"December 29, 2008 05:56 PM
So here I am at the eiger at last and it looks just as scary/amazing as last time. Only now I’ve got a haul bag full of currage and anough food for 10+ nights on the wall. "
"Had a terrible night - probably due to being knackered. Kept waking up with a song in my head (common stress tick). And the usual wanting to piss (now my cups broken I dont have a pot to piss in. Worst off all the anchor i’d secured the bivy tent to kept ripping - plus I has the Zip of stones coming down all night (it does seem very warm)."
Hey Andy, I hope you are keeping warm and suffering in a nice way. Climb safe and enjoy it. I'm sorry to hear about your cup... I'm worried how that might effect your toilet habits! Looking fwd to reading your blog over the next few days. Happy New Year. Diff
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Absolutely amazing effort, i walked up to the base of the Harlin route last summer and even from there it seemed daunting and that was in the middle of summer with no snow about!
One thing that i couldnt help chuckling at was in his latest blog he mentions the fact he ended up dry tooling on some parts of it and i wondered if the same ethic nerds who got their knickers in such a bunch about the other guys climbing in less that winter conditions would take the same attitude in this situation?? somehow i think not
Does anyone know any more details of how many ascents this route has had in summer/winter? The first ascent is well documented but on a quick search I can find little mention of subsequent ascents. Charlie Fowler is mentioned above for one. Luca could be the man for the job.
In reply to Samu: The Harlin has had quite a lot of ascents in summer and winter, including a one day solo ascent. First alpine atlye ascent by Macintyre and Sorensen back in October 1977 I think.
Good luck to Andy. The proper climbing starts above the gallery windows!
The Harlin-direct is - apart from the Heckmair - the only route in the central part of the North Wall which is ascented on a regular basis. That being said, I don't think that more than a few ascents are done each winter (the first summer ascent - fourth ascent overall - was done in August 1976 by four czech climbers. This is an exception, though, since there is too much stonefall during summer). In January of 1990, Slavko Sveticic made a fabulous solo ascent in only 27 hours.
> Does anyone know any more details of how many ascents this route has had in summer/winter? The first ascent is well documented but on a quick search I can find little mention of subsequent ascents. Charlie Fowler is mentioned above for one. Luca could be the man for the job.
I'm absolutely no Eiger expert, very rudimentary knowledge of the history of that one. Reiner Rettner would be much more helpful on that (I know he's reading this).
> (In reply to Jon Bracey)
> The Harlin-direct is - apart from the Heckmair - the only route in the central part of the North Wall which is ascented on a regular basis. That being said, I don't think that more than a few ascents are done each winter (the first summer ascent - fourth ascent overall - was done in August 1976 by four czech climbers. This is an exception, though, since there is too much stonefall during summer). In January of 1990, Slavko Sveticic made a fabulous solo ascent in only 27 hours.
Sorenson and MacIntyre did the first alpine style ascent in summer right? The Czechs used fixed ropes I seem to remember...
Is the Harlin considered more difficult than the Japanese route?
Right, as both you and Jon bracey pointed out, Alex MacIntyre and Tobin Sorenson made the first alpine style ascent in October 1977, which took them 5 days (you can read a fine account of the climb by MacIntyre in "Climbing", N. 119, 1990).
From what I've read, the Japanese route is considered to be a bit more difficult, mainly because it passes through the Rote Fluh. This contains some artificial climbing - A1-A3, in the upper part it's Grade V-VI/A2 (according to Daniel Anker's "Vertical Arena").
I really hope Andy takes the right decisions. While the weather forecast seems to be fine (only a litte snowfall is predicted to come in on Monday), it's just terribly cold right now in the Alps.
Sure, but Andy's blog for 30 December also states:
'Not been a very lucky day as al lee broke his £6000 camera (I set off in a storm that seems to have gone), then I dropped the tiny one he lent me to take on the route down a mini bergshrund. Luckily and with lots of caving and grovelling I managed to get it back.'
> (In reply to jcharles)
> From the UKC news article
> Andy is carrying a video camera on his ascent and will be filming himself. Also in Switzerland with Andy is Alastair Lee (posing productions), to capture the ascent on film.
Thanks for the reply. If that works out it'll be something to look forward to.
I join in with everyone else in wishing Andy good luck and safe climbing.
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Well my usual response to anything to do with Andy Kirkpatrick is that he is a psychovertical legend and that I'd say YES tomorrow . He is a crazy man with a lot lof vision and a strong bladder - Being able to fart without pissing oneself is also a good skill to have!
In reply to Bobt: Hope all goes well. As Dougal Haston wrote "In High Places" "The only essential, but a very elusive one, was ten days of good weather". I assume that up to a point retreat is possible back down to the gallery window/entrance ?
"At the start of the hard climbing. Due to the deep snow and too much kit I’m totally spent. Got three emails from my son Ewen asking where I am and another from Karen hoping I’m safe. I think a phone a bad idea. As is having people who love you if your going to try stupid shit like this.
Starting this morning I put my solo belay device upside down. I didn’t even have the energy to sort my rack and in my mind the eiger stretched on to heaven.
Trying to solo the eiger has required all the skills and tricks i have. But finally it comes down to knowing when you’re beat. Its time to bail."
