1,001 Climbing Tips - Andy Kirkpatrick
1,001 tips on anything has to be a pretty tall order. 1,001 tips on a niche activity like climbing must be virtually impossible. Not so if you have the mind of Andy Kirkpatrick. I checked out this book, a new offering from Vertebrate Publishing, with low expectations. I should have known better!
First of all it's really quite nice to look at and to hold and feel. In a world where we are increasingly turning to Apps and electronic devices for reference it's nice to see a marriage between two creative power houses like Andy and Vertebrate. It's bigger than a guidebook, but not a fully fledged coffee table tome. The striking front cover is a black and white photo of a cam in a crack, but the cam's green colour is shown, and it's wedged into the crack with a paperback. The title of the book is cut out of the photo, the solid yellow colour of the first page giving a 3D feel, with the author's name subtly there, but not in your face. It's very nicely done and sets the tone for the rest of the book.
There's a brief introduction, a couple of pages of acknowledgements, and then it’s straight into the tips. They're numbered, and also categorised so you can go looking for a particular subject, or go back and find something that you remember having read in the past. Andy is a very good photographer and uses his photos to good effect sometimes illustrating a point, other times just jazzing up the book.
I asked Andy how long it had taken him to come up with the tips, expecting him to have been compiling them in a notepad for most of his climbing life. Of course his answer was entirely the opposite. He said that he'd written most of it in a week. That actually belies the man's genius as he's obviously been compiling them over the course of his climbing career, but doing so mentally, and was able to simply sit down one week and put them down in a structured way. I suspect that Vertebrate had a lot to do with the finished article. Either way, it's a very good Christmas present that would be appreciated by literally any climber.
It retails at £25. Buy it, read it, commit some of them to memory, and I've no doubt whatsoever that you'll save the £25 many times over!
The book is shortlisted for the Banff Mountain Festival book prize. I hope it does well. It deserves to.
You can buy the book at the Vertebrate Publishing website.
You can also check out Andy's website and follow him here.