The unusual life of a climber
- ISBN: 978-1-912560-66-0192 pages
- Victor Saunders
- Publication date
- 4 Mar 2021
WINNER – Banff Mountain Literature Award 2021
‘Mountains have given structure to my adult life. I suppose they have also given me purpose, though I still can’t guess what that purpose might be. And although I have glimpsed the view from the mountaintop and I still have some memory of what direction life is meant to be going in, I usually lose sight of the wood for the trees. In other words, I, like most of us, have lived a life of structured chaos.’
Structured Chaos is Victor Saunders’ follow-up to Elusive Summits (winner of the Boardman Tasker Prize in 1990), No Place to Fall and Himalaya: The Tribulations of Vic & Mick. He reflects on his early childhood in Malaya and his first experiences of climbing as a student, and describes his progression from scaling canal-side walls in Camden to expeditions in the Himalaya and Karakoram. Following climbs on K2 and Nanga Parbat, he leaves his career as an architect and moves to Chamonix to become a mountain guide. He later makes the first ascent of Chamshen in the Saser Kangri massif, and reunites with old friend Mick Fowler to climb the north face of Sersank.
This is not just a tale of mountaineering triumphs, but also an account of rescues, tragedies and failures. Telling his story with humour and warmth, Saunders spans the decades from youthful awkwardness to concerns about age-related forgetfulness, ranging from ‘Where did I put my keys?’ to ‘Is this the right mountain?’
Structured Chaos is a testament to the value of friendship and the things that really matter in life: being in the right place at the right time with the right people, and making the most of the view.
SPECIAL EDITION SOLD OUT (2 January). We will publish 200 special edition hardback copies of Structured Chaos in March 2021. These will feature a numbered tip-in page, signed by Victor Saunders and bound in to the front of the book. They will be casebound in Wicotex cloth with head and tail bands. The special edition copies of Structured Chaos will be available to pre-order exclusively from our website from 29 December 2020 on a first-come, first-served basis for £30 per copy (with free UK P&P). Special editions are no longer excluded from our site-wide 20 per cent discount. The hardback trade edition of Structured Chaos will also be published in March 2021 and will have a retail price of £24.
Victor Saunders was born in Lossiemouth and grew up in Malaya. He started climbing in the Alps in 1978 and has climbed in the Caucasus, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan. He became a UIAGM mountain guide in 1996 after a career as an architect in London. He relocated to Chamonix, France and became a member of the SNGM (National Syndicate of French Mountain Guides) in 2003.
He has been on more than ninety expeditions in mountain ranges including the Himalaya and Karakoram, and estimates that he has spent seven years of his life under canvas. His previous books include Elusive Summits, which won the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature in 1990; No Place to Fall; and Himalaya: The Tribulations of Mick & Vic, co-written with Mick Fowler, which won the Grand Prize at the Passy International Mountain Book Festival in 2015.
- Title: Structured Chaos
- Subtitle: The unusual life of a climber
- Author: Victor Saunders
- Imprint: Vertebrate Publishing
- ISBN: 978-1-912560-66-0
- Rights: World (English language)
- Publication date: 4 March 2021
- Edition: First
- Size: 240mm x 162mm
- Extent: 192 pages, with two 8pp colour plates
- Cover: Hardback
- Weight: 500g
- Retail price: £24 (hardback)
Also available as an ebook.
'Victor is a fine writer, with a vivid authenticity to the narrative of his mountaineering adventures.' – Graham Little, Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal
'This book is so much more than just about climbing. Sharing similarities with Al Alverez’s classic ‘Feeding the Rat,’ this is truly a philosophical adventure of life, with people and their relationships taking precedence.' – Alex Hallam, ChalkBloc