Yes indeed. I'll never forget going to my first mountaineering lecture, from Alan Hinkes just after he had climbed Annapurna. It was third time lucky I think, and the thing that stood out most from the whole evening was him saying several times over "No mountain is worth a life". I think Andy has definitely made the right choice, and a massive "Well done!!" to him on both counts.
anthonyecc04 Jan 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: a fantastic effort on his behalf. He will be back to finish the job another day, no doubt!!
I'm very relieved he's decided to bail! The tone of his posts was already making me think "He doesn't think he's going to make it. I hope he won't push it too far because he knows the world is watching". So I was worried I'd come on here and find a nasty silence from him... then an accident report.
Sometimes it takes more courage to retreat than to advance.
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: No cup, knackered stove and sleeping bag. In the conditions bailing's absolutely the right choice. Top marks for the attempt, hope to see Andy give it another go in the future and look forward to him filling us in in more detail on his next lecture tour. Safe journey.
Is there an appropriate level where those of us with kids and partners should stick to and not venture beyond?
I think it is often self limiting and perhaps that is what Andy has found but I think it must remain personal choice otherwise we condemn those who choose to push the limits whilst having a family at home to undue critisism.
Just think about the furore over Alison Hargreaves.
> (In reply to teflonpete)
> Has anyone asked what the hell he was doing up there?
Giving it a go, surely?
As someone familiar with "we came, we saw, we ran away!" I'd agree that it's only the person on the ground, in the conditions at the time, that can make the judgement, and Andy's judgement seems sound - give it a go, find it's not going well, retreat.
Surely it can't be said that in general, a winter solo of the Eiger merits a "what on earth was he doing there?" comment, otherwise surely all climbers would merit such comments from those living in the cotton wool world.
> (In reply to teflonpete)
> Has anyone asked what the hell he was doing up there?
I was rather worried for the guy when i heard hed set off up the thing. I always thought aid soling winter alpine routes was for cocky, young single men or the socially awkward. As Andy is neither it seemed rather odd he was up there.
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: He's got scores of experience soloing big dangerous routes in both summer and winter, and his biggest asset seems to be his 'survivability' on top of his excellent climbing skills.
If anyone is able to get into something like this and live to tell it is him, and as outstanding as his achievements, are the numerous times he had the good sense to call it a day.
Lafaille et all were victims of their own success, and their world revolved around achieving the objective, leaving little margin for retreat. Andy K seems to always plan for retreats as much as he plans for the climb itself, and doesn't seem to take any chances or unnecessary risks. That's what sets him apart from other 'top alpinists', he won't be doing the fast and light way, but slowly and heavy will get up or down anything. One of his downfalls in this 'adventure' seems to have been exactly that, taking excessive amounts of gear, which though it gave him the best chances to survive/retreat, it seems to have weight him down.
I think is unfair to judge him in this way, and he's proven again that his judgement is second to none.
Well done for trying, and well done for retreating when he felt like it!
> (In reply to teflonpete)
> Has anyone asked what the hell he was doing up there?
> Hopefully Andy will answer that question when he gets down.
> He's not fit. He has two lovely kids, a loving partner. The risk of death was high.
> He's connected to the world via his twitter and blog, and with a video camera. Voyeuristic in the extreme.
> I look forward to his discussion.
Come on Mick. don't bring down UKC to the level of the gutter press. You have no moral high ground to judge. While all climbers are control freaks and therefore usually safe, they are contol freaks about an intrinsically selfish act - climbing sets out to arouse the self and also puts the self at risk. Ten years ago it may have been voreuristic, now blogs are the norm, for every man and his donkey. This sort of sh1te stirring is best avoided.
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
> ... You have no moral high ground to judge. ... This sort of sh1te stirring is best avoided.
It's not judgement or shit stirring. It's a valid question and I'm glad someone finally brought it up amongst all the automatic applause.
Is Andy beyond reproach because he gives funny talks? If climbing and climbers can't sustain some basic inquiry and criticism (in the full sense, both positive and negative) then maybe we're not as strong as we'd like to think - it smacks of weakness and insecurity. Andy is usually very honest about this, so it will be interesting to hear his perspective, in time.
Of his own volition Andy indicated he was a bit out of practice. Is that any state in which to launch up the Eiger Direct solo in winter? Makes for entertainment, but is it really climbing news?
If an unprepared American took too much gear and was too slow and bailed before the hard climbing, but blogged about it a few times a day, would UKC be so loving? Not likely.
Knowing when to back off is one thing. But knowing when not to begin is sometimes better.
I enjoy Andy's writing, respect his professionalism and drive, hope to hear a lot more from him, and wish him all the best for a safe return home.
> It's a valid question and I'm glad someone finally brought it up amongst all the automatic applause.
Since when have any of us, as climbers, been expected to justify what we do? OK, he's invited media interest so Mick is entiteld to ask the question but equally Andy is entitled to tell him to mind his own business!
In reply to Jimbo W: I really hope he gets down safe - obviously. However, its not shit stirring. personally i think if people wanna solo then they should be truly alone when they do it if he wants company on a climb, whcih is effectively what hes getting by bringing his pda then why not climb it with a partner. I dont like how through his blog hes involving everyone else in the ascent, write about it afterwards, or someone else can if it all goes wrong. It should not be a publicity stunt but something he truly wants to do. Also climbing shouldn't be broadcast live.
