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Andy's Blog

Read, comment, spam, bin, rant, cry - take it or leave it I don't care.
First time in the Alps

First time in the Alps

08 July 2016 - 8 Minute Read time - Q&A

Hi Thanks for the questions.  I’ll try and answer each one in turn as best as I can. Should you hire a guide? Well I went to the alps twice and came back with almost nothing done on both trips (both winter trips) in terms of routes climbed, but if I’d been able to afford a guide I’d have climbed a lot of routes and avoided a lot of...

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absolute truth

absolute truth

30 June 2016 - 6 Minute Read time - Expression

My ex wife Mandy hates the word - or words - ‘num-num-num’, I don’t know why, but can guess, after all who can really get away with saying such a thing except a muppet.  She hates a lot of other things as well, like tapping, or doors that aren’t clicked shut, but that word, or words, is high on her list.  Being a man of words I...

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Sooner than you think….

Sooner than you think….

28 June 2016 - Expression

Inhibitions are like the bones in a creature.  You pull all the bones out and you get a floppy jelly. – Nigel Kneale I want to share a video with you, Nigel Kneale’s 1968 film The Year of the Sex Olympics, probably one of the most prothetic TV programs ever made, and even in these days full of shock and porn this still has the...

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Esquiline Hill

Esquiline Hill

27 June 2016 - 12 Minute Read time - Expression

In ancient Rome those too poor to pay for a burial were cast into the open pits of the Potter’s field on the Esquiline Hill, out beyond the noble walls of Rome.  The bodies that rotted there, piled up like old fruit, were the paupers, riffraff and the executed, slaves and those killed in the colosseum, those dead or nearly dead from plague...

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Andy Perkins responds to Bieber

Andy Perkins responds to Bieber

26 June 2016 - Technique

I had a great response to my crevasse rescue blog (Doing a Bieber) today from IFMGA Chamonix guide Andy Perkins.  I guess re-reading what I wrote it may well look like an attack on traditional instruction, when in fact my point was that too many climbers only do the basics and leave it there (it was also focused on climbers, not skiers). ...

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Pot Advice

Pot Advice

22 June 2016 - Q&A

Hi The small pan I use these days (I think that article is about 16 years old!) is the Alpkit MytiMug 400, which makes a very good mug (at a good price) but can also be used as a pan (it has a lid).  I nest one of these inside a GSI Fairshare mug with its handle cut off (it has a hole drilled in the top with some 2mm cord to clip it off when...

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Upside Down Cock Suck

Upside Down Cock Suck

20 June 2016 - 7 Minute Read time - The Searchers

On the analytics panel on this site I can see a lot of information, from the locations of visitors,  referrals from other sites, how long people stayed, and a whole load of stuff I don’t quite understand (or can be arsed to know what it means).  I get junk mail everyday saying how I can improve my site traffic but really I’m not that...

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Doing a Bieber

Doing a Bieber

18 June 2016 - 9 Minute Read time - Technique

I saw a piece today on UKC about crevasse rescue, going through the basics, and only the night before someone emailed me a question of the topic (can you use a Petzl Microtraxion on a loaded rope).  And so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject of crevasses. First off I’d say that almost everything I’ve ever read on crevasse...

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Cool

Cool

16 June 2016 - 6 Minute Read time - Expression

I gave a talk a few months ago to a school in East Yorkshire.  It was a small country school, not used to climbers coming to speak to them, the kids excited that my face had been on TV once or twice.  They were doing a project on Antartica and had build an amazing full sized igloo out of plastic bottles, and sat and listened as I told...

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‘Helter-skelter

‘Helter-skelter

15 June 2016 - 13 Minute Read time - Expression

One cold desert night in 1969 Charles Manson gathered his ‘family’ around a large fire on their ranch commune in Death Valley and shared a revelation.  He had been listening to the Beatles White album non stop for weeks, and informed them that the album was the final sign that a race war was about to break out, the truth coded into every...

