08 January 2020
I just found this picture of my brother Robin, taken on the balcony of the flats we grew up in. Robin is two years younger than me and has always been a grafter, all three of us (I have a sister Joanne), having some kind of divine grafting spark (it wasn’t divine at all, it was just not wanting our kids growing up in a slum, or be dependant, that’s all). Being a grafter he grafted all through six form, stacking shelves, then went into the...
07 January 2020
Q&APodcast: The Back-up
A new mini series from climber and writer Andy Kirkpatrick where he answers questions and tries to make the climbing world a safer place. If you’d like to ask a question then contact Andy through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or his website.
04 January 2020
Podcast: The absence of misery
30 December 2019
Q&A: Foot Fangs
Hi Thanks for the question. At first glance, there looks like a big difference in performance between the simple twelve-point mountaineering crampon, and the technical models; but really there isn’t. Yes, one type looks boring and clunky, like training crampons, while the other looks cutting edge: go-faster orange, laser-cut and modular; but...
26 December 2019
Podcast: Pete Whittaker Podcast
19 December 2019
19 December 2019
While searching through my photos, looking for abseiling images, it struck me that four Winter trips to Patagonia was where I’d really learnt how to get down of mountains in one piece (often when I had no pieces left once I was down). This image is of Ian Parnell on the way back down from the first winter ascent of the Parkin route on the East...
14 December 2019
Podcast: A conversation with Jim Herrington
08 December 2019
Podcast: Psycho Vertical Podcast
05 November 2019
I probably get two messages a day from someone who wants to do the climb, or trip, of their lives; to climb a big wall, to pack in a job they hate and go somewhere wild, dreams big and small, some doable, some less so. The message I got from Anita from Romania was sort of typical, someone who wanted to climb El Cap, but really had zero experience...
31 October 2019
Conversations : “Tia Maria and Orange Juice”
The following conversation with the award-winning poet, author, climber, runner and mother, Helen Mort, was carried out over two months via email. I should warn those looking for fast food words that you won’t find them here, and that is probably something to consume over several sittings, being over 8000 words long. As with the last...
24 October 2019
Opinion: Marieke Vervoort
I had a period in my life when I went to a lot of para events, and so I saw Marieke Vervoort around, always with her dog. Her story can be viewed as being tragic – because it was – but it was also heroic, like tragic lives can be. Each of us is given our measure of life and left to do with it as we wish. A few gobble it up all too...
22 October 2019
Conversations : “Learning lessons never ends”
The following is a long conversation with the UK climber Hazel Findlay, a conversation that took place over a month, via email, and so is very wide-ranging; covering topics such as truth and lies, stoicism, and making money as a full-time climber. Be warned, this is not a Q&A, where Hazel is selling you something, or directly about climbing,...
10 October 2019
Opinion: Ashtray Wasp
Anyone who’s watched my stand up show “Inappropriate Climbing” on Youtube, will know I was told my son had some form of attention deficit disorder, and I was pressured into agreeing to – basically – drug him. My theory is the people in charge are suffering from AiDD, which is Attention to Deviance Disorder, and they run everything,...
09 October 2019
Opinion: Escape Back to Reality
How does one defend outdoor communities: climbers, walkers, kayakers, mountain bikers, bird watchers, and those beyond, such as Saturday morning Park Runners, cyclists, triathletes, trainspotters, against the charges of economic privilege, ‘whiteness’, and that these communities both consciously and unconsciously exclude minorities? If...
26 September 2019
Opinion: Fan mail
This is a friendly message to all the pros, the sponsored climbers, filmmakers, photographers, skiers, BASE jumpers, outdoor brands, and outdoor influencers. We’ve been following you, we the general public, for a very long time, watched you on Instagram, read you on Twitter and Facebook, watching your videos on Youtube; in fact, we’ve...
23 September 2019
The human body is a strange thing; an instrument that can be hard to read. This photo is of me, traversing around Mount Kenya, from the MCK hut – where we’d been based for about ten days – to the Shipton hut side. We’d already spent three nights high on Mount Kenya, having tried the Grand Traverse, so I should have been well acclimatized....
23 September 2019
I learnt to ice axe arrest when I was about fifteen, a five-minute lesson on some winter hill near Ben Nevis. It was very basic instruction, given to me and my brother by my father: slide on your ass, roll over onto your axe, stop. There was some conversation about which way to hold your axe, pick forward or pick backwards, but my dad being my dad,...
19 September 2019
One reason why the Mongol Horde were so effective, is that they could travel very lightly, free of the slowing and vunrable baggage trains most armies needed. Each soldier had two horses, so one horse was always rested, and only required grass and water to survive. The soldier would live on a form of ‘blood tea’, drinking the blood of the horse...