The Books What I Wrote

I've been writing for a living for twenty years, first for magazines, then books, and I've been lucky enough to have my books translated into many languages (including Polish and Korean!). Along the way, I've won the Boardman-Tasker twice, as well as awards from Banff and the prestigious 'Giuseppe Mazzotti' award in Italy. These things and the fact here is a page full of my books, is as surprising to me as they would be to my English teachers!


The Complete Descent Manual for Climbers, Alpinists and Mountaineers

The book was written and illustrated over three years by award-winning climber and writer Andy Kirkpatrick (Psychovertical, Cold Wars, 1001 Climbing Tips, Higher Education), and is based on four decades of epics, retreats and F**k-ups.

At 80,000 words (400 pages) and 300 illustrations, this is both a labour of love and an important and timely book for a community that loses far too many climbers to rappelling accidents.

  • ISBN-10: 1999700570
  • ISBN-13: 978-1999700577
  • Published on: 01 July 2020
  • Publisher: Andy Kirkpatrick
  • Dimensions: 6x9 inch
  • Pages: 420
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Higher Education

The Ultimate Big Wall Manual

Higher Education is the ultimate big wall and aid-climbing manual. Bible thick (480 pages, 200,000 words), this book is not for the faint of heart, being one of the most detailed climbing books ever written, crafting a book that will be of value to the expert, the novice, or simply the vertical ‘train spotter’.

Based on over 50 big wall ascents, including 35 ascents of El Cap, Andy Kirkpatrick spent three years writing and illustrating the book, a book that has already helped many climbers achieve their big wall ambitions.

The book covers all the core big wall subjects: including psychology, placements, leading and hauling, but also advanced techniques and climbing big walls in the greater ranges or winter. The only area not covered in Higher Education is soloing, as this is covered in my previous book ‘Me,Myself & I’.
  • ISBN-13: 1999700597
  • Published on: 01 May 2018
  • Publisher: Andrew Kirkpatrick
  • Dimensions: 6x9 inch
  • Pages: 478
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Unknown Pleasures

Collected writing on life, death, climbing and everything in between

Unknown Pleasures is a collection of works by the climber and award-winning author Andy Kirkpatrick.

Obsessed with climbing and addicted to writing, Kirkpatrick is a master storyteller. Covering subjects as diverse as climbing, relationships, fatherhood, mental health and the media, it is easy to read, sometimes difficult to digest, and impossible to forget.

One moment he is attempting a rare solo ascent of Norway’s Troll Wall, the next he is surrounded by the TV circus while climbing Moonlight Buttress with the BBC’s The One Show presenter Alex Jones. Yosemite’s El Capitan is ever-present; he climbs it alone – strung out for weeks, and he climbs it with his thirteen-year-old daughter Ella – her first big wall.

His eye for observation and skilled wordcraft make for laugh-out-loud funny moments, while in more hard-hitting pieces he is unflinchingly honest about past and present love and relationships, and pulls no punches with an alternative perspective of our place in the world.

Unknown Pleasures is Andy Kirkpatrick at his brilliant best.

  • ISBN-10: 978-1-911342-72-4
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-911342-72-4
  • Published on: 09 March 2018
  • Publisher: VP Publishing
  • Pages: 256
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Me, Myself & I

Everything you ever wanted to know about soloing a big wall

Me, Myself & I draws on fifteen years of experience on these solo projects, as well as nearly thirty years of general climbing experience, to bring the most specialised big wall instruction book ever written for climbers. Rope soloing will be undertaken by less than 1% of climbers, yet these skills open up the potential for the equivalent of an 'Iron Man' for climbers, to scale the biggest walls - alone and safely.

How this book came about...

Climbers have been asking me for years to write more about the dark art of rope soloing, and I’ve tried to cover some aspects on my blog, plus coached others by email. But what is needed is a more in-depth manual, that covers every aspect of the big wall solo, as well as comprehensive and clear diagrams - something I’ve never been able to do for free content.

What does the book cover?

The book will be by far the most in-depth instructional big wall roped soloing book ever written.

Although aimed at roped soloing, the book will cover many, many subjects that cross over into rock climbing, alpinism and mountaineering - as well as the training and psychology involved, making it relevant to anyone who has an active interest in these areas.

Like many of my books this will not be a dry and dull book but will try and bring the spirit of big walling into every page, covering what you need to know, as well as my own and other stories to inspire you.

  • ISBN-10: 1545122253
  • ISBN-13: 978-1545122259
  • Published on: 20 July 2014
  • Publisher: Akreative
  • Pages: 256
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Nutcraft - The Climbing Nut Bible

There are plenty of books on the market that cover nuts and other passive gear, but non that focus completely on this important topic (the foundation of all climbing protection).

Nutcraft covers standard climbing nuts, micro wires, hexs, tricams and exotica (knots, beaks and natural chocks), as well as how best to use them.

This is a perfect book for a novice climber.

  • Published on: 16 September 2013
  • Publisher: Akreative
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1000+ Tips for Climbers

A contents of a climbers brain

1000 Tips For Climbers is aimed at anyone who hangs off stuff, or just hangs around in the mountains. It’s not an instruction book, but more a massive collection of all those little tips that make a real difference.

