Author: Mark Vallance
Paperback publication date: 01 Apr 2016
Paperback ISBN: 9781910240816
Wild Country tells the remarkable story of Mark Vallance, climber, influential outdoor retailer and founder of the company that made Friends, which helped to make climbing safer and to push the limits of the possible. A fresh perspective on the role of the outdoors in British life and the development of climbing in its most revolutionary phase.
In early 1978, an extraordinary new invention for rock climbers was featured on the BBC television science show Tomorrow's World. It was called the 'Friend', and it not only made the sport safer, it helped push the limits of the possible. The company that made them was called Wild Country, the brainchild of Mark Vallance. Within six months, Vallance was selling Friends in sixteen countries. Wild Country would go on to develop much of the gear that transformed climbing in the 1980s. Mark Vallance's influence on the outdoor world extends far beyond the company he founded. He owned and opened the influential retailer Outside in the Peak District and was part of the team that built The Foundry, Sheffield's premier climbing wall - the first modern climbing gym in Britain. He worked for the Peak District National Park and served on its board. He even found time to climb eight-thousand-metre peaks and the Nose on El Capitan. Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in his mid fifties and robbed of his plans for retirement, Vallance found a new sense of purpose as a reforming president of the British Mountaineering Council. In Wild Country, Vallance traces his story, from childhood influences like Robin Hodgkin and Sir Jack Longland, to two years in Antarctica, where he was base commander of the UK's largest and most southerly scientific station at Halley Bay, before his fateful meeting with Ray Jardine, the man who invented Friends, in Yosemite. Trenchant, provocative and challenging, Wild Country is a remarkable personal story and a fresh perspective on the role of the outdoors in British life and the development of climbing in its most revolutionary phase. Mark Vallance (1945–2018), the man who made Friends.
Mark Vallance was born in Cheshire. After watching the film of the 1953 ascent of Everest, he developed an obsession for climbing and exploration. Educated at Abbotsholme School and Goldsmiths, University of London, he spent two years in Halley Bay working for the British Antarctic Survey. In 1977, he formed Wild Country to manufacture Ray Jardine’s revolutionary climbing protection device, called Friends, launching one of the most influential outdoor brands in British history. In 1987 he built and opened Outside, a new kind of outdoor retailer in the UK. Having sold his businesses, Vallance planned a long and action-packed retirement, but was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease aged only fifty-four. He went on to serve as president of the British Mountaineering Council. Mark died in 2018, aged 72, and the climbing world lost one of its greatest heroes.
From Friday 1 April 2022, we offer 25% off to all newsletter subscribers. Simply sign up to our newsletter here to receive your discount code. If you're already a subscriber, we'll remind you of the code every time we send out a newsletter.
In addition, we offer FREE standard UK P&P for orders, along with options to upgrade the delivery service at checkout.
Postage costs are dependent on order weight (book/s weight plus packing materials) and are calculated automatically upon checkout, before payment is taken. Full details of our delivery and returns information can be found here.
We offer FREE standard UK P&P for orders: orders are sent Royal Mail Second Class as standard and should arrive within two to three working days. The option to upgrade UK shipping to Royal Mail 24 Next Day Delivery is available at checkout.
International orders are sent by Royal Mail International Tracked. Deliveries can take between a few days and a couple of weeks to arrive, depending on the delivery location. Please contact us if your country is not listed.
Update: September 2022. Most orders received through the Vertebrate Publishing Adventure Books website are dispatched from Gardners in Eastbourne, UK; some orders (such as signed copies of pre-orders, or limited stock items) are sent from our office in Sheffield, UK. If your order is for multiple items, you may receive more than one package, though we try to avoid this (if applicable, you would only be charged once for shipping). Orders received before 11 a.m. are dispatched the same day; orders received after 11 a.m. are usually dispatched the following business day. You will be sent a notification email when your order has been dispatched. If we are temporarily out of stock of a title we will advise by email.
Gift card purchases are delivered electronically – we do not dispatch physical gift cards. Full details are provided with gift card purchases.
Coming soon! Ebooks are fulfilled securely by our partner Glassboxx using their app. For more details about how to access your ebook, please refer to the information in your order confirmation.
Payment is made safely and securely using Shopify, which incorporates the world's leading payment gateways, including Stripe, Apple Pay and Google Pay. You can also check out with PayPal. All payments are handled directly by these payment gateways and Vertebrate Publishing Adventure Books does not process or store any cardholder details on the Adventure Books website.
We will happily refund or exchange any item that is returned to us in an unused, as new condition. If you want to make a return, contact us with your details. Once we've received the item(s), we will credit your account. If the item is faulty or damaged or we have sent the incorrect item we will refund postage.
If you're returning something because it's not suitable, you'll need to pay the postage costs to return it to us. We process most returns the day they arrive with us, and certainly within seven working days. Goods must be returned to us within 21 days.