Structured Chaos is Victor Sauders' Boardman Tasker Prize-winning No Place to Fall and Himalaya: The Tribulations of Vic & Mick (1990).
In this latest novel he reflects on his childhood growing up in Malaya, his first climbing experiences as a student, and his transition from climbing canal-side walls in Camden to expeditions in the Himalaya and Karakoram.
After formative climbs on K2 and Nanga Parbat, he gives up his job as an architect and moves to Chamonix to start a new career as a mountain guide. Following this he 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.
Structured chaos follows not just Victor Saunder's mountaineering triumphs, but a series of rescues, tragedies and failures. With characteristic humour and warmth, he reflects on a career than takes him from youthful awkwardness to later-life concerns about whether this the right mountain to be climbing.
"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."