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Race

Race

14 June 2016 - 27 Minute Read time - Book

Reading about the author Annie Proulx this morning has got me into a a good writing mood, but no blogs today I’m affraid, just more hard graft on the Bear Pit (I’m sat in Bray’s Campo de Fiori cafe typing this).  But I thought I would give something today, a chapter (still a draft) from the book.  Feedback welcome! The...

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Ken Wilson

Ken Wilson

13 June 2016 - 8 Minute Read time - Expression

I seem to write quite a few obituaries on this site, or blogs spurred on by the death of people I once knew.  One thing I think important when writing such pieces is to respect the truth of a life, to not get all misty eyed and emotional, to tell their story as you knew it, the good and the bad.  What’s the point of writing it any other...

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innocent as a hotdog

innocent as a hotdog

12 June 2016 - 6 Minute Read time - Expression

Facebook riles me, and I guess we’re all the same: jerked by political and social stuff, things that make me feel angry, things that make me feel sad, things that make me feel despair.  Maybe that’s why most of are addicted to it, social media like some weird David Cronenberg contraption that feeds our need to feel something, like we need...

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Avoiding the Deck

Avoiding the Deck

09 June 2016 - cragmanship

Taking a ground fall is perhaps one of the worst experiences a climber can have, worse also for the belayer and anyone unfortunate to be standing close by.  Most falls are short, and over before you know it, the rope coming tight, the fall held by the instinctive yank on the belay plate.  Most falls on trad climbs are rare for most, maybe...

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Mera Peak Footwear Question

Mera Peak Footwear Question

31 May 2016 - Q&A

Hi First off although some people may scoff at using very warm boots on Mera (the Spantik and G1 would be classed as high altitude boots, or for very cold climbing), pointing out the mountains been climbed in single layer leather winter boots, it’s not as daft as it seems.  People have been using very lightweight leather boots on all...

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Putting out the Bins

Putting out the Bins

30 May 2016 - 9 Minute Read time - Expression

The bin men come on Wednesday.  We have two bins: yellow and red: recycled and un-recycled.  This being Ireland I expect they go in the same hole in the ground - but it’s the thought isn’t it - and so are taken alternately, a week apart, so as not to arise suspicion by those hassled by all that sorting and washing of tins and...

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What cams?

What cams?

26 May 2016 - Q&A

I probably take a slightly different approach to cams than most UK climbers, probably due to spending meany years climbing the the US, and also due to having done a lot of aid climbing. Someone once told me that what Mick Fowler was good at was finding protection and that always stuck with me, and so I kind of make that a priority. For me a good...

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Prusic Loop as pro?

Prusic Loop as pro?

25 May 2016 - Climbing Gear Technique

I was asked last night down at the wall about the strength of a prusik loops, a topic that seems to crop up from time to time.  The climber had used his prusik as an extender after running out of quickdraws. First off when it come to cord of any diameter it’s worth having a basic formula for working out its strength.  If it’s perlon...

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Alpine Ultra

Alpine Ultra

24 May 2016 - Gear

I must be a nightmare for kit designers, men and woman I’ve been bumping heads with for decades now.  Most often than not a designer wants to flex their muscles, add some new fangled idea, a wheel that’s more round, or is square so it doesn’t roll down hills, some game changing idea that the world will flock to buy.  Being a...

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Drinks & Tips

Drinks & Tips

23 May 2016 - Writing

“What do I write about?” is a question I get asked quite a lot, by people in search of the writing in them.  My answer is usually: “nothing at all”, adding, “but that takes years of practice”. “Read that draft of The Bear Pit” said John, as we stood, a pile of books for me to sign on the table between...

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Contact

If you want to just drop me a line about one of my books, or you've seen me talk - or want to give me some work, then drop me a line. I also seem to be a little like the A-Team, with strangers often getting in touch for help and advice on a load of subjects, so feel free to zap me anything (be bold!).

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Speakers from the Edge

I live in Sheffield,
Great Britain,
Land of the
male stripper