Also i dont know if all climbers are conrol freaks, i dont know any who are.
> (In reply to Jimbo W) I really hope he gets down safe - obviously. However, its not shit stirring. personally i think if people wanna solo then they should be truly alone when they do it if he wants company on a climb, whcih is effectively what hes getting by bringing his pda then why not climb it with a partner. I dont like how through his blog hes involving everyone else in the ascent, write about it afterwards, or someone else can if it all goes wrong. It should not be a publicity stunt but something he truly wants to do. Also climbing shouldn't be broadcast live.
> Also i dont know if all climbers are conrol freaks, i dont know any who are.
Surely there is more to soloing than having someone else with you?
Are you saying that if you a climber solo's a short route, with a mate sitting down at the base of the crag or even soloing another route nearby that they are not actually soloing? Since they have company?
If you don't want to read his posts on his blog or twitter, then don't read them - it's like you couldn't avoid reading about it.
In reply to SCC: I just think as soloing is about as selfish as climbing gets. People should feel compelled to update the rest of the world on what they are doing. Its a very personal thing, he should just get on with doing the climb and save some weight by not taking up his phone. Its a win win situation he wouldn't have to pay an extra £2 on saving a gram on the fanciest new crabs and he could concentrate on simply doing the route like Steck does.
Thankfully the climbing world is richly endowed with people who are all very different, have varying aspirations and climb in a variety of styles. How much less would it be if we were all the same?
Andy has provided a unique insight into a style of climbing that is not that commonly practised, especially not on that sort of terrain. That's fine by me.
In reply to AlisonS: I have no problem with people doing all sorts of climbing but it musn't be forgotten that he is not the only person who solos A5 aid routes and big alpine faces. A few others have done them too. Most, in fact no others doing this sort of stuff feel the need to broadcast it live over the internet, it may make a good story afterwards but the whole thing seems voyeuristic and weird. The fact hes made this so public makes criticism acceptable both of the way updating everyone on the internet and the selfishness of it. Get on with the climbing write about i later.
> (In reply to AlisonS) I have no problem with people doing all sorts of climbing but it musn't be forgotten that he is not the only person who solos A5 aid routes and big alpine faces. A few others have done them too.
Silly me. How could I have forgotten that! And there I was taking an interest in the rather different style of climbing that Andy had adopted to most of the others. In future I shall seek your learned advice on what I should and should not find interesting.
Where's the selfishness here. He has a proven record in putting up improbable routes. He has demonstrated a gift in communicating, through his prose, a glimpse of what this involves. We as climbers, and many others, have embraced his writings and pushed them into the best sellers lists. So what's the big deal in utilising a new media option - which weighs ounces - takes minutes to execute, delivers in real time(or close to) and impacts minimally on the physical challenge of the route.
Easier to swallow than some of the other media intensive circuses we have been subjected to previously.
> he's invited media interest so Mick is entiteld to ask the question but equally Andy is entitled to tell him to mind his own business!
I got his book for Christmas which I read very quickly and enjoyed greatly. First climbing book I've read in years besides guidebooks.
It struck me that Andy thinks very seriously about this issue but still has no better idea than the rest of us - its just the seriousness of his endeavors makes the question even more pertinent and hard to answer.
It's hardly in the same league but yesterday I led a route on very thin and narrow ice, which was brittle and delicate because of the cold. I couldn't even get a 12 cm screw in and finished 25 mtrs up with two bulldogs between me and the ground, one might have even worked. In good conditions I've soloed route numerous times, so its hardly like I have anything to prove or were desperate for the tick. I've got little kids who rely on me and lovely wife (well - some of the time and I don't have a clue why I took this completely unnecessary risk beyond ego and knowing I'd be really bored if I didn't.
there's always someone that will piss on someone elses fire, i wonder if joel has ever backed off a route? i know for sure that i have, still i was in no way ridiculed by my peers, more supported by them for making the right decision.
The same should go for anyone who backs off through good judgement, he bailed before any rescue was even thought about, to me that makes him far from selfish.
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
> Bravo on your attempt Andy. Glad you're down safe.
> ps. Your book is fantastic, a real joy to read.
i think the blog is great. makes my bedroom feel all the more cosier knowing andy is sitting on a pebble freezing his nuts off. i wonder how many questions mr kirkpatrick is asking himself know though (i only say cos he always seems to be asking himself questions "did i turn the gas off??).
p.s. seond the book comment. i am really enjoying it.
In reply to marsbar: Theres nothing wrong with it. But if your telling everyone else about what your doing its fair for others to criticise and so for mick to ask the question what the hell he was doing up there is fair enough and not shit stirring. Also comparing the way he goes about these hard solos to the way others do is perfectly acceptable i feel. Im not saying he shouldn't give a commentary on his progress simply that i cannot understand why he does when other do not.
In reply to JoeL 90: You don't understand because you are not him, everyone is different but life would be so boring if we were all the same.
Personally I think something written at the time is likely to be more reliable than something written afterwards simply becuase the mind plays tricks on you and you forget the bad bits and remember only the good. Personally I find Andy's writing and speaking more interesting because it is more human and down to earth, the good with the bad.
