Customer Reviews


60 Reviews
5 star:
 (46)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychovertical
Pyschovertical is a an ambitious debut for Andy K, attempting to interweave autobiography with descriptions of alpine and big-wall climbing while presenting a honest explanation of his deep seated compulsive reliance on undertaking these stupendously dangerous expeditions. The book is at its best in the terse descriptions of climbing specific pitches on his deranged solo...
Published on 8 Oct 2008 by S. J. Ebbens

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars extreme
This book has won the Boardman Tasker prize so must be well rated. Personally, I really enjoyed parts but the extreme climbing and constant referral to near death, extreme experiences, though no doubt true, began to drain and I skipped to the end from about two thirds way through. There really is only so much material that can be drawn from yet another ferocious storm and...
Published on 21 Nov 2010 by La Colyn


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychovertical, 8 Oct 2008
By 
S. J. Ebbens (Bradwell, Derbyshire, England, The World, The Universe ...) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Psychovertical (Hardcover)
Pyschovertical is a an ambitious debut for Andy K, attempting to interweave autobiography with descriptions of alpine and big-wall climbing while presenting a honest explanation of his deep seated compulsive reliance on undertaking these stupendously dangerous expeditions. The book is at its best in the terse descriptions of climbing specific pitches on his deranged solo of the Reticent wall, which form a broken narrative running throughout the book. These passages are so vividly sketched that I feel I know how it feels to leave the safety of a ledge half way up El Cap and commit to hanging your body weight from friable wafer thin flakes, expecting a sudden fatal fall to the valley thousands of feet below. This backbone is interspersed with more fully fleshed out descriptions of Andys' climbs, many solo, in the Alps, Patagonia and other Yosemite walls. Each of these chapters is raised above the genres ubiquitous plodding trip reports by laugh out loud black humour, and the clever use of split narratives. An example of the humour is found in two photo captions, the first of Andy eating gruel from a pan captioned; "Alpinists are only in it for the food and the sex"; the second, of Andy lying next to his nervous looking climbing partner; "By day 5 the food had run out". Surprisingly, given the quality of some of Andys' photos on the web, the two photomontage insets are a little disappointing. Many of the portraits convey the extremes of fatigue that Andy and his climbing partners endure, but the small image size and cluttered layout masks their impact, you want to be able to clearly see the blood shot eyes and battered bodies for the message to sink home. A better example is the back-piece illustration where the sun-blistered skin on Andy's arms as he looks down on the meadows below El Cap speaks volumes.

The book is highly readable, with the down-to earth raw prose matching the themes; a stark contrast to the wordy and overtly metaphysical writing of Joe Simpson. However I found the early autobiographical sections comparatively tough going. For example, Andy's character study of his mother revolves around her repetitive use of clichéd phrases, which seemed a bit naff compared to the detail he achieves later in the book.

It should be noted that this book partly draws on a series of previously self-web-published short stories and this origin is occasionaly apparent with places and events being repeatedly introduced in subsequent chapters without cross-reference. However, already having read this orginial web-material does not greatly detract or diminish the overall effect of the book.

In conclusion, the book is a great read and I would recommend it to anyone with slightest interest in the subject matter, and for many climbers it could well be the start of a path towards big walling adventures of their own.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychovertical - Brilliant, 14 Sep 2008
By 
T. Maud - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Psychovertical (Hardcover)
The book illustrates the capabilities and determination of a person from an ordinary background that has a vision and a will to do something not for the glory but to give meaning to their life.
The climbing represents a metaphor for the struggle in overcoming family break up, dyslexia and the choices made as a husband and father.
This struggle is communicated in a way that will have you crying half way through a paragraph only to find yourself laughing as you reach the end of it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reticent and Revealing, 27 Nov 2008
By 
D. Elliott (Ulverston, Cumbria) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Psychovertical (Hardcover)
Though far from conventional it is pleasing, after a couple of years with conceptual winners, to have the 2008 Boardman Tasker Award presented to an uncomplicated climbing book telling terrifying tales of epics in the mountains. `Psychovertical' is a welcome addition to the ever expanding legacy of literature left by leading climbers. It is a gripping read with perhaps the only disappointment being its high proportion coverage of aid climbing.

Andy Kirkpatrick covers what is expected in an autobiography, embracing literally his birth in 1971, his deprived childhood, his early climbs initially with more failures than successes, and some of his world class exploits in the Alps and Patagonia, and particularly in Yosemite - all with continuing failures amongst many magnificent achievements. Difficulties when growing up were not helped by dyslexia not being addressed until Andy's schooldays were over; yet within a few years he set himself to write a story on his first escapades. He aspired to match the quality of writings by the likes of Joe Simpson and Jim Perrin - he hasn't! However Andy Kirkpatrick seems able to inveigle readers into sharing his moments of doubt - but then to support his `up-or-off' commitment as positive rather than recognise anything as insane or suicidal. Though his raw writing style may be limited and his storyline includes minor mistakes and some repetition, Andy Kirkpatrick's descriptions are graphic, his sense of humour shines through, his mood is self-effacing, and any shortcomings are offset by an innovative approach.

