the relationship that the author seems to have had. Her reluctance to let the relationship go appears to have been based more upon what the relationship could have been, rather than upon what it actually was. As they say, love is blind.
The second part of the book chronicles her coming to terms with his death.
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