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Fragile Edge

A Personal Portrait of Loss on Everest

  • 192 pages
  • Mountaineers Books
  • 978-0-89886-737-4
  • Aug 31, 2000


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"Maria Coffey's tale is at once a deeply personal love story and a penetrating look into the world of professional climbers. Such clarity and honesty are seldom seen in mountain writing." - Greg Child, author of Postcards from the Ledge

Critically acclaimed Fragile Edge won the coveted the International Literary Mountain prize for Maria Coffey's eloquently written story of how climbing tragedies affect those who are left behind. This is a powerful story describes how she survived the loss of her long-time partner, dealing with the sorrow and confusion, anger and healing.

With openness and honesty, Coffey describes her love affair with elite British mountaineer Joe Tasker, who perished with his climbing partner Peter Boardman while attempting Everest's then-unclimbed Northeast Ridge in 1982. She 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 that retraced Tasker and Boardman's steps to their abandoned Advance Base Camp at 21,000 feet on Everest.


  • 192 pages
  • Mountaineers Books
  • 978-0-89886-737-4
  • Aug 31, 2000

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