As for Micks comments he can ask, I don't have a problem with that. The answer I suspect is something inside that drives some people to do such things, it is not easy to explain, but I took my dad to see Andy speak and he immediately recognised this in him. Its not something that can be put into words easily.
In reply to the inspiral carpet: Ive backed of loads of routes. Sometimes ive been rightly ridiculed for it, other times it was the right descision sometimes ive taken unnecessary risks. It does't really matter in this context as im not ridiculing him for backing off. Arguably setting off solo up the Eiger out of shape and with a family is selfish, now this is usually something which should be left for those involved to talk over. But hes invited the whole f*cking readership of UKC to have their say which unfortunately includes me.
Also im hardly pissing on his fire. There is no fire. He backed off i believe. and has thankfuly returned safely.
In reply to marsbar: Right ill leave you all in peace after this one im getting bored of my own ramblings. Everyone is different yes; it does not mean they are beyond criticism.People have all sorts of weird feelings that drive them to do things it does not mean the things they do are right or acceptable. It was a selfish thing to set off up it. Prove me wrong. Im sure it wont take long but dont respond with loads of truisms, explain why it isn't selfish.
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
> This sort of sh1te stirring is best avoided.
As I said in our Kendal report,
"The hard questions are frequently not asked in our cash-poor and juvenile climbing media, usually at the risk of offending the subject, the subjects' friends, their sponsors and the celebrity obsessed. Put someone on the spot and the assembled throng cries 'foul'; some need their heroes high on a pedestal and they must not be allowed to fall. Consequently all we usually get is nothing we didn't know before and often a pack of lies, which are digested by the gullible and repeated as fact. It is hard these days to distinguish the truth from the hype and the spin."
In reply to Slugain Howff: Fair question. last one now really.
It was a selfish thing to do. Its acceptable to criticise it openly as hes invited everyone to follow his progress. I dont understand why he updates his blog live on these solos while other do not. And finally that is is an odd thing for a guy with a family in his mid thirties to be doing as he is neither single nor socially awkward and so it is difficult to understand his motives for being so selfish.
There ya go 6 lines. kinda makes me think why i couldn't just come out with this in one concise post to begin with then leave it at that eh?
I'm all for free speech and asking difficult questions. It's when people start getting judgmental that it becomes an issue. It seems to me that Andy is pretty mature and confident and hopefully will carry on just being Andy regardless. But others who have been criticised on here appear to have crept into their shell in response and that has been a loss to those of us who were interested, inspired or whatever our unique reaction was. Unfortunately many of them were female. It's amazing anyone who has friends or relatives ever reveals that they've done anything bold at all given the flak they get on here.
Viva the nice, responsible, risk averse society.
I can't explain why it isn't selfish, as I never said it wasn't. It probably is. However its not up to me to say that people shouldn't do selfish things. Its not up to me to judge what is acceptable behaviour in this particular case. I feel for his wife the times she has to wait to see if he is safe or not, but equally I see that if she stopped him going he wouldn't be the man she fell in love with. As I am not his wife I consider the rest of it none of my business to judge.
Andy's judgement seems sound.... otherwise surely all climbers would merit such comments from those living in the cotton wool world.
Also comments to the effect of live one day like a tiger rather than a lifetime like a llama or whatever...
Utter tosh, Andy is reckless for taking on this, the fact that it's all being videoed and blogged would suggest it's partly to do with poor judgement, partly low self esteem, partly greed, partly egotism.
I do many of the things I do for greed, egotism, to boost self esteem etc. but I don't take such a massive gamble on my life for those reasons and certainly not if I had two children who would grow up without a father if I died. Or potentially grow up with a disabled father if I lost extremities to frost bite.
Pure stupidity, but you have to be able to stand back and think to understand that.
>I consider the rest of it none of my business to judge.
We all judge each other and total strangers in an instant every minute of our lives, judgment is communicated in our facial expressions, the tone of our voice or a smart remark. Sometimes judgment comes in the form of dialog, and then it's more constructive and can be shared. that's what shapes society and moulds us into social human beings.
What you and others are really saying is that it is not ok to verbalise judgment, particularly when that is criticism of risk as YOU seem to JUDGE such criticism to be illegitimate, to be born of 'risk aversion' and 'cotton wool society'.
> I do many of the things I do for greed, egotism, to boost self esteem etc. but I don't take such a massive gamble on my life for those reasons and certainly not if I had two children who would grow up without a father if I died. >
> He's connected to the world via his twitter and blog, and with a video camera. Voyeuristic in the extreme.
Is this purposefully ironic or just ignorantly hypocritical?
When you are running a website that prides itself on news reports of "1st ascents before the climbers are back at their car" you can't seriously be complaining about a public climber providing a real-time blog of an multi-day route?
Especially as you then seek out an interview with him about his climb!!
Isn't there some law against trolling on your own site or is that in your job description?
> Still sounds like muck raking, or shit stirring, to me Mike.
That is what I thought when you originally posted, intended saying 'enough', leave it but held back.
Joel 90 is an opinionated teenager who knows little of life so he can be excused but not you.
