Unknown Pleasures

“Stories that will terrify, stories that will make you chuckle, and stories that will make you confused, angry or even make you cry.” Collected writing on life, death, climbing and everything in between.

Hardcopy

£24/$29.25

An old school printed book.

Digital

£10.44

ePUB & Amazon Kindle.

Apple iBook

£10.99

Read on Apple iBooks.

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.

Book Details & other formats

ISBN-10: 978-1-911342-72-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-911342-72-4
Publisher: VP Publishing
Pages: 256
Amazon Kindle iBooks

Review

The first Andy Kirkpatrick book I read was ‘Psychovertical’ (winner of 2008 Boardman Tasker Award) where I found it strange that so much emphasis was given to aid climbing, and then ‘Cold Wars’ (winner of 2012 Boardman Tasker Award) which concentrated on only a short period of Andy’s career. The first attempted to answer the question: Why do we climb? and the second asked: What is the price? These left an autobiographical gap that is now filled by ‘Unknown Pleasures’ referring to his evolving beliefs, raising questions about his limitations, and acknowledging feelings about being at the edge of himself.

Andy Kirkpatrick is an accomplished, world leading, obsessive climber who thrives on difficult and demanding routes, and as a natural raconteur he has made a name for himself being an entertaining and inspirational speaker, and an analytical commentator on many matters. The sub-title of ‘Unknown Pleasures’ says it all: ‘Collected Writing On Life, Death, Climbing and Everything In Between’. The book is made up of thirty-two entertaining, exciting and enlightening anecdotal pieces, interspersed with three musings Andy describes as ‘Bad Poetry’. Andy confesses to his restricted education and to diagnosis of dyslexia, yet his writing style is raw and full of humour. He acknowledges he doesn’t know much about grammar, but this is compensated by an ability to draw and his writings are supported by his own excellent graphic black and white sketches. In addition there is an introspective epilogue with decidedly unique insights, and there are helpful ‘Notes’ presenting background to Andy’s accounts, and providing a revealing study of the man.

Andy Kirkpatrick is renowned for enduring epic winter climbs and for tackling big walls, but perhaps the extent of such activities is not fully appreciated. It is not easy to link Andy’s survival of freezing bivouacs to pleasure, yet numerous instances of repeated attempts on the likes of the Eiger or the Dru are embraced by ‘Unknown Pleasures’. Also it may come as a surprise to some readers just how much big wall climbing Andy has experienced. In a particularly nerve wracking courting of disaster in ‘Edge of Myself’ he climbs a route that at the time was his thirty-fourth route up El Captain! It is not practicable to comment in detail in a review of collected writings but it should be noted, as with other of his accounts, that Andy did this solo. A further matter of note is Andy’s choice of climbing companions, where often he climbs with novices, combines with non-climbers, or takes a TV personality, or his thirteen years old daughter up El Cap! His rewards from climbing are not merely from risky achievements; they seem to intensify by creating difficulties for himself, and certainly this makes good reading.

However ‘Unknown’ Pleasures’ is not just a collection of tales for climbers. Andy expands from the book’s main section on climbing to recount various stories, homilies, myths and dreams with regard to relationships, propaganda, news, internet and the like, and he incorporates subjects including death, war, conflict, helplessness and disobedience. From embracing family and personalities with commentaries on many issues Andy ends with an epilogue: ‘What I’ve Learned’, where he exposes his principles, attitudes and thoughts, ranging across the likes of hopes, beliefs, honesty, love, happiness, anger and fear. Always Andy writes with frankness, and he displays a knack of addressing non-climbers to pull them, along with climbers, into his world of risk-taking and to share moments of doubt, together with extending limits and discovering pleasures. I award a 5-star rating for ‘Unknown Pleasures’, and I wish Andy Kirkpatrick all the best for a third Boardman Tasker Award.

D. Elliot

Unknown Pleasures

“Stories that will terrify, stories that will make you chuckle, and stories that will make you confused, angry or even make you cry.” Collected writing on life, death, climbing and everything in between.

Learn More
Hardcopy

£24/$29.25

An old school printed book.

Digital

£10.44

ePUB & Amazon Kindle.

Apple iBook

£10.99

Read on Apple iBooks.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Do you want to climb a big wall, wake with a start in the dark clipped to a ledge the size of a dustbin lid?
Do you have dreams of nailing pin scar cracks a kilometre up, or maybe hand jamming your way to victory?
Have you read other books, watched endless videos, asked around but still don’t have a bloody clue how to go about it?
Yes you can climb 5.12 but you’ve been shut down by hauling?
Maybe you’ve never even set foot on a big wall because the weight of questions cannot be resolved, even though you’ve read all the books.
If only there was a way to long jump some of that learning curve….

Learn More
Hardcopy

£41/$55

An old school printed book.

Digital

£40.00

ePUB & Amazon Kindle.

Psychovertikal

Die Biografie eines Extremkletterers - und eine grosse Liebesgeschichte: Vom Rand der Gesellschaft in die Randzonen am Berg. Andy Kirkpatricks Biografie erzählt literarisch brillant von seinem extremen Lebensweg, seinen Abenteuern auf den schwierigsten Technorouten der Welt, von seinem Ringen um die Sprache und von der Schwierigkeit, seine Passion und sein Familienleben zu vereinen. Ein unerhört hartes und zartes Buch. Den Rahmen bildet Andy Kirkpatricks Solodurchsteigung der ‘Reticent Wall’, einer der schwierigsten Technorouten am El Capitan im Yosemite Valley. Doch ‘Psychovertikal’ ist mehr als die atemberaubende Schilderung einer Kletterei auf Messers Schneide - es ist die Geschichte einer Selbstfindung auf einem extremen Lebensweg. Sympathisch, ehrlich, intim und glaubwürdig erzählt Andy von seinem Kampf um einen Platz im Leben und um den nächsten Meter Fels.

