Tasker pictured around 1960 with his sister Mary.
McCourt remembers her little brother Joe climbing dangerously on
the gates of Middlesbrough's famous transporter bridge.
the eldest child in a family of ten growing up in Port Clarence
in the Fifties, she was responsible for her siblings.
remembers panicking on the bridge's moving platform, wanting Joe
and his brothers to come inside and sit down where they'd be safe.
brother Joe started climbing very early," she says, "and
he ended up climbing mountains for a career."
mountains Mary's brother went on to climb include The Eiger, Kangchenjunga,
K2 and Everest.
Tasker in his early thirties.
Tasker died in 1982, but his life and achievements are still world-famous.
books about climbing, Everest the Cruel Way and Savage Arena, are
classics of the genre, and he is recognised as one of the fathers
of modern alpine-style Himalayan climbing.
annual Boardman-Tasker prize for mountain literature commemorates
Joe and his climbing partner Pete Boardman, who were last seen alive
on the previously unattempted east-north-east ridge of Everest on
17 May 1982.
was 34 and Pete was 31.
Tasker (left) climbing with other teenagers.
an inteview with BBC Radio Cleveland in 1980, Joe remembered his
early life in Port Clarence.
said his interest in climbing started as a boy scout in Port Clarence
when he was taken on trips to the Lake District and the Cleveland
used to go down the River Tees as young lads getting into trouble,
and getting dirty, and climbing gave an outlet for that which was
more acceptable to my parents," he told presenter Anne Davies.
don't really enjoy climbing in the Himalayas.
in the Cleveland Hills is just great - you can get down to the pub
in the evening, you're climbing on warm sun-baked rock, and there's
no risk of avalanches."
Tasker today, in her Billingham home.
mother Betty was originally from Coulby Newham, and was living in
Haverton Hill in 1945 when she married.
to find a house in the area, she moved with her husband Tom to Hull
was born in 1948.
1955 the family took the chance to come back north when a council
house became available in Port Clarence:
5 Queen's Terrace, near St Thomas's church and Port Clarence primary
school and the church have long been demolished after the area's
industrial decline caused the population to slump, and while there
is still a Queen's Terrace in Port Clarence, it isn't the original
- the Taskers' house was also knocked down in the mid-1960s.
Tasker took this photo from his home - it shows next door's
backyard, with outside toilet, and St Thomas's Church.
Tasker had ten children to provide for, and worked long hours as
a caretaker in a school in Middlesbrough - taking the transporter
bridge to work every day.
of the children attended the local schools, but Joe was sent as
a boarding pupil to Ushaw Seminary in County Durham, until he decided
at the age of 20 not to become a priest.
he worked first as a dustman and in a quarry before deciding to
study sociology at Manchester University.
climbing career followed a similar pattern of hard physical effort
followed by intellectual labour, as he wrote up his expeditions
Tasker remembers that Joe's climbing and literary acquaintances
were often surprised his family weren't middle class, but climber
Dick Renshaw recalled that Joe enjoyed working as a dustman because
his, "forthright nature and ability to communicate with people
from all walks of life broke down any barriers."
- R: Joe Tasker, Chris Bonington, Peter Boardman and Alan Rouse
pictured on Mount Kongur in China, 1981.
Tasker's parents still live in Billingham, not far from Port Clarence.
ice-axe and crampons hang on their living-room wall, alongside framed
photographs of Joe with Sir Chris Bonington and other famous mountaineers.
Tasker family's pride in Joe is evident.
still seem almost shocked by quite how far his climbing took him.
ABOUT JOE TASKER
is free) and you can hear Joe and his family talk about climbing
and Port Clarence, and see their photos by following the links below.
Many thanks to Joe's family, the Estate of Joe Tasker, and
Sir Chris Bonington, who retain copyright of all the photographs
in this slideshow.
interviews Joe Tasker (Realplayer)
Hear the full interview, originally broadcast on BBC Radio
Cleveland in early 1980. Joe talks about the beginnings of his climbing
career, his major expeditions, and even the famous "Yeti"
How BBC Radio Cleveland originally reported Joe Tasker's
death. This recording was made from the radio by Tom Tasker.