As you know well, climbing big mountains IS selfish when you have a family, but the wife generally knows what she is getting when she hitches up with her husband, remember Joe Tasker was just the same as his wifes book shows.
In reply to the inspiral carpet: Erm not quite sure i follow your thinking there. Care to explain ideally without using the word nanny state or h&s but i guess thats the very tenous (non-existent) link you were going for? If not i apologise and please enlighten me as im sure it should be a good un!
In reply to Anonymous: I have said nothing about cotton wool society or risk aversion. I am very risk averse personally, but I make my choices as an adult and so do other people. I am not saying that anyone shouldn't verbalise their feelings and I apologise if it came across that way. My view is that individuals make their decisions. I am not into shaping society, I do what I want as long as it doesn't impact on other people. People my decisions impact upon get a say, other people don't.
> Joel 90 is an opinionated teenager who knows little of life so he can be excused but not you.
How do you know they are my opinions. I may just be coming out with overly strong opinions for the entertainment value of reading peoples responses? Also it could be argued that as since i started posting this crap as many more people have posted, if people gain utility from posting (and i certainly find it quite enjoyable) then i am infact helping others feel better through my trolling. Making my posting of nonsense far from a selfish act to keep me from boredom but infact a well thought out plan to spread happiness to others.
Thank you for excusing me anyway. At what age do you think it would no longer be acceptable to post such nonsense?
In reply to the inspiral carpet: By that do you mean youd have to be naive in the ways of the world to support Gordon Brown? if you are leave it for another thread i can only post provocative nonsense on one subject at a time. Please bear with me. If this isn't what you were getting at then sorry but youll have to explain it to me.
> How do you know they are my opinions. I may just be coming out with overly strong opinions for the entertainment value of reading peoples responses?
Ah, cool. So you admit you were trolling to get a reaction? Bully for you. I expect you think you are very clever.
Do you have any idea of the damage that does? People who do bold and inspirational things have genuinely been put off publicizing their achievements because they have been criticized on here by people pissing about like you.
They were sensitive, genuine, likeable people who some like me really wanted to hear more about.
Thanks for nothing!
I disagree with you, we are all into shaping society, whether you are conscious of it or not. We are constantly in communication with each other through our choice of clothes, the speed we drive, whether we stop typing to make eye contact or not when a colleague in the office starts to tell a story, how much we tip a waiter...
All these actions are intended to express our feelings and views and many of them are judgements which are intended to let others know whether we approve or disapprove of their actions and are intended to shape how we want them to behave.
> Do you have any idea of the damage that does? People who do bold and inspirational things have genuinely been put off publicizing their achievements because they have been criticized on here by people pissing about like you.
> They were sensitive, genuine, likeable people who some like me really wanted to hear more about.
> Thanks for nothing!
Please Alison. Don't be so darn sensitive.
Andy's last post..............
January 04, 2009 09:36 AM
At the start of the hard climbing. Due to the deep snow and too much kit I’m totally spent. Got three emails from my son Ewen asking where I am and another from Karen hoping I’m safe. I think a phone a bad idea. As is having people who love you if your going to try stupid shit like this. "
> All these actions are intended to express our feelings and views and many of them are judgements which are intended to let others know whether we approve or disapprove of their actions and are intended to shape how we want them to behave.
Who the hell are we to tell others how they should or should not behave?
Sometimes the need to rage against the machine is more than just an impulse. It's a matter of survival. The survival of the opportunity to live life in intensity.
In reply to Anonymous: I think you think too much. There you got me to judge. Oh and posting anonymously, I judge you for that too. I drive fast and wear whatever is mostly clean, care to judge me? Who cares???
> (In reply to JoeL 90)
> Ah, cool. So you admit you were trolling to get a reaction?
No. i just suggested it may be a possibility, peoples actual opinions dont necessarily need to be the same as what they write on here. Im sorry you take it all so seriously, what can i say? Im obvously quite selfish. Id like to say i wouldn't do it again but that aint probably wont happen unfortunately. I would lke to point out though that the only time iver trolled on threads about climbing are those in which the subject of the thread is someone whos desired publicity. Ran Fiennes, Andy K errm i cant really think of lots more but its never been on a thread about anyone whoes purely going about doing there climbing and just happening to do newsworthy routes.
Judgement is a loaded word anyway. I prefer 'influence', 'self expression', 'debate', it's stuff we all do all the time.
Commenting on Andy is somewhat similar to remarking on the best alpine kit but more philosophical and interesting for it. A comment on his actions should no more be taboo than any other comments on this web site.
> (In reply to AlisonS)
> I very much doubt that you are the sort of person who does not let people know when you are displeased with them and that you wish to alter their behaviour.
People having adventures and living life to the full is not something that is likely to displease me. Especially if they are competent and have assessed the risks wisely and responded to the conditions appropriately.
In reply to AlisonS: I thought it was worth adding firstly as its undoubtably true being a middle class climber, going to university with no job - not exactly making any contribution to society yet taking alot from it. Also just in case anyone though i really did beleive i though i was spreading happiness to those on UKC - i though it best to point out that the posting of such nonsense albeit valid and acceptable nonsense was in fact for my own entertainment and not theirs.
In reply to AlisonS: He bailed before the crux as he got tired. Doesn't seem particlerly well though through. Doesn't displease me either but you can still criticise things which dont displease you.
