The Punters' Punter Explains

by Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com Jan/2009
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+Andy Kirkpatrick, with Ella and Ewan Kirkpatrick, accepting the Boardman Tasker Prize for Psycohvertical, 100 kb
Andy Kirkpatrick knows when to bail.

After five days on the Eiger's Harlin Route Andy had had enough, this attempt. Too much snow, too much gear, fatigue and emails from his son made him decide to retreat.

Now back in the UK, inspired by questions asked on a UKClimbing.com thread he explores his decision to attempt the Harlin in winter and his reasons for climbing.

"Was I in a fit state to try? Well no, but then I have never been in a fit state to try any climb (When I climbed the Lesure route on the North Face of the Dru - scottish VI/VII, and a dam site harder then the Eiger Direct - I hadn't climbed for over a year!!!!). I'm not like Bracey, Powell, Cross etc who are genuinely full time climbers (athletes if you wish), and would race up a route like the direct in a few days. I'm an utterly normal person who finds fitting in even a days climbing in the 'gorms difficult, juggling kids, ex wife and girlfriend, many jobs and commitments - just like about 90% of climbers in the UK.

Call me selfish? It's because I've always striven no to let climbing make me a heartless climbing obsessed bastard that gets me into these scrapes in the first place. What I have in my favor is not a six pack and a marathon physique (since when did being skinny make you a good mountaineer?), but a stubbornness, and willingness to both try something difficult with as big a safety margin as possible, and most importantly be willing to fail. My book and website may have the word psycho in it, but I think if you ask anyone who's climbed with me, and you'll find I'm probably one of the most paranoid climbers around."

You can read his full blog entry at andy-kirkpatrick.com


Andy Kirkpatrick is sponsored by Lyon Equipment and Berghaus.

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