Andy Kirkpatrick | Andy Fanshawe
11 March 2017

Andy Fanshawe

Andy Fanshawe image

Dear Andy

We haven’t met.

I was one of Andy Fanshawe’s regular climbing partners. It is sadly 25 years since he died next Tuesday 14th March.

I was just doing some research on the net to put some articles together so I could put together some stuff for the anniversary and I found your article about run-outs. I agree with everything you say - needless run outs add up to needless risk. Sadly, Andy always did this sort of thing on relatively easy ground whatever we said to him and as you say the consequences were, tragically, terminal.

Just one thing - the rushing to meet Blue Peter is a complete myth - our meeting with them about our K2 trip was the following day - the Sunday.

That night we were just sitting in the pub in Braemar waiting for him and Ulric long into the evening. I had been on the Dubh Loch that day but backed off in atrocious weather conditions. Andy sadly just ploughed on with Eagle Ridge when, frankly, he should have left it alone. Just like he had that sad day on the Ben when he and John Taylor were avalanched down Five Finger Gully.

A brilliant climber, my best friend, a brilliant bloke but not the best judge of a mountain.

Kindest regards

Mark Dixon

Find out more about Andy at the Andy Fanshawe Trust website (image from scairngormsblog.sais.gov.uk)

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Every generation has something that can crack the reality of a young mind - not all young minds - but young minds strong enough to be able to take the damage and be changed. The age of media, starting I guess with the English translation of the bible (over the Latin one), is where it begins, a rich lineage of books and films coming decade after decade: The Catcher in the Rye, The Wild One, A Clockwork Orange - films and books that once seen or read - if you’re the type of person able to revolt against yourself - lead down a road were there is no going back. For me these films were One Few Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Rumble Fish, both two films that punch so hard into soft reality they take your breath away - well when you’re 15. I was talking to someone in their late 20’s about this sort of earthquake media, stuff that shakes up your brain - coming at a time in life where the mind is on a fault line. He said that for him, the film for his generation was Into the Wild, a film that made him question the path he’d been nudged down all his life. I think Christopher McCandless haunts the lives of many, and that moment of reading Into the Wild, or seeing the film, is another road that cannot be retraced. But I’m sure Christopher - if he had known - that the tragedy of his short life would be composted by celluloid, ink, bits, and from it would sprout such rebellion in the minds of the young - well I’m sure this would have made him smile.

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