For example its possible to condemm Gorings decision to commit suicide on the eve of his excecution on religous grounds. However, doubt many people are displeased by his decision.
> (In reply to JoeL 90)
> I think you should just go climbing a lot and have a good time; have loads of adventures and dump this class rubbish.
Yeah maybe for a babyboomer (i dont know how old you are sorry if your not) but it still exists. Ive just started climbing regularly again actually its really good fun not sure why i stopped in the first place, unfortunately im now drawn to these forums and ive already looked at all the great pics and read everyones comments on the routes i want to do. Unfortunately rather than doing something constructive i then resorted to posting on this thread.
> It's when people start getting judgmental that it becomes an issue.
>"And actually a very sensible, well researched and carefully thought out objective for the style of ascent and the risk factors involved."
In YOUR judgement!! So when you judge something to be good, that's OK. But when someone judges the same thing to be bad, that's not OK. Nice one.
ie. "Don't judge me = don't say things about me I don't like". But if what you say is 'nice', well then that's OK. So much for your aversion to the 'cotton wool' society, Alison.
Going unprepared to a notoriously dangerous face, trying to haul a portaledge up a route with too much snow on it (!) and clearly not understanding the psychological and emotional ramifications of having constant phone contact with loved ones during such an attempt does not smack of "sensible ... carefully thought out" etc.
Maybe Andy's ego and ambition got the better of him and, short of new material for next year's shows, he thought "what famously hard thing can I get on - and off - with just a few days free over the hols, then talk engagingly about in my shows as to what a silly man I was to have even tried?". Cue the well-known 'Eiger' brand. He's now garnered much publicity for "attempting the Eiger Direct solo in winter". Mission accomplished!
I know I'm being unfair to Andy here, because he can't argue back to my face, and I wasn't on the Eiger with him, but really I'm just using him here as a case in point, a point about climbers in general, having been stupid, egotistical, deluded and ill-prepared myself on more than a few climbs.
Too many people lionise famous climbers as if their motivations are always pure and righteous, or at the very least, logical. High end climbing is competitive, like it or not. To succeed in competition you need to be selfish, driven to prove something, and maybe a little dumb (so as not to be distracted by imagination or good sense) - no matter your IQ. A lot of what we read in the climbing media is just white lies and self-justification for this unsavoury (ie. basic human) behaviour - behaviour that is accepted, even encouraged, in other pursuits. But climbing is special, right? We don't want to admit our passion is less than pure.
Rational choice theory is bunk, as the current financial mess has proven once again. People are not logical. Famous climbers, like the rest of us, feel insecure about their lives and achievements, or lack thereof. They need to prove their strength to the tribe, like dumb boys. They get greedy. They feel the need to have their lives and choices validated. They care too much what others think. They succumb to the lure of money and, if they're 'lucky', fame. Eventually they get over it and settle for something else.
In other words, they're just like everybody else. To pretend they're not is naive and actually quite damaging to the climbing community. Delusion always is.
In reply to AlisonS: You were passing judgement on the wisdom of choosing a winter solo of the Harlin as an objective. Have you climbed the North face of the eiger, or any ED routes, or any solos of aid routes in winter up 1800m of unstable limestone. Me neither, but i think your naive in the sense that you think you could make a judgement on how sensible the choice of this route was.
Other than people who are simply reporting facts and lets face it few on here have with a some very helpful and noteable exceptions everyone else is posting judgements/opinions dont try and pretent just because you are judging that it was a good idea or Andy K is the best thing since sliced bread and should be PM that it is not a judgement. Judging doesn't just refer to negative judgements about people.
Lets be honest on threads like this most of us have no idea what its like to do hard routes or train hard so all weve got is our ill informed opinions. I think if you didn't post judgements for a week then youd post maybe a twentieth of what you do and i nothing. If you stand by your statement that judgements shouldn't be allowed and act on it yourself then i wont post judgements either.
> If climbing and climbers can't sustain some basic inquiry and criticism (in the full sense, both positive and negative) then maybe we're not as strong as we'd like to think - it smacks of weakness and insecurity.
What on earth makes you think climbers are strong or like to think they are? I think you must be believing your own internal ego hype! Physically in a particular way, well yes. Psychologically or intellectually, not necesarily at all. Climbers tend to be selfish, black and white people, controlling, obsessives (and often compulsives too); lacking in weakness and insecurity because of the strength of their own egos; "strong" only if you think these are positives.
> Of his own volition Andy indicated he was a bit out of practice. Is that any state in which to launch up the Eiger Direct solo in winter? Makes for entertainment, but is it really climbing news?
I think this a question for Mick!
> If an unprepared American took too much gear and was too slow and bailed before the hard climbing, but blogged about it a few times a day, would UKC be so loving? Not likely.
Don't bung UKC's flaws on me!
> Knowing when to back off is one thing. But knowing when not to begin is sometimes better.
Of course! But what you are invoking is a mastery of the self which few of us have and which is a character trait that given I know i'm poor at myself, I don't expect in others. Empathy is usually the best place to start before orientating your criticism.
> It's my job to ask questions. I get paid to do it, and will continue to do so.
