A balanced and extremely readable appraisal of the life and tragic death of a legend. Killed by a 4000ft fall on an expedition to Russia in 1962, Robin Smith was one of the most daring climbers ever to have tackled a mountain. And he was just 23 when he died. This definitive biography draws on contributions from more than fifty people who knew this charismatic and complex young man, as well as diary extracts from Smith himself.
The Daily Express report on Smith's death said that "He was a legend by the time he was twenty. He was to climbing what Stirling Moss is to Le Mans, Jim Baxter to Ibrox, Piggot to Newmarket." Brought up in Edinburgh, Smith was also a brilliant academic, but it was for his climbing exploits, and for his ground-breaking style of writing about climbing, that he will primarily be remembered.
High Endeavours provides a balanced and sometimes unflattering picture of a complex character, someone driven to succeed in whatever he did and not always understanding of those who did not see the world his way. Despite being renowned for his tatty and ancient boots, poor or non-existent equipment, frayed - or sometimes "borrowed" - ropes, and his ill-planned and instinctive approach to climbing, Smith is portrayed as someone who would launch himself and a sometimes unwitting partner at a climb others regarded as impossible: and more often than not succeed, if not immediately then eventually.
The author of High Endeavours, Jimmy Cruickshank was a school friend and early climbing partner of Robin Smith's. He tells the story of Smith's life and death from his own recollections as well as by drawing heavily on recollections and contemporary writings of friends, fellow climbers and Smith's family, and on Robin Smith's own diaries and writing.