“Ranulph Fiennes of British Climbing" John Humphrys (Radio 4)

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!

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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
  • 2007: Climb El Cap with female paraplegic climber 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: Makes 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
  • 2015:Films a three part program for the One Show with kids in Norway.
  • 2015:Solo's The Sea of Dreams on El Capitan over 14 days (4th solo ascent).

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.
Andy Speaking 1

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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Andy Speaking 1

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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Andy Speaking 2

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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Number of freeze dried meals eaten

Coldest temp Andy's experienced

Nights spent on El Cap


Read, comment, spam, bin, rant, cry - take it or leave it I don't care.
The Dogma of Certainty

The Dogma of Certainty

I got this comment the other day in relation to a blog on the misuse of a widely quoted defence of Islam: I don’t mean to cause any offence, but it’s better to stick to blogging about things you actually know a lot about - e.g. climbing - rather than heading off into the desert of your own ignorance, with this misinformed rant, full of prejudi...

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Rantings of a fool

Rantings of a fool

We live in an age where sometimes the language and the words we use must be picked with the same care we’d use if crawling through a minefield.  If you pick the wrong one then you risk betraying your true self, that you’re a bigot or a racist, a misogynist or worse of all, simple cause offence - to be unfeeling.  Sitting this morning...

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Language is Courage

Language is Courage

Perhaps it’s just bad timing, perhaps not, but I got this email this morning.  Dear Andy There is only one way to fill the Emptiness you try to fill in your life. You are a child of God the almighty. He love you more than anyone else can do so. He send his son Jesus in the world and he died on the cross for all our sins. So that we are fre...

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"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.
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).
Good to-go


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