Imagine if you will a high cliff, or a sheer wall on a mountain side, and you get the idea behind this music. It was originally imagined whilst reading “The Shining Mountain”, the incredible and enthralling account of British climbers Joe Tasker and Pete Boardman’s famous ascent of Changabang, a 22,500 foot mountain in the Himalayas of India, in 1976.
Boardman and Tasker climbed the great West Wall using revolutionary climbing techniques, which included sleeping in hammocks suspended from the sheer face with a drop of thousands of feet below them. It took 25 days to complete the climb, a climb that many at the time thought impossible.
A little nearer to home (for me anyway) there are some magnificent cliffs with a sheer drop to the sea below, where peregrine falcons, and large colonies of seabirds nest in spring, and where, standing at the top, it is quite difficult to catch your breath, such is the exhilaration. Pwll Deri is one of those places, as is this beautiful arch and stack further to the south.
The music was intended to capture the drama and majesty of places like this wherever they may be found. But also the sadness I felt whilst reading of Boardman and Taskers subsequent adventure, to climb the North-East ridge of Everest, another route that had never been done at the time. The rest of the expedition were out of the reckoning due to exhaustion, but Boardman and Tasker attempted to complete the ascent on their own. They were last seen alive by their comrades as tiny specks on the ridge before they disappeared into the cloud and were gone forever.