Yes.. ..i suppose some people are payed to ask Amy Winehouse a load of questions too (which isn't to equate Amy Winehouse with Andy K!).
> Risk, media attention and family are important topics that should not be ignored - the answers attempt to explain that age old question, why do we climb?
Because we're selfish bastewards who get a kick out of it! There's no mystery there! Anyone who thinks there is is just deluding themselves. The reality is that a Paul Williams could happen to any of us any day - a hold breaks unexpectedly and we fall to our deaths. Or, unknown to us, some numpty above pulls down a ton of rock which makes the helmut we're wearing look like paper. You put yourself in the situation, you increase the probability, however little, of death or morbidity happening to you. Andy knows the situation, as does his wife only to well. And what they have decided between themselves, is precisely thay, between themselves, irrespective of any communication from Andy to the outside world. The fact we are all hypocrits makes us poor candidates for throwing stones. And don't suggest there is a difference between asking a question and making a judgement.. ...these sorts of questions always have answers in mind!
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: I have been reading Andy's book and the blog, as he climbed. In reading about his past experiences the blog resonates more strongly in terms of his motivation for climbing. I don't know him at all but I doubt he would be hurt by anything Mick or anyone else might say or ask on here. He writes extensively about his doubts in his ability, his guilt for his loved ones, his terror and his desperation.
He has always pushed himself beyond his ability, particularly in his early alpine experiences, but with luck and determination he has come through stronger. He has always struggled with leaving loved ones behind and risking his life, but cannot separate his urge to climb from who he is. When he is climbing his thoughts are constantly at home, when he is at home his thoughts are about climbing.
The sheer hard work and exhaustion of climbing and load hauling on a solo attempt is described in detail in his account of Reticent Wall in Yosemite. The mental fatigue and the consequences of even the smallest mistake when in those situations he talks about frankly. He seems constantly to be asking himself 'What am I doing here? I have no right to even consider I am good enough to do this. I should bail out now.' But in his greatest triumphs by total commitment and determination he has succeeded and that brief moment at the top of a climb is the answer to the question 'What am I doing here?' Very shortly after that the self doubt and the dreams of climbs not done, return.
In this climb on the Eiger I think that part of the reason he bailed may have been the texts from his wife and son that bring that guilt and self doubt into real-time as though they are there on the face with him as opposed to the mental turmoil and conflict that goes on in his head in previous climbs. He did say he thought the mobile was a mistake. Of course in thinking this I cannot take account of the conditions up there and it may well be that he would have bailed anyway. That is the question I would ask him. Perhaps you could Mick and let us know.
There seems to be a bit of arguing as to whether soloing the Eiger North Face in winter is a 'good idea' and to me this is rather missing the point. Climbing is, in its very essence, choosing to do things that might be deemed unwise - its just all relative and we pick where we go on the scale of difficulty. For someone like Andy a suitable mental and physical challenge is an attempt like this one, (for me it's probably more like a sketchy VS on an overcast day but that is hardly the main issue...)
Is part of the beauty of mountaineering not testing yourself against things most people would baulk at? I know Andy raises issues himself about how to justify doing dangerous things while your loved ones sit at home and so in that respect I don't think this kind of debate is wrong per se. I do feel a little uncomfortable though with a group of climbers (is that still what we are?) criticising other climbers for doing dangerous routes where the outcome is uncertain. In doing so are we not picking needlessly at beautiful irony (trying to do unsafe things safely) at the very heart of our own sport?
Back on flat the flat again, and I think it’s time to do some explaining, both about the Eiger attempt and how I set about doing it (blog, filming etc), as it’s kicked up quite a lot of interest on various websites - primarily on UKC.
First off lets get one thing clear - I don’t consider rope soloing the Eiger direct any big thing beyond that of a personal goal. It’s been soloed many times before - including a 27 hour winter solo by the legendary Slavko Sveticic - and maybe even another fellow slow rope soloing brit Phil Thornhill (although I’m not 100% sure about that). It’s worth saying this as I can imagine proper climbers (Nick Bullock etc) grumbling that I’m making a big deal of this. Well I’m not, and never intended anyone to imagine this was a big deal (if you tried a second winter solo of the Young Spider it would).
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Excellent. I think he has answered most if not all questions and any criticisms of him openly and honestly. No doubt some will choose to disagree and might even want to come back at some of the things he has said. Nevertheless, for a top climber (although he wouldn't agree) to answer questions from 'anybodies' the day after quitting a route is fantastic.
Its actually a testament to the internet, mobile phones and technology empowering 'us' and making communication more democratic; long may it continue and evolve.
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
> What a swindle?
> "Lost so much much weight I think I'll need to buy some trousers tomorrow"
> So that is what it was all about - a weight loss programme.
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Thanks, I enjoyed reading that.
It's very decent of him to answer the questions people have been raising and I have to agree that the immediacy of the blogging is of interest to a lot of people. If anyone objects to the principal of Andy's blog may I respectfully suggest they don't read it...
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com) Thanks, I enjoyed reading that.
> It's very decent of him to answer the questions people have been raising and I have to agree that the immediacy of the blogging is of interest to a lot of people. If anyone objects to the principal of Andy's blog may I respectfully suggest they don't read it...
