ANDY KIRKPATRICK

“Gut-wrenching, entertaining and challenging" - The Guardian

Who is Andy?

"I haven’t climbed Everest, skied to the poles, nor sailed single handed around the world. The goals I set out to accomplish aren’t easily measured or quantified by world records or ‘firsts’. The reasons I climb, and the climbs I do, are about more than distance or altitude, they are about breaking barriers within myself”.

The US magazine Climbing once described Andy as a climber with a “strange penchant for the long, the cold and the difficult”, with a reputation “for seeking out routes where the danger is real, and the return is questionable, pushing himself on some of the hardest walls and faces in the Alps and beyond, sometimes with partners and sometimes alone.”

More succinctly, Metro magazine claims that he “makes Ray Mears look like Paris Hilton”.

Andy's speciality is big wall climbing and winter expeditions, which involves pitting himself against a vertical climbs of over 1000 metres (that’s two and a half world trade centres), often in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees. Andy has scaled Yosemite's El Capitan - one of the hardest walls in America - over twenty four times, including three solo ascents and a one day ascent (18h), as well as climbing it with a paraplegic climber, his thirteen year old daughter and a blind friend. One of these ascents was a 12 day solo of the Reticent Wall, viewed at the time as perhaps the hardest climb of its type in the world, and the subject of his award winning book Psychovertical.

In 2002 he undertook one of the hardest climbs in Europe: a 15 day winter ascent of the West face of the Dru. This 1000 metre pillar pushed him and his partner to their limits and was featured in the award winning film 'Cold Haul'.

In 2014 Andy made the first ascent of the South Ridge of Ulvertanna, Antarctica, viewed by climbers as the 'hardest mountain in the world' - spending 14 days at minus thirty and colder to reach the top. One month later, battling frostbitten toes, Andy lead the TV presenter Alex Jones up Moonlight Buttress in Zion for Sports Relief, raising £1.5 million pounds.

Andy has also taken part in many expeditions, including four winter expeditions to Patagonia, a crossing of Greenland, first ascents in Antarctica, and to many nights spent suffering to mention. The stories that Andy has brought back from these expeditions have become modern classics in the climbing world and have brought new meaning to the words 'epic' and 'cold'...

It is perhaps Andy's journey from remedial student to successful climber, writer and speaker that interests his audience most. Brought up on a council estate in one of Britain's flattest cities, Hull-born Andy suffered from severe dyslexia which went undiagnosed until he was 19. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to talk about his life and his climbs in a way that is totally accessible to the non-climber and allows the audience to experience the risk and tension of big wall climbing.

Andy also works in film and TV, as a stunt safety advisor and this plays a part in many of his talks, which take you from the heights of Patagonia to the chocolaty depths of Charlie and the Chocolate factory!

Andy Kirkpatrick

Recent Highlights

  • 2001: Solo Reticent Wall on El Cap over 12 days, hardest route ever soloed by a British Climber
  • 2002: Make second ascent of Lafaille route - the 'hardest wall in the alps' - on the Dru in winter over 15 days
  • 2002: Make winter ascent of the East Face of Mermoz Patagonia
  • 2003: Two attempts on a new route on the Troll Wall, Norway, 1st with partner, then solo. Route falls down 2 months later.
  • 2004: Set up Speakers from the Edge.
  • 2006: Cross Greenland with paraplegic adventurer Karen Darke
  • 2007: Climb El Cap with Karen Darke over five days
  • 2007: Attempt Torre Egger and Cerro Standhart in Winter while making award winning film Winter Patagonia
  • 2008: First book: Psychovertical wins the Boardman-Tasker award
  • 2008: Multi award winning film Winter Patagonia wins jury award at the Banff Mountain Film festival
  • 2009: Climbed El Cap with Phil Packer MBE to raise money for Help for Heroes, hitting his target of £1 million pounds
  • 2011: Come within 35 metres of first solo ascent on the Troll Wall, Norway after spending ten days climbing the route
  • 2012: Second book: Cold Wars wins the Boardman-Tasker award
  • 2012: Italian translation of Psychovertical wins prestigious Gambrinus nella sezione Alpinismo award and then the Lo speciale premio Veneto Banca, La voce dei Lettor award.
  • 2012: Make an ascent of El Cap with my 13 year old daughter Ella for BBC series 'My Life'.
  • 2012: Psychovertical and Cold Wars translated into German, Italian, Polish and Korean
  • 2013: Make first winter ascent on the Troll Wall, Norway, living on the wall for 14 nights.
  • 2013: Attempt hardest route on Eiger North Face in Winter, climbing twenty seven pitches over a week before retreating in bad weather
  • 2013: Make 2 ascents of El Cap with blind climber Steve Bates, then help him to make a solo ascent over 5 days
  • 2014: Multiple first ascents in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, including South Ridge of Ulvertanna - called by some "The hardest mountain in the world"
  • 2014:Lead Alex Jones up Moonlight Buttress, Zion, raising £1.5 million for Sports Relief

