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4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  338 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
One of the world’s most accomplished mountaineers and big-wall climbers tells of his thirteen-day ascent of Reticent Wall on El Capitan in California. His account frames a challenging autobiography, by turns hilarious and gut-wrenching.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 7th 2008 by Hutchinson
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Nov 06, 2013 Ignacio rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved LOVED this book. No mystical stories, just pure honesty. I felt identified with many things he mentioned about climbing. A great read!
Sarah Sharps
Apr 01, 2015 Sarah Sharps rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this down. Andys writing style was very easy to read and kept me gripped all the way. A must if you're into climbing and mountaineering. Might just give you a taste for winter or big wall climbing!
Amar Pai
Apr 03, 2015 Amar Pai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He makes alpine climbing sound so unpleasant! A lot of self inflicted misery. Oddly compelling. He knows he's crazy.
Michael Hilton
Aug 25, 2012 Michael Hilton rated it it was amazing
If you are into climbing this is a must read!
Sep 27, 2012 Carina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a spontaneous purchase but one that I for once did not regret. The book is written by Andrew Kirkpatrick, a climber and inspiration to many aspiring climbers out there.

Andrew Kirkpatrick writes about the perilous journey of soloing the Reticent Wall of the El Capitan in California, a task that seems impossible both for the reader, and himself. His book starts off as he is about to leave, the pleas of his wife heavy on his mind and the climb ahead rushing through his mind like a drug. A
Victor Germano
Oct 07, 2013 Victor Germano rated it it was amazing
That's a letter I sent to Andy and a 1-on-1 feedback:

Thank you for your book!
Hello Andrew.
I came across PsychoVertical after looking for tips on rope soloing (only a crazy sexy idea at the time, but getting more and more my attention).
I'm brazilian, 30years old and I've been climbing for 2,5 years now.
What first started as a way to fight my big fear of heights, now has been a big part of my life, filling up my weekends away from work and gym hours during week.
I've become quite obsessive about
Mar 18, 2012 Tina rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
I don't deny that Andy Kirkpatrick is a very accomplished climber and I admire someone with dyslexia going through the effort of publishing a book.
However, having read my share of books written by sport climbers and mountaineers, I admit I was dissappointed by this one. The author comes across as self-obsessed and so hungry for attention that it borders on a psychological condition. He seems to boast with the fact that he talked less experienced climbers into life-threatening expeditions. Not f
Rory Armstrong
Dec 26, 2015 Rory Armstrong rated it really liked it
Climbing's MacBeth. In his books, Andy Kirkpatrick tells us about his many (mis-)adventures to the Alps, Patagonia, and Yosemite valley. He laces his climb of the Recient wall on El Capitan in Yosemite valley throughout the stories. Throughout the entire book, there is the recurring theme of his marriage and children, about whether he is doing the right thing or not. This is quite interesting as I'm sure any obsessive of anything (but climbers especially) would have to go through these thoughts ...more
Alex Rogers
Jun 10, 2016 Alex Rogers rated it liked it
I read this again this week - and would give it 4 stars, if it werent for the irritating way the author has chopped the book up into a number of stories, done concurrently, in succeeding paragraphs. This is a device that can work - and does work for the main story of his climb of the Reticent Wall, interspersed with historical and biographical flashbacks. Buu then those flashbacks are in turn interspersed with other flashbacks, and them with more, and it all spirals out of control.

Apart from th
Reko Ukko
Dec 29, 2014 Reko Ukko rated it it was amazing
"Each pitch had been at the very limit of what was possible, connecting up minute and fragile features, stretching the rope out in order to drill the least number of bolts. This meant that huge falls threatened on most pitches, with many other dangers lurking. It was said that if you fell, you died. It was 'Pringles' climbing: once you pop you don't stop."

