The joys, the risks and the motivations of mountain climbing are at the heart of Malcolm Slesser's book. This autobiographical account spans 64 years of mountain exploration in every continent, during which both attitudes and technology have undergone vast changes. It is a story of the joy of discovery shared with friends in high places. Mountain climbing, like life itself, is not without risk. Unlike most sports, climbing is the solution to a very personal equation. The decision to go on or return lies with the climber and is influenced by his or her awareness of the risk. In that awareness lies safety and the ability to navigate the cliffs above and the chasms at your feet. Good judgement comes from experience. And experience comes from poor judgement. Most survive to a reasonable age; some brilliant climbers like Herman Buhl and Dougal Haston have perished through a momentary lapse of judgement. Too many die young, failing to appreciate that safety lies in the awareness of danger. The motivation for mountain climbing is not risk. It is the joy of exploration of the vertical, whether it be a virgin summit, a lonely precipice or simply a new line on an familiar rock face.
It is the delicious matching of skill to the difficulties presented by the mountain. It is to heighten the senses in lonely remote places. It is to remove all obstacles between the individual and nature. Malcolm Slesser is a survivor and has many tales to tell. In "With Friends in High Places", he explores situations such as the ill-fated Pamir expedition of 1962, and unusual environments, including the Arctic and the Tropics, that he has experienced throughout his decades of mountaineering and exploring around the globe.
Malcolm Slesser is an author, mountaineer and energy analyst who is widely known in the hillwalking and mountaineering world. His climbing career has spanned some 64 years, during which he has climbed and explored on every continent. He lives in Edinburgh.