As an author Andy interweaves sections of `my life' with `my climbs', and within these he uses italics to insert queries, to construct commentaries, to deliver homilies, and to direct the reader to specific issues. Also interspersed are references to family, particularly to his wife's fears - readers may ponder how `psycho' climbers choose to risk their own necks but it is relatives and friends who are left to grieve. His unusual intertwining technique continues with an ongoing chronicle serialising a frightening solo ascent of Reticent Wall on El Capitan - then reckoned to be the most difficult and dangerous route ever soloed by a British climber. Reticent Wall is at the heart of `Psychovertical' and if individual parts of the ascent had been delivered together the story may have been somewhat tedious, but slipped cleverly into the narrative it adds vigour and becomes alive. The book is further animated by introduction of hand drawn topos for various pitches - a flip side of Andy's dyslexia is an ability to draw, and in addition to customary blocks of colour photographs his delightful black and white sketches are scattered throughout to identify mountains/routes and to explain gear/techniques.

Andy Kirkpatrick has survived and evolved to become one of Britain's top mountaineers with emphasis on wild big-wall climbing, yet he admits to "a scary and fraught learning curve". `Psychovertical' confirms he is lucky to be alive. It reveals an urge to extend his limits, but on many occasions this means courting disaster as he exhibits a form of blind confidence and he deliberately punches above his weight. But Andy's book is not just a jumble of hair-raising accounts, it is an open and conscientious assessment of what his climbing is about and what drives him on to break barriers and to grasp for greater and greater rewards. From start to finish `Psychovertical' is an inspiring and thrilling read - but even so some readers may feel relief when he tops out from Reticent Wall.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a way, 26 Mar 2012
This review is from: Psychovertical (Paperback)
I'd been wanting to read this book for quite some time, but haven't because I didn't want to be disappointed following such high praise. I wasn't!

For someone who really didn't have a very good start in life Andy Kirkpatrick has gone on to do some amazing things - not just climbing, but also writing such a compelling book. I gather he's good on the lecture circuit too. Now on to Cold Wars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biased, 25 Aug 2009
By 
This review is from: Psychovertical (Paperback)
I climb, i read this in a day, i recommended it to a friend who didn't climb,they didn't enjoy it, Andy Kirkpatrick is a climber, he will always be a climber...this book looks into that psyche & at times it terrified me, a man of many abilities, three of which are climbing, writing & placing himself in ridiculously dangerous situations........a lovable nutter.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 23 Oct 2008
By 
This review is from: Psychovertical (Hardcover)
If you are a fan of mountaineering literature, especially writers of the class of Simpson, Krakauer or Mark Jenkins, then you will enjoy this. Kirkpatrick successfully manages to convey both the thrill and the terror of climbing, in an easily accessible style. As noted in other reviews, some parts of this have been published before, but that should not deter you from getting hold of a copy. Kirkpatrick comes across as a highly driven individual, but also one with whom you would want to share a pint or two down the local, after a long day in the hills. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PSYCHOVERTICAL, 5 Oct 2008
By 
Kevin Shields (Ayrshire Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Psychovertical (Hardcover)
One of the best climbing books ever written, dealing not simply with climbing but the complex emotions stirred up by risk.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you'd expect from Andy's site, and more..., 24 Sep 2008
By 
P. Duggan - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Psychovertical (Hardcover)
Since Andy Kirkpatrick's Psychovertical website has long been one of the best and most entertaining sources of information about climbing gear and techniques, my expectations of this first book were high and I'm pleased to say that it lives up to them (and even surpasses them) in every respect.

First and foremost, it's a cracking read, and difficult to put down. But it's also beautifully structured, with the alternating narratives of autobiography and Reticent Wall ascent constantly illuminating each other. To mention a couple of more detailed points (what you might call sub-structure as opposed to this main alternating framework), I found myself particularly struck by his effective use of italicised text to communicate his thoughts from the time and skillful deployment of very short sentences and lines in places to influence his readers' rhythm (perhaps most memorably in the passage describing his reaction to the birth of his daughter).

It's also obvious that he's been working with a good editor to eliminate the typos that feature (quite endearingly) in his website writings, on which note it would be remiss not to observe that the book includes a moving account of his dyslexia, its diagnosis and his subsequent quest to make it as a climbing writer.

All in all, highly recommended!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, 9 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Psychovertical (Kindle Edition)
This was my first read on big wall climbing, and after reading, it certainly won't be my last! Superbly written and covering a nice cross section of climbing, from gritstone to alpine to big wall. Well worth a read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 24 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Psychovertical (Paperback)
have seen Andy Kirkpatrick give a talk
Very funny, very down to earth and very human
Really well writen and inspirational
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Psychovertical
Psychovertical by Andy Kirkpatrick (Paperback - 7 May 2009)
6.29
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews