From the darkness of prison, to liberation in the high mountains – one climber's hard road to freedom
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“As I sat cradling the man's head, with his blood and brains sticking to my hands, I heard a voice – my own voice. It was asking me something. Asking how I had ended up like this, desperate and lost among people who thought nothing of caving in a man's head and then standing back to watch him die.”
Nick Bullock was a prison officer working in a maximum-security jail with some of Britain's most notorious criminals. Trapped in a world of aggression and fear, he felt frustrated and alone. Then he discovered the mountains.
Making up for lost time, Bullock soon became one of Britain's best climbers, learning his trade in the mountains of Scotland and Wales, and travelling from Pakistan to Peru in his search for new routes and a new way of seeing the world – and ultimately an escape route from his life inside.
Told that no one ever leaves the service – the security, the stability, the 'job for life' – Bullock focused his existence on a single goal: to walk free, with no shackles, into a mountain life.
Bullock's debut book Echoes is a powerful and compelling exploration of freedom – and what it means to live life on your own terms.
Watch the trailer for the short film Echoes, produced by the Polished Project:
Multi-award winning author and legendary British adventure climber Paul Pritchard (author of Deep Play and The Totem Pole) has contributed the Foreword, in which he writes:
"...to aspire to being more than just another good climber, you must have your head in the clouds and push the boundaries of your physical ability ceaselessly. And if you're going to do this then there comes with it a price – falls, obsession, relationship failures and, to a point, madness. And this is what these pages contain – an honest account of what it means to be an Alpinist."
Mid-epic, lost, soloing in the Alps. "I took this self portrait to remind myself never to do this sort of thing again"
Vertebrate Publishing, Aug 2012
© NIck Bullock
Nick Bullock approaching the crux of what was to become 'Fear and Loathing' on the South East Face of Jirishanca, Peru.
Vertebrate Publishing, Aug 2012
© Al Powell
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