The hardest big-wall climb ever undertaken solo by a Briton

The Financial Times

When I first started climbing it was all about the joyful selfish pleasure of it all, the summits only shared with partners - well sometimes shared with no one but myself - the terror of dangerous places, and the thrill of making it back home again, the only proof it really happened; a bag of undeveloped film, and a brain buzzing with stories to tell my mates.

One Man Shows

As Britain's only 'stand up mountaineer' I've toured most of the major theaters in the UK – as well as some of the smaller ones – with my one man shows. Mixing humor, tales of fear, and a show tune or two, these shows have redefined the traditional 'climbing slideshow', and making climbing talks mainstream.

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Corporate Talks

What can a business or organization learn from a climber who's only focus is going on holidays? Well the lesson learnt on trips with others, and solo adventures, can be used to share ideas and tools in problem solving, risk taking and self management that are far more memorable than any textbook.

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Schools & Colleges

They say a child's attention span is their age in minutes plus two, so talking to young people is always a challenge I relish. Being a father, and someone who struggled at school, I always try and entertain, inform and leave young minds think that nothing is beyond them.

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How it all started

When I first started climbing it was all about the joyful selfish pleasure of it all, the summits only shared with partners - well sometimes shared with no one but myself - the terror of dangerous places, and the thrill of making it back home again, the only proof it really happened; a bag of undeveloped film, and a brain buzzing with stories to tell my mates.

Then, first through my writing, and later through speaking about my climbs, I began to find the excitement of passing on the things I’d seen ‘up there’ to others, finding it almost as thrilling as the climb itself - and sometimes just as terrifying.

Like most climbers I began talking about my trips around the tables of pubs and mountain bars, keeping friends entertained as we waited for storms to pass, psyching ourselves up for climbs to come. Soon I found myself talking not to just my friends but to the room itself, only this time having the prop of a slide projector and screen. Back then I’d probably have one or two slides to cover an entire climb, so learnt early on that words could fill in the blanks - a useful skill many years later when I forgot my slides and had to do a two hour lecture with only a white screen behind me.

Audiences grew, from climbing clubs to climbing walls, from local climbing events to international gigs in places like New Zealand, Canada and the US. Where once there had been an audience of one of two, in the space of five years it grown to thousands.

“You’re so funny, have you ever thought of doing stand up” was something many people asked, and I realised you didn’t have to be a climber to “get it’, so I landed a tour in the Picture House cinema chain, a bit of a crazy idea, a guy standing up next to the screen and talking about his holidays. But it worked. People came, and people laughed at the funny bits and went quiet at the scary bits.

And so in 2006 I took the terrifying step of going main stream, with my first proper UK tour, with my one man show Psychovertical, visiting thirty theaters and telling my strange story, a mash up of soloing the reticent wall in Yosemite, skiing across Greenland and working on Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Many theaters were sold, and by the end of one of the hardest expeditions of my life I told my story to over twenty thousand people.

It had been a long journey from those pubs and mountain bars, but in many just as exciting, scary and ultimately rewarding as the climbs I stand and talk about.

If you'd like to book me for a talk then please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

What does it take to solo one of the most intimidating climbs in the world, pushing through fear, self doubt and the knowledge that you had already failed the same climb three times previously. Andy examines the fine line between adventure and obsession.

TED

milestones

Number of freeze dried meals eaten

Coldest temp Andy's experienced

Nights spent on El Cap

Blogs

Words as therapy...
More Blogs

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.

SIR CHRIS BONINGTON

Sponsors & Supporters

I couldn't do what I do without the support of a lot of people (incuding my mum and ex-wife Mandy).
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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!).

For sponsorship or business contact
Speakers from the Edge

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