Andy Kirkpatrick's seminal book is worthy of all the praise and awards. Masterfully written, combining a timeline of hair-raising climbs, mult
Nov 13, 2010 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
I enjoy the odd climbing book, and I enjoyed this, as a climber reflects on his previous adventures while making a solo ascent of The Reticent Wall on El Capitain in Yosemite. There was quite a lot of the "Why do I put myself through this?" Bonetti type meanderings as the story progressed, with the author constantly bemoaning how he hates being away from the wife and kid while it seems he lives to be away from the wife and kid. He never manages. despite the introspection, to get anywhere near ...more
Jan 25, 2014 Nicholas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the story of survival...the survival of a narrative that could easily have become a boring repetitive and technical account of an ascent of El Capitan's Reticent wall.
What you get is an interesting personal and professional biography interspersed with a pitch by pitch account of his 14 day solo attempt of a big wall climb.The author gives a penetrative insight into the mindset of a man and his struggle to comprehend and justify his addiction to suffering untold horrors for no obvious r
Oct 12, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it
Andy Kirkpatrick's book has been highly praised and rightly so. It is well written, and he is especially thoughtful when considering the clash of interests that being a climber and a father brings. He also writes in an interesting way on his climbing exploits, which certainly push the boundaries of what is possible. I give you just one example: "It was said that if you fell, you died. It was 'Pringles' climbing: once you pop you don't stop."

Jan 14, 2011 Marco rated it it was amazing
Really good book, I really enjoined reading it. It was quite good time I did not have a reading about climbing so real and vivid as Kirkpatrick one.
It talk about climbing, but with British humor, strong words and boldness without compromise. I can compare this lecture only with Mark Twaight Kiss or Kill: Confessions of a Serial Climber or just few other ... You start to read it and after finished the first page you will shut the light once you finished the last page of the book.
Zannah Reed
Jun 07, 2010 Zannah Reed rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
I've taken a bit of a break from mountain lit, a two year break. Psychovertical was the perfect book to respark my interest in beardy men and their tales. AKp is personable, entertaining and descriptive. I really didn't want my time in his story to end, knowing he hasn't written another, so I didn't finish the last twelve pages for a while. I so look forward to more work by Andy.
Zabetta Camilleri
Oct 16, 2011 Zabetta Camilleri rated it it was amazing
Brillaint. Considering I never climbed more than a few flights of steps, I thought I would not get this book. In reality I loved it, loved it so much I had to pace myself reading it. Here is a normal individual doing extraordinary stuff, really extraordinary stuff just because he has the strength to fight fear. Very inspirational. Tx Rob
Sep 15, 2013 Jan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
The author's climbing adventures make compelling reading. He is a CRAZY man! He is very fortunate to be alive.... I plan to look for him via the Internet to see what (the heck!) he's doing now. Hopefully he has less of a death wish haunting his middle age!
Sep 23, 2010 Lisa_woo rated it really liked it
Brave or crazy? solo climbing el cap. Some hysterical moments in the book.

Amazing what some people can achieve through sheer strength of will. See him talk in person too, very entertaining and funny writer
Jun 24, 2012 David rated it really liked it
Very introspective look at a man who can justifiably be called an extremist. Brilliant tales of adventure shot through with or perhaps driven by, self pity. This is, in that sense, one of the most true to life adventure autobiographies I have read.
Jan 24, 2013 Rob rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mountaineering
Fitting title. Andy needs epics to feel alive. Makes for a good read. I found the struggle to balance family and climbing especially relevant.
Mark Bell
Jun 04, 2011 Mark Bell rated it it was amazing
Really gripping read. Some real knife edge moments mixed with a healthy dose of humour and a less healthy dose of self doubt.
Kevin Earls
Started a little slow with Andy detailing how he grew up. But your patience is rewarded in the latter half of the story.
James Mead
It jumps around a lot chronologically, but I did enjoy it. The guilt about being away from his family gets a bit repetitive, but is understandable.
David Douglas
Jan 02, 2015 David Douglas rated it liked it
Good read. Tends to exaggerate the danger, but the book is aimed at general public rather than specifically for climbers.
Jan 13, 2011 ChristinaJL rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mountaineering
As a climber, I really enjoyed this book. It's funny, down-to-earth and really gives a great idea of what it's like to climb a big wall.
Pio rated it really liked it
Sep 03, 2015
William Haigney
William Haigney rated it it was amazing
Oct 11, 2015
Sam rated it it was amazing
Feb 01, 2013
Eric Carter
Eric Carter rated it it was amazing
Aug 19, 2016
Elena rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2016
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“I came to win, came as I always do, in order to justify who I am and what I have become; now I don't even know what that is. The rot inside me, the cancer of desire, feels unbearable, now it knows it won't be sated. There's a malignant discontent in there, and without a climb there will be no peace. When - if - I pass over to normal life I know I will drag this feeling with me.” 3 likes
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