Published: 07/03/2014 16:37 - Updated: 07/03/2014 17:01

"Stand-up climber" makes comedy of extremes

Look closely and you'll find Andy Kirkpatrick scaling a mountain in Antarctica's Queen Land.
Look closely and you'll find Andy Kirkpatrick scaling a mountain in Antarctica's Queen Land.

IT seems "inappropriate climbing" runs in the Kirkpatrick family.

That is the title mountain man Andy Kirkpatrick has chosen for his latest tour and one he has his son to thank for.

"The start of the show is a photo of me on the top of this super-extreme mountain," said Kirkpatrick. "Then I talk about my son being diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and the psychiatrist saying that one of the criteria is ‘inappropriate climbing’. That’s where the title comes from."

Daughter Ella joined her dad at work for what could be argued was some "inappropriate climbing" of her own, scaling 3000 foot El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park.

"I speak about a lot of trips in the show, but that one really resonates with people," Kirkpatrick said.

"People always asked me: ‘When are you going to climb El Cap with your daughter?’ I’d always say ‘not until she’s 13’ as a joke because the youngest person to climb El Cap was 13."

And that is what she did, making her the youngest girl to climb the mountain with her progress filmed by the BBC for its CBBC series My Life.

"I’m surprised I didn’t get more criticism about climