Andy Kirkpatrick (climber)

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Andy Kirkpatrick
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Andy Kirkpatrick in Greenland, 2006
Born (1971-04-24) 24 April 1971 (age 46)
Stafford, Staffordshire, England, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Occupation climber, motivational speaker, writer
Known for Big wall climbing in Patagonia, Alaska, Antarctica and the Alps

Andrew Kirkpatrick (born 24 June 1971[citation needed] in Stafford[citation needed], England), is a British mountaineer, author, motivational speaker and monologist. He is best known as a big wall climber, having scaled Yosemite's El Capitan 29 times, including three solo ascents, and two one day ascents, as well as climbing in Patagonia, Alaska, Antarctica and the Alps. He has also crossed Greenland by ski. In 2014 he guided Alex Jones up Moonlight Buttress, Zion National Park, raising £1.9 million for Sport Relief.[1]


Kirkpatrick was born in Stafford, England, in 1971, where his father Pete Kirkpatrick was based with the RAF and received the British Empire Medal for his service to Mountain Safety in 1993.[2] In the years that followed he moved to Sardinia, Windsor, Tywyn and Llanrwst (North Wales).[citation needed] At the age of six his parents divorced and Kirkpatrick, together with his brother Robin and sister Joanne, moved with their mother to Hull,[citation needed] where he lived until he moved to London aged 19. Much of Kirkpatrick's climbing writing reflects on this period of his life, and in his book Psychovertical he wonders whether moving from North Wales – with its mountains and beaches – had more of an effect on him than the separation of his parents.[citation needed]

Film, TV and radio[edit]

Kirkpatrick has worked in film and TV as a safety advisor and stunt rigger, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,[3] as well as in programs for CBBC, ITN, BBC and BBC Scotland.[4] The BBC program "The Big Climb" about his ascent of El Capitan[5] with his 13-year-old daughter Ella won multiple awards.[6] In 2014, he guided the TV presenter Alex Jones up the Moonlight Buttress in Zion National Park in order to raise money for Sports Relief, raising £1.9 million. In 2014, Kirkpatrick gave a fifteen-minute talk on BBC radio 4 in its Four Thought slot on the subject of the importance of risky play for children.[7] In January 2015, he followed the route of the heroes of telemark on the Hardangervidda by ski with his two children for a BBC film on risky play.[8]


Kirkpatrick's dyslexia is well documented,[9] and these struggles form part of his first book Psychovertical.

Kirkpatrick is only the third person to win the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature twice (Paul Pritchard and Jim Perrin being the other authors to win twice).[10] His first win was with his first book, Psychovertical in 2008[11] and his second with his book, Cold Wars: Climbing the fine line between risk and reality.[12]

Psychovertical has been translated into German (published in 2010 as Psychovertikal by AS Verlag), Polish, Italian and Korean.[citation needed] The Italian version was published in 2011 as Psychovertical by Edizioni Versante Sud and in 2012 won the literary prize Gambrinus "Giuseppe Mazzotti".[13] It is also published in French.



External links[edit]