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Andy's Blog

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

Learned helplessness

17 November 2016 - 10 Minute Read time - Expression

The CIA are masters of interrogation, techniques they exported far and wide, used by their friends and their new enemies.  Torture can take many forms; water, sleep, a commercial meat slicer, the rape of your child in front of you.  It comes in many flavours, the most brutal of which is no doubt nothing to do with the information...

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Rope Drag

Rope Drag

16 November 2016 - Technique

Rope drag is one of the critical components of safe, efficient and effective roped climbing, following close behind lead protection and belaying.  In the past, runners (gear placed on lead) were kept to a minimum, with only half a dozen pieces being placed.  Added to this pitches tended to be short, a forty five metre rope the standard,...

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“Angry people click”

“Angry people click”

16 November 2016 - Movie

HyperNormalisation, one of the most important documentaries of the decade, well worth two hours and forty minutes of your time.  

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Dear Ella & Ewen

Dear Ella & Ewen

14 November 2016 - 11 Minute Read time - Expression

Dear Ella and Ewen I read a letter today by Aaron Sorkin, from him to his daughter, it made me cry, christ it was funny, what a kind of father writes stuff like that to thier own child? I’d send you a link but I know you only watch Youtube, but you’d have pissed yourself (maybe when I see you on Thursday I’ll read it out in my winy...

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When I was Seventeen

When I was Seventeen

12 November 2016 - 10 Minute Read time - Guest Blog

To be brave on a mountain is most often seen as a noble thing, that person someone to look up too, to aspire to be like, bravery after all the key to life, fear the lock to almost everything of any value.  Yet on a mountain you risk very little, only your life, or a broken bone or ten, but what does it matter?  When you hang around such...

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White Space

White Space

11 November 2016 - 2 Minute Read time - Writing

Someone asked me the other day what I meant by ‘white space’ in my story On Tunnel Mountain.  White space of course is a term used in book and magazine layout to describe areas of bare white paper, often denoting a light touch, a little confidence that less is more, gives the marks you do make more weight.  In writing and story...

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Cordelette Question

Cordelette Question

10 November 2016 - Gear Q&A

Hi I’m guessing you’re talking about dyneema cord and not 240cm slings? Well I think even if your dyneema cord gets worn, bent and tied a great many times, it’s still going to be strong enough (5.5mm: 13.7 Kn) compared to perlon cord (7mm 12.4 Kn).  The main issue with dyneema is probably the cost, while its real advantage is that...

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She Walks Away

She Walks Away

09 November 2016 - 8 Minute Read time - Expression

“She’s got a nice body” said Vanessa, nudging her head towards the waitress as she moved around the Banff centre tables, adding she’d seen her that morning in the swimming pool.  I instinctively felt offended, my back straightening up righteously, lemon lips in angry pout, at such base objectification - sexist - misogynistic.  But...

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Journey to the dark side

Journey to the dark side

09 November 2016 - 2 Minute Read time - Expression

First thing I thought about this morning, when I saw the news, was how friends like Lizzy Scully and Jim Perrin (and just about everyone I know) would be reacting to the shock wave of this reality.  I’ve been blogging about Trump’s win for over a year (Tank Man being an example), starting when he was nothing but the butt of our...

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Hearts Brothers and Countrymen

Hearts Brothers and Countrymen

08 November 2016 - 6 Minute Read time - Expression

Robert Kennedy’s ‘Mindless Menace of Violence’ speech is one of the great speeches on the 20th century, a plea for calm and understanding, tolerance over violence, given in Cleveland the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King in April 1968.  The streets where ablaze when Kennedy met a group of black leaders to discuss how...

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On Tunnel Mountain

On Tunnel Mountain

08 November 2016 - 10 Minute Read time - Expression

The Banff book festival. Tony introduces me and with some small applause as I stand and walk over to the wooden podium, a nice piece of solid Canadian wood, my shoe laces undone. The audience, tidy, sat in neat rows, look like a good bunch, a clever bunch, not too much trouble - I hope.  “I’d like to begin with a poem’ I say, which...

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Manumission

Manumission

06 November 2016 - 6 Minute Read time - Expression

Life feels like one long argument these days, one long battle of emails and posts, of comments and drunken midnight bars.  I battle with people I love, people I respect, battle so hard even thought I know it does no good, does me even worse.  Cedar Wright, a man who’s great humour and fine character hides an intellect sharper than even...

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Long Runs The Fox

Long Runs The Fox

01 November 2016 - 4 Minute Read time - Expression

I first met Ricky Bell in the dust of Camp 4.  I forget the year.  Ricky is one of those people you meet in life, one minute unknown, the next - never to be forgotten. I’ve met a lot of legends, some that knew it and weren’t, groaned under their untruth, others who were - the best - who didn’t even know it. It’s a testament to...

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Coming Home

Coming Home

30 October 2016 - 19 Minute Read time - Q&A

Hi Will Sorry for the late reply (I think this is coming a year after I got your email, so if you’ve topped yourself with post climbing frustration - my apologies). I’m sat writing this on a plane that has no TV’s (an Air Canada flight that’s so old we have wooden seats and the entertainment is a guy playing a piano), so this could end up...

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Fucking words

Fucking words

28 October 2016 - 6 Minute Read time - Expression

Hi Andy. I’ve been reading your blog for years.  Big fan and supporter of your published work as well - just received your printed copy of 1001 climbing tips actually. But I gotta say today I read your most recent post “From One Writer to Another” and it really left me with WTF?  Why so bitter and dismissive? Makes me...

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How does a clock tick?

How does a clock tick?

28 October 2016 - 22 Minute Read time - Expression

Have you ever taken a moment to consider how it is that a watch, something so small, just a pebble on your wrist, can make so much noise?  Well have you? “If I ever saw your moron ass on the streets i would kick your ass!” What does perfection really looks like? So many questions.  I’m sorry, but again what is perfection?...

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From one writer to another

From one writer to another

27 October 2016 - 2 Minute Read time - Writing

The problem is you think you have a voice, but you don’t.  You think you have your own thoughts and ideas, but you don’t.  You think you’re a radical, that the world is against you and your politics, but really you’re a conformist. You think the world needs to catch you up, that it’s stupid, immoral,...

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Chongo by the power

Chongo by the power

26 October 2016 - Expression

“I wake each morning filled with hate” said Chongo as I stood to leave the table, a wincing self indictment the punch line to the ‘stupidity’ and ‘obedience’ of his fellow Americans, sat on tables all around us in the Yosemite lodge cafaeria, shovelling down their pancakes before hitting the trail.  I laughed, like it was a joke,...

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Difficult People

Difficult People

20 September 2016 - 7 Minute Read time - Q&A

Sitting on a plane, alone, heading for yet another solo trip to Yosemite, it’s funny to answer this question as one the main reasons for solo climbing is this very question! Stalin used to say, “No people - no problem”, and this is most definitely true on a mountain trip or expedition.  People are generally always the weak link, and...

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The Night Swim

The Night Swim

16 September 2016 - 7 Minute Read time - Expression

We shuffled down the steep trail in the gloom, sore toes blindly knocking into stumps and stones, six hundred metres sore.  Up the Chief we’d gone, slab and crack and things in between.  We stubbornly leave off our torches, that’s what we’re like, her and me, as bad as each other, no doubt leading each other astray, but who wants to...

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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