Although much of his focus was directed at climbing it did not limit his
aspirations or the variety of his life experiences. Following his youth at
Stockport Grammar School and climbing the local hills, Boardman went on to the
University of Nottingham where he was President of the climbing society. By
1973 he had learned Welsh, received a degree in English and a teaching diploma
at the University of North Wales, Bangor. He took on a variety of posts in
various mountaineering organizations. He joined the British Mountaineering
Council in 1975, was elected President of the Association of British Mountain
Guides in 1979, facilitated the entry of British Guides into the Union
Internationale des Associations de Guides de Montagne in January 1978, and
following the death of Dougal Haston, he took over the International School of
Mountaineering in Leysin.
Boardman began a series of successful expeditions during these year, first
the University of Nottingham Hindu Kush Expedition, in 1972 and then the first
ascent of the South Face of Mount Dan Beard in Alaska in 1974. In 1975 he set
his sights on Everest and joined an expedition to the South West Face, led by
Chris Bonington, in July. Based on his strength and skill, though he was the
youngest of the climbers, Boardman was chosen for the second ascent and
summited Everest on September 16, 1975.
In an ominous portent following their summit, Boardman and his partner
Sherpa Pertemba met Mick Burke on his
way to the summit. With weather conditions worsening Boardman and Burke
exchanged a few words and agreed to meet later at the South Summit. Despite
the poor visibility and deteriorating conditions Boardman and Pertemba waited
for Burke an hour and a half below the South Summit enduring harsh weather and
two avalanches while returning to camp. Mick Burke was never seen again.
Boardman made many ascents following Everest. He climbed Changabang, with
Joe Tasker, in 1978. Later that year he would take part in a tragic K2
Expedition where Nick Estcourt died in an avalanche. In 1979 he climbed
Kangchenjunga and Gaurisankar in Nepal. He returned to K2 in 1980, reaching
nearly 8,000 meters before poor weather and exhaustion prevented a summit. In
1981 there was Mount Kongur.