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A Step Too Far - The Tragic First Ascent of Kuksar

  • Author:Aurora
  • Source:climbing helmet
  • Release on:2015-12-12
A Step Too Far - The Tragic First Ascent of Kuksar, is a new book, published in 2015, based on the diaries of Tim Hurrell from his 1982 expedition to the Karakoram. Martin Hore wrote the Foreword and Endnote to the book and here sets the scene for the excerpt that follows:
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Tim Hurrell and Steve Brodrick were killed some time on July 20th 1982. Their bodies were discovered at 8:00 a.m. on July 22nd and were buried in a deep crevasse at 5500m at the base of the Kuksar couloir. Those of us who had spent time with them in the mountains were left with memories of their love of wild places, their infectious enthusiasm for exploration, and their selfless friendship. They also left us a diary and films showing that on July 19th they had stood - successful - on the summit of Kuksar.

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Tim Hurrell was a diarist of exceptional dedication. His record of the last six days alone, written under quite extreme conditions, as the record itself shows, runs to some 8000 words. His work is punctuated with a keen wit, and a careful observation of his natural surroundings and of his human companions. A Step Too Far is Tim’s personal record of the 1982 Kuksar Expedition, transcribed with as few alterations and additions as possible from his original notebook.

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Readers, particularly those with mountaineering experience, may judge that we were, in 1982, a fairly inexperienced team of young mountaineers. This wasn’t fully apparent to us at the time, but looking back it is clearly true. Our previous experience in high mountains - all of us except Steve had climbed in the greater Himalaya before - had not prepared us fully for the difficulties that Kuksar presented. We were largely self-taught, and on Kuksar we were on a steep learning curve. This undoubtedly contributed to the challenge, but also perhaps to the tragic outcome. For all of us, but for Tim and Steve especially, Kuksar did indeed prove ‘a step too far’.


Tim Hurrell had a great love of outdoor life and became a passionate mountaineer, photographer and naturalist. From family holidays in Wales, Scotland and the Alps, to adventures with the Cambridge Mountaineering Club and with his own expeditions, he travelled and climbed in many parts of the world. A keen writer, he recorded all his travels and adventures in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Greenland and numerous trips to the Himalaya. Other than this record of the first ascent of Kuksar, he also leaves us a number of diaries, including successful climbs of Rishikot in the Hindu Kush and Huscaran in the Peruvian Andes.