Would you know if Andy will be setting dates for his next speaking event, I went on his blog and there was nothing on his upcoming events. I know he has a very hectic schedule, but, has he mentioned anything ?
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: some time ago i said WOW come back safe.
ok so there's some criticism on the forum - all of which andy seems to have answered.
my point is, he's done something more than i have done. if you consider him a "professional" climber, i'd kinda figure that taking what appears to others as a risk is part of the game. (i climb and my non-climbing friends think i'm mad).
ok, so he's used modern technology to keep us updated - the same technology that we all use to read this forum. i enjoyed reading his blogs - if you don't, then don't read them.
we all have choices, some people agree with us, others don't.
but most importantly, he's back safe.
Joey Bag of Doughnuts07 Jan 2009
Hey there my limey numb-nutz,
I really need to check out the British Forums more often. I shudder to think about all the fun I've been missing.
There's nothing wrong with the occasional live-feed alpine climb. Hell, even my uncorrupted, pure-as-the-driven snow countryman Mr. House has taken to making satellite phone calls from basecamp to keep the masses updated on his latest exploits. And remember Alex Lowe's dispatches from Great Trango?
Are there any meaningful differences between those media adventures and Mr. Kirkpatrick's shenanigans? (Other than the obvious fact that House and Lowe occasionally make it to the top of their climbs?) Where does one draw the line between a heart-felt desire to communicate the alpine experience and an attempt to, say... fabricate a false experience?
I must say there is an eery symmetry here between the Eiger attempt and a video I recently saw that featured Andy dragging his kit and video camera up the Torre Valley in terrible winter conditions. There's the obligatory suffering-in-the-bivy shot, and then they press on to the base of the difficulties in a nasty looking windstorm. Just when things start to get REALLY hairy, when the audience might assume that the boys are actually doing some proper climbing, I noticed something peculiar.
"Hmmm," I said to myself. "That doesn't look like Patagonia granite... "
A second later another shot flashed on the screen. "And that... that kind of looks like something on the Augille du Midi."
Those of you who shelled out 10 quid to own the movie, feel free to go grab the remote and check for yourself. Maybe you'll get a refund if you can name the two Euro routes standing in for the business on Exocet. (Think Gully #3 and easy telephrique access)
Anyways... I have no problem with people documenting their climbs however they choose. I just hope that when Andy edits his Eiger movie -- he keeps it to stuff that happened on the Eiger.
I had no idea we were blessed with such a host of talented alpinists on UKC. I hope some of you grizzled old keyboard warrior show Mr Kirkpatrick how it should be done. I'll be looking forward to you updates. Hopefully you'll shun this technological based media whoring and update your progress via a pygmy cleft-stick runner to Alpiglen.
I suppose you have to sacrifice some things in life to be an Extreme Alpinist like Andy Kirkpatrick, the guy is at the top of his game and should be commended not riduculed.
P.s - I like his humor, very funny guy, down to earth ! Seen his talks before.
I think you should leave his personal life out of forums like this, but I`d be the first to defend you`r right to an opinion as Im a bit outspoken at times myself ! ho hum :o
Geez Freddie, you're such a hater! Why can't we all just get along?
You're, like, so negative, brah!
Joey Bag of Doughnuts07 Jan 2009
In reply to Damo: You're absolutely right. Apologies. I just thought it should be part of the public discussion, that somehow a photo of me climbing in Scotland (and another shot of a different Yank in Chamonix) ended up in a movie about Andy climbing in Patagonia. Is that communicating reality? Who would have suspected that occasionally even Andy needs a stunt double? Must have learned about it from Bear Grylls.
I'm sure it was a simple mistake or merely used to convey the 'abstract' drama of winter climbing... But climbing and media is a slippery slope, and I just felt I had to bring it up, in the interest of keeping everybody honest.
Ironically, we've never met but I have the strong sense that Andy and I would get along swell. As he noted on his blog, the people you often clash with the most are frequently the most similar to you....
> "I had no idea we were blessed with such a host of talented alpinists on UKC"
Hehe! Just gets me thinking of all those keyboard-alpinists in their 'mid-life' Merrells and Lidl soft shells. Andy might have bitten off more that he could chew this time? More likely he just wasn't feeling it. Happens to all of us. I wouldn't be the climber I am today if I hadn't failed on many an over-ambitious objective. I can't believe someone gets slated for backing off a route or even worse, attempting a route!! This is the first time I've used UKC for a long time and all the moaning with the odd joke to try and lift the atmosphere reminds me why I've stayed away. "It is not the critic who counts".
It's not always practical to catch up with the people you film in abstract shots, and that's a pity because it's nice to be able to acknowledge them when you can. Why don't you email Andy and let him know that you were his "stunt double?" These forums are not the best place to convey private but helpful information of that sort.
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
nice one mr kirkpatrick. so long as you got what you went for - or didnt and will keep at it, im happy for you.
let all the wankers on the site fight over the ethics and nit-pickings, put words in other mouths and quote from books. never listen to anyone who hasnt been there themselves.
andys at the sharp end, for reasons all his own. i dont doubt hes taken into account aspects of his personal life.
no one has to justify why they do this stuff - and none of us know the minutea.
go hard mate, and may your next trip away be even wilder (in the best possible way)