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  • Structured Chaos

  • The Unusual Life of a Climber
  • By: Victor Saunders
  • Narrated by: Stewart Crank
  • Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Structured Chaos

By: Victor Saunders
Narrated by: Stewart Crank
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Summary

"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.

©2021 Victor Saunders (P)2021 Vertebrate Publishing

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A well crafted book

This is a great book with a storyline that will appeal to climbers and non climbers alike. Victor Saunders has crafted a story that pulls no punches regarding the types of tragedy that can strike in the high mountains, but his self deprecating humour that is sprinkled throughout the book lifts this tale over and above the normal mountaineering book. This is much more than a book about tales of various trips to the high ranges, but rather a story of a mountaineer who has experienced tragedy but is also humorously dealing wih his own facultys slowly succumbing to age. Stewart Crank sets just the right tone with his narration and it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

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A gripping mountaineering books

This audio book won the Banff Mountain Festival mountain literature award, no surprise really as it is a classic modern mountaineering narrative. At times gripping and harrowing, at other times funny and insightful. A great easy listen.