blog

An eclectic mix of writing, covering climbing equipment, technique, life & death (and all the stuff inbetween).


Church image Dark-Half  | Jan 31, 21

Church

Every morning I push my son around a ten-kilometre circuit, come rain or shine, him wrapped up and sleeping (hopefully), me wrapped up and listening to an endless stream of podcasts (thank God for podcasts!). When a baby comes out of the hospital these days there’s a list of things you should and should not do like if you’ve given birth you should sit on your arse eating buns for six weeks, or that you should treat your baby as if he’s eggshell delicate. Well, we did that for one day, and then got out, Vanessa “walking...

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Episode 25: Q&A image Podcast  | Jan 31, 21

Episode 25: Q&A

Andy Kirkpatrick catches up with all his listener questions.

Andy Kirkpatrick catches up with all his listener questions.Music by Pogo

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Better image Dark-Half  | Jan 30, 21

Better

It’s tough getting off the phone from the most positive person you know when they tell you they’re feeling depressed. Do you feel the same? If so here are some non-pharmaceutical ideas/options.⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣You are NOT depressed: life is just shit, and so you feel shit; unmotivated, confused, anxious, worried about how you’re going to get through this. Depression is something, like losing a baby or being told you’re dying of cancer. So don’t use that term to describe how you feel, but give that feeling something that means something real.⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣Being on social media ...

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New book? image Gear  | Jan 29, 21

New book?

I’ve started sketching out my next book, which I’m sure everyone who watches this account knows will be on the subject of dressing for extremes (extreme cold, extreme wet, extreme heat). The working title is ‘By a thread’, and the aim is to have the book finished before the due date for Banff submissions, which is June (hey, I’ve just had a baby, so I’ve got LOADS of time!). I’ve had 4 books shortlisted for Banff, and one win (1001 Climbing Tips), and although some people have suggested I’m perhaps not “Banff material”, I like a...

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Warm Feet image Gear  | Jan 28, 21

Warm Feet

Every now and then I get some work advising people on what clothing to wear for extreme conditions. This has included film companies, TV, such as the Discovery Channel, as well as people heading off on extreme holidays. Often the advice you give is to first get the person doing the asking to reconsider the question. When someone asks about his film crew, who are heading to Siberia in winter, having sleeping bags that go down to -60 degrees, you first have to ask them some questions; like have you ever camped outside (the answer is often no), do you...

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Reset image Climbing  | Jan 27, 21

Reset

“Before we are all reprogrammed, remember for a bit longer that the reset of memory and truth is not just a political agenda, but a holistic effort to redefine our past, present, and future.”Victor Davis HansonPhoto: Raising a Flag over the Reichstag by Khaldei “After taking the symbolic photo, Khaldei quickly returned to Moscow. He further edited the image at the request of the editor-in-chief of the Ogonyok, who noticed that Senior Sergeant Abdulkhakim Ismailov, who is supporting the flag-bearer, was wearing two watches, which could imply he had looted one of them, an action punishable by execution....

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Dream image Dark-Half  | Jan 26, 21

Dream

Last night I was visited by a dead person, who - being in a dream - I forgot was dead. In the dream he was dressed in a spacesuit and was soloing up and down the rock, making me fear for his life. I tried to tell him not to, but you could tell it made his life seem as if it meant something, gave it some meaning. When I woke up, sometime around three am, my brain all foggy, I remembered he was dead, but for a while, I couldn’t remember how. My head full of dead people,...

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Swag image Gear  | Jan 26, 21

Swag

The polar ‘tent bag’, along with the Polar Swag bag (a swag is a kind of integrated bivvy system, that includes the ground mat), are two obscure pieces of vital polar kit. The tent bag is designed to work with a tunnel tent. You begin by taping all the pole sections together, apart from the centre section, insert these into the pole sleeves (you can fix on end into position if need be), and just break the pole and fold it in half, then roll the tent up, so it’s like a sausage. By rolling the tent towards the...

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Bollard image Climbing  | Jan 25, 21

Bollard

This image from my book ‘Down’ gives a rough guide to snow/ice bollard sizes, ranging from small (hard snow) to large (soft snow). There should probably be a micro one for pure ice, which can be fist size, and a massive fuck-off one, for the powderish powder. The bollard is something that most winter climbers will build once, generally on some winter freshers course, along with ice axe arresting, maybe digging a snow pit, and then forget about. This means that when the day comes when you either need to use a bollard as an anchor (belay or rap),...

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Ruck image Gear  | Jan 25, 21

Ruck

I think there’s a bit in Psychovertical (the book), where I talk about walking to work (about 12 miles) carrying a heavy sack filled with books as my alpine training. I’m not sure why I carried books, as bottles of water are far more sensible, but I guess they were heavy and at hand. I had a red @aiguillealpine Droites pack, which was probably around 60 litres (the typical alpine sack size in the 90s, while now it’s probably about 30), so I’d get up early, stick on my yellow Sony Walkman (the waterproof one), and head off the...

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