Andy's Blog

Read, comment, spam, bin, rant, cry - take it or leave it I don't care.
Lifting Shit

Lifting Shit

06/05/16 - Expression

I know that Dave Macleod tends not to see the point in weight training or gym style training (if anyone’s not read Dave’s book Nine Out of Ten Climbers, then you should!), but I’d probably disagree, thinking that for many ‘less good’ climbers than Dave (that’s all UK climbers), some gym work could be good.  Beyond rock climbing gym...

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The Hurt of Doing

The Hurt of Doing

05/05/16 - Expression

Hi Have you ever noticed when you run a marathon how you feel when you reach the finishing line, or when you get to the car after a long day on the hill, how that you feel you could not go another step?  I think the ability to ‘go again’ or to push on, or head back up is often what makes the difference in a lot of life’s challenges.&nbs...

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The Madness in us all

The Madness in us all

04/05/16 - Expression

In 1799 a French soldier named Pierre-François Bouchard was sent to supervise the rebuilding of a ancient Mamluk fortification needed to defend the lower reaches of the Nile from the British.  The Mamluk’s were a warrior caste that rose from Slavic slaves captured in the Balkans (Albanian as well as Greeks) by the Muslims in the 9th centur...

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Advice for proto Alpinists

Advice for proto Alpinists

02/05/16 - Expression

Hi First off the most important thing to do is too tap into experience, be that a guide or someone who knows the score.  This means both watching everything they do, plus them teaching you what’s important or may be missed, why they do X and not Y.  Some people love to teach, while others just want to climb, and this applies to guides ...

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No Disappointment At All.

No Disappointment At All.

30/04/16 - Expression

Disappointment is a strange thing, to be let down, to miss the shot, for your boat never to come in, or if it did, to sink before it reaches the dock of the bay.  Growing up I learnt perhaps my greatest lessons in life from my mum: the ability to deal with and shrug off such disappointment and mishap.  Her stock saying was “It’s the s...

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Die on the vine

Die on the vine

28/04/16 - Expression

I’ll keep this short as I’m supposed to be working on the Bear Pit, but need to get this off my chest. People may think I’ve gone crazy, but this short blog is another one in defence of something, not of Bear Grylls, but of something even worse = The Sun.  Before you spit on the screen hear me out. This morning I saw a post of Facebook...

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In Defence of Bear Grylls

In Defence of Bear Grylls

27/04/16 - Expression

I’ve never really written anything here about Bear Grylls on my blog, which is strange as he’s a bit of an obsession of mine.  Yes I’ve been a thorn in his side on Twitter and Facebook (I once said ‘every time I slag BG I lose followers, but that the average IQ of the ones I have goes up’), but when it actually comes to writing anyth...

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One of Us Must Know

One of Us Must Know

26/04/16 - Expression

Sometimes words rattle – no – not words, something else: a mixture of things: thoughts, ideas, memories, things that fire, that tumble, that rumble, on and on and on.  Such things – whatever they are – come loose inside a head sometimes, rattle like a stone in a shoe.  When they do it’s best not to let them rub you raw, but just...

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1001 Tips hits the shops

1001 Tips hits the shops

23/04/16 - Expression

This year I’ve set myself a huge task, to get four books out, 1001 Climbing Tips, Bear Pit, A Map of Scars, and Depression Detox (more here).  Well I’m now 25% closer to the goal with 1001 Tips appearing in the shops and on Amazon today. As some people will already know, due to having the book on Kindle, PDF, iBooks or print, this book ca...

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Slowed to a stop

Slowed to a stop

22/04/16 - Expression

I’m heading home on Sunday, pretty much on the go for the last six weeks - six weeks that feels like twelve.  Going away is always good, but sometimes going home is better, this being one of the first trips where I’ve ever really felt homesick.  Yes I know that’s disingenuous to a lifestyle that lets me get away more than mo...

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Marginal Gains

Marginal Gains

20/04/16 - Expression

Someone asked me the other day about how to speed up their climbing, looking for one or two major tips that would see them half their climbing time (vital for long routes).  My answer was that the main way to go faster is to just climb faster (be more confident, place less gear, know where you’re going), something that comes with time and ex...

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The next time we meet

The next time we meet

14/04/16 - Expression

I had an email a few weeks ago from one of my oldest friends: Chantelle, one of the wildest people I think I’ve ever met, a supernova of a human being. She emailed me a link to a story she’d had published on Route 57, her first bit of creative writing to appear on the interweb.  Getting an email from Chantelle is rare and it took m...

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When to shit your pants

When to shit your pants

13/04/16 - Expression

Thanks for your email Matt.  If you’d asked me this twenty years ago, when I first really got into hard climbing, a time when 9mm carabiners often broke in a hard fall, ice axe picks and crampon points often snapped, when ropes fell apart or became a disaster in a single day, well I’d have still said the same: “It’s all...

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Draws

Draws

11/04/16 - Expression

Forums can be great places to discover little jems and jewels from experiences you had, sometimes things that help you on your way next time round, others that just make you laugh. I found this one after I climbed here).  Some background to this is that Cian had cleaned the last pitch of the Nose, and being new to big wall climbing, plus bein...

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Talent for the price of salt

Talent for the price of salt

10/04/16 - Expression

This site gets over 40,000 visits a month, has 500 blog posts and countless articles amassed over twenty years of banging out content,  pieces now read hundreds of thousands of times since they were published, pieces shared and tweeted and linked too far more often than pieces on mainstream channels.  But this site is not here to make mon...

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A Grain of Happness

A Grain of Happness

08/04/16 - Expression

Have you ever been to Stonehenge? (I can never say that word without the word sounding all Nigal Tufnel in my head).  It’s a place everyone should visit, a great place to find your place, to get an idea of your position in time and space, those rocks five millennia old, the ground and its deeper meaner older still.  Stories and legend h...

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No Better Knot

No Better Knot

03/04/16 - Expression

Vanessa woke me, the pre dawn summit light creeping in around my hat, head stuck under the edge of our home made two person sleeping bag, the material damp from our shared breathing and sock smelly after ten days on the wall.  The wall was below us now.  “Let’s walk to the summit and see the sun come up” she whispered in my ear, a s...

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The Machine Stops

The Machine Stops

29/03/16 - Expression

I was once told a story about Doug Scott going into a pub where he asked for the music to be turned down so he could talk, the bar woman replying she couldn’t do anything about the music, as it was piped in to the speakers from head office and was beyond her control.  Doug being Doug he just said ‘Right oh’ and just walked around the roo...

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A Map Of Scars

A Map Of Scars

08/03/16 - Expression

I’ve been working on my book A Map of Scars over the last few months, trying to pull together a ton of material, the aim to produce a kind of climbing book that’s not been seen before, maybe not seen in any book on sport.  The original idea for the book came about in 2006, sitting on a portaledge, in love, climbing El Cap, the idea of the ...

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Beam Me Up

Beam Me Up

07/03/16 - Expression

People often ask me ‘what’s the most important piece of gear you need’, which is always a difficult question.  The old answer for winter climbing would be the ice axe, as with it you can climb or descend safety, plus use it to make a snow hole or shelter (or fight a Nazi spy with on top of a cable car).  For big mountains a stove is...

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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