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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 | Fax (410) 516-5251

December 13, 2002
CONTACT: Amy Cowles
(410) 516-7800

Robert Roper Wins Boardman Tasker Prize
For Mountain Literature

Robert Roper, a visiting associate professor in the Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University, has been awarded the 2002 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature. The award, for his book Fatal Mountaineer: The High Altitude Life and Death of Willi Unsoeld, American Himalayan Legend, was announced in London on Nov. 8.

The Boardman Tasker Award is given each year for an outstanding contribution to mountain literature. The prize commemorates the lives of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker, two of Great Britain's leading mountaineers, who were last seen on May 17, 1982, climbing toward the summit of Mount Everest.

Fatal Mountaineer, a biography, was chosen from among a field of entries from all over the world. Roper's book tells the story of Willi Unsoeld, a philosophy professor and arguably the strongest climber America has ever produced. In 1976, Unsoeld led an expedition to Nanda Devi, a mountain in India for which his daughter, Devi, had been named. The 1976 expedition remains one of the darkest and most controversial chapters in world mountaineering history.

"We found Mr. Roper's book to be a highly original biography," said Mikel Vause, chair of the judging committee. "Its structure gives a new shape to the art of mountaineering biographical writing. ...By cutting through layer after layer, Roper breaks down many of the deceptions with which mountaineers are forced to live. In examining what was a very complicated expedition, Roper presents an even-handed analysis of the various personalities of its members and the difficulties they all faced."

To speak with Robert Roper, contact Amy Cowles at (410) 516-7160.

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