Learn More
Hardcopy

£25

An old school printed book.

Digital

£16.99

ePUB & Amazon Kindle.

Kalte Kriege

Mit Cold Wars legt Kirkpatrick nach. Schonungslos und offen rechnet er mit sich und dem Bergsteigen ab. Im Zentrum steht die Schattenseite der leuchtenden Gipfel und grossen Abenteuer: Der immense Preis, der fu776;r das Leben als Extremer zu bezahlen ist als Vater, als Ehemann, als Mensch. Denn auf den wochenlangen Trips zu extremen Routen verlassen ihn die Gedanken nie, dass er die Familie verraet, den Kindern weh tut, sich vielleicht auch ins Verderben stuerzt. Warum er es nicht laesst auch davon handelt das Buch. Die Antwort heisst: atemberaubende Kletterabenteuer, unvergessliche Momente am Berg, Freundschaft. Sprachlich hat sich Kirkpatrick seit “Psychovertikal” weiterentwickelt. Seine Texte sind nichts fu776;r schwache Nerven, sie begeistern, packen, schockieren, stimmen nachdenklich. Lachen und Weinen geben sich die Hand, auch Humor und Philosophie. Die große Buehne für das Leben sind die Berge, und Kirkpatricks Erzaehlungen seiner Abenteuer gehoeren zum Besten und Ehrlichsten, was die derzeitige Alpinliteratur zu bieten hat. Ob es die Schilderung des Beinahe-Erfrierens in einem Haengebiwak an einer winterlichen Wand in Patagonien ist oder der Feuereifer des Ringens in einem der schwierigsten Bigwalls der Alpen: die Worte fuehren in eine Welt jenseits der Felsen, in die von Wollen und Scheitern, Halten und Lassen, vom Glueck der Gipfel und der Angst, nie mehr wiederzukehren, seinen Sohn und seine Tochter nie wieder zu sehen. Und so kommt es, dass zwischen den Bergtexten Erzählungen des Alltags stehen: Ausfluege mit den Kindern, ein Fahrradunfall, Weihnachten. Dass auch dort mehr improvisiert als geplant wird und alles anders kommt als gedacht, ahnt jeder, der Kirkpatrick kennen gelernt hat. So viel Persoenliches hat man zwischen Fels und Mensch selten gespürt.

Learn More
Hardcopy

€29

An old school printed book.

Me, Myself & I

Me, Myself & I - the forbidden dark art of roped soloing, for climbers who either need to know in order to make the ultimate climb come true, or those who just like technique ‘nerdiness’.

Learn More
Hardcopy

£30

An old school printed book.

Apple iBook

$39

Read on Apple iBooks.

PDF

£30

Read on anything.

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.

Learn More
Apple iBook

Read on Apple iBooks.

PDF

Read on anything.

Aid Basics

Want to know how to carry out aid or artificial climbing? This book sets out the basics, including gear, setup and the basic technique that will work on most climbs.

This book, like most of my instructional books, tries to cut down the information to just what you need to know, and is not padded out with stuff you don’t. If you judge a book by its word count then I’m afraid this book will disappoint. This is not an essay of all aspects of big wall or aid climbing, but simply the best way to get from A to B for the leader. This book does not cover belays, jumaring or hauling (these are covered in other books) - just getting from A to B.

Learn More
Apple iBook

Read on Apple iBooks.

PDF

Read on anything.

1000+ Tips for Climbers

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.

Learn More
Hardcopy

£19.99

An old school printed book.

Digital

£11.27

ePUB & Amazon Kindle.

Apple iBook

£19.99

Read on Apple iBooks.

Cold Wars

‘I was aware that I was cold – beyond cold. I was a lump of meat left for too long in a freezer, a body trapped beneath the ice, sinking down into the dark.
‘I was freezing to death.’

Learn More
Hardcopy

£13

An old school printed book.

Digital

£8.54

ePUB & Amazon Kindle.

Apple iBook

£13

Read on Apple iBooks.

Psychovertical

“Metro” magazine recently wrote that Andy Kirkpatrick makes Ray Mears look like Paris Hilton. Words like boldness, adventure and risk were surely coined especially for him. As one of the world’s most accomplished mountaineers and big-wall climbers, he goes vertically where other climbers (to say nothing of the general public) fear to tread. For the first time, this cult hero of vertical rock has written a book, in which his thirteen-day ascent of Reticent Wall on El Capitan in California - the hardest big-wall climb ever soloed by a Briton - frames a challenging autobiography. From childhood on a grim inner-city housing estate in Hull, the story moves through horrific encounters and unique athletic achievements at the extremes of the earth. As he writes, ‘Climbs like this make no sense ...the chances of dying on the route are high’. Yet Andy, in his thirties with young children, has everything to live for. This is the paradox at the heart of the story. This book - by turns gut-wrenching, entertaining and challenging - appeals to the adventurer in all of us.”

Learn More
Hardcopy

£9

An old school printed book.

Digital

£7.99

ePUB & Amazon Kindle.