These tips are based on thirty years of climbing obsession, as well as nineteen ascents of El Cap (3 solo ascents and one days ascent), Alpine North Faces, icecaps, scary climbs and expeditions.

For a more extreme taste of this book, imagine an alien came down to earth, stuck a straw in a climber’s head, one who’d been climbing for about thirty years, and proceeded to suck out their brain; then transmogrified all that it contained in to a 57,000 word book of climbing tips.

Well this is just such a book!

I000 tips covers the following areas:

Basics (1-240) The first part of the book covers a wide range of subjects, varying from how to best rope up and stopping your boots from stinking, to racking your gear correctly and how to sleep in a harness. This section is designed for both novice and experienced climbers.

Big Wall (241-347) Written for anyone tackling large multi pitch climbs, with advanced topics such as jumaring, hauling and speed climbing. These tips will be an aid both to those new to multi pitch climbing, as well as the more experienced climber.

Ice (348-370) Tips on all aspects of ice climbing, including movement, protection, ways of approaching mental strength, and not falling off!

Mixed (371-392) How to use your tools on snowed up rock, and focused primarily on Scottish and Alpine winter skills.

Mountain (393-694) If you’re not a rock climber then this section has a lot of tips on living and staying alive in the mountains, be that in the UK, Alps or greater ranges.

Safety (695-785) The name of the game in climbing is staying alive, and coming home in one piece. This section covers loose rock, rescue, dealing with heat and getting caught out.

Training (786-863) A wide range of tips on strength and endurance training and diet for climbers.

Stuff (864-2017) A mix of esoteric, such as how to rap off a fifi hook, what books to read, how to get sponsored and going to the toilet.

  • ISBN-10: 1910240532
  • ISBN-13: 1910240532
  • Published on: 30 April 2013
  • Publisher: Vertibrate
  • Pages: 192
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Cold Wars

In this brilliant sequel to his award-winning debut Psychovertical, mountaineering stand-up Andy Kirkpatrick has achieved his life’s ambition to become one of the world’s leading climbers. Pushing himself to new extremes, he embarks on his toughest climbs yet – on big walls in the Alps and Patagonia – in the depths of winter.

Kirkpatrick has more success, but the savagery and danger of these encounters comes at a huge personal cost. Questioning his commitment to his chosen craft, Kirkpatrick is torn between family life and the dangerous path he has chosen. Written with his trademark wit and honesty, Cold Wars is a gripping account of modern adventure.

“Andy’s effortless narrative takes the reader into parallel worlds of parenthood and extreme climbing with the reader emerging unsure which is the scariest or more demanding. He is acutely observant of people: his peerless portrayal of the leading characters only matched by his depiction of alpinism at the highest level. There are lighter moments of course, this is Andy Kirkpatrick after all, and his mastery of irony and self deprecation shines through with satisfying regularity. ... A book which celebrates all that is best in mountaineering literature and the Boardman Tasker Award in particular.”

Chair of judges on Psychovertical – winner, Boardman Tasker Prize 2012

  • ISBN-13: 1906148465
  • Published on: 26 August 2011
  • Publisher: Vertebrate
  • Pages: 275
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Here’s Tim Noble, chairman of the judges with his Boardman - Tasker Prize winning announcement:

“And so by default to our winner. Andy Kirkpatrick’s book Psychovertical is, despite its title and front-cover hype a compulsive read and re-read. Kirkpatrick, in his first book, manages a minor miracle: in measured and balanced writing, larded generously throughout with wit, self-deprecation and mordant humour that he keeps in fine check, he finds the perfect measure of himself on some of the planet’s most dangerous climbs. It is perhaps because he knows himself so well that we accept both his expressed incompetence in climbing and writing (he is dyslexic) and efforts to overcome it without demur. Here is no case of classic British irony.

We warmed to this author – to his urge to live life to the full; to understand his limitations as son, husband and father. The loss of a father figure in particular points to an underlying theme over thirty years of mountaineering biography; but none of us could recall a more sensitive and less self-indulgent treatment of the theme than here presented.

The book is very cleverly structured (we all wonder if the Hutchinson editor gets credit here). The cuts from scene to scene and climb to climb work wonderfully well – a sort of mountaineering Day of The Jackal – as Kirkpatrick comes closer and closer to his nemesis on Reticent Wall. And it is this climb, the running narrative of the book, that grips the most: 14 pitches of aid climbing, unrelieved by conversation with a partner other than himself, should by rights be boring. But it grips the heart further and further.

These chapters are without exception exceptional – the best writing about aid climbing we’ve read, and make for sweaty-palmed page turning. On this basis alone the book is a winner. Taken as whole it stands as a beacon for the next generation of young turks: a challenge to pick up the pen and overcome their own reticence. Kirkpatrick has taken up the baton on behalf of generation x and, at just the right moment, has said ‘Yes I can’. The judges are delighted to award the 2008 Boardman Tasker Award to Andy Kirkpatrick for Psychovertical. “

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  • Published on: 20 November 2010
  • Publisher: Arrow (UK) The Mountaineers (US) Versante Sud (Italy) As Verlag (Germany)
  • Pages:


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