WINNER OF THE BOARDMAN TASKER PRIZE 2008
Metro magazine recently wrote that Andy Kirkpatrick makes Ray Mears look like Paris Hilton. Words like boldness, adventure and risk were surely coined especially for him. As one of the world’s most accomplished mountaineers and big-wall climbers, he goes vertically where other climbers (to say nothing of the general public) fear to tread.
For the first time, this cult hero of vertical rock has written a book, in which his thirteen-day ascent of Reticent Wall on El Capitan in California – the hardest big-wall climb ever soloed by a Briton – frames a challenging autobiography. From childhood on a grim inner-city housing estate in Hull, the story moves through horrific encounters and unique athletic achievements at the extremes of the earth. As he writes, ‘Climbs like this make no sense … the chances of dying on the route are high.’ Yet Andy, in his thirties with young children, has everything to live for. This is the paradox at the heart of the story.
This book – by turns gut-wrenching, entertaining and challenging – appeals to the adventurer in all of us.
“Kirkpatrick's autobiography sparkles with black humour...He writes with great eloquence on the fears of an extreme craftsman pursuing his crazy self-imposed task”
Mail on Sunday
“Thrilling ... Most compelling are his psychological battles, as self-belief and a dry sense of humour ultimately propel him to the top”
“Andy is one of the funniest of Britain's top climbers and represents what is best in modern British climbing: boldness, innovation, sense of humour, irreverence, commitment, and an appetite for risk.”
“Entertaining, funny and a bit mental”
“Kirkpatrick never shies from the terror and self-doubt that seem to foreshadow his every move, and the daunting psychological and physical tasks he sets himself are always in danger of smothering him. But it is his wit and an effusive enthusiasm for climbing and travelling to regions totally inaccessible to the average punter that make this so readable. The man seems to have an insatiable appetite for putting himself in preposterous danger, which rewards the armchair reader very nicely.”
“A book that makes you shiver, certainly. But much more profound than I expected.”
“Psychovertical is a powerful if intensely personal book, well written, sometimes brilliantly so. It charts Kirkpatrick's fractured upbringing and subsequent escape to a life of extreme climbing and close calls... He is a clear, spare writer, and a highly visual one. The descriptions of climbing are among the best I've ever read... Kirkpatrick chooses words with the same care that he chooses a wire.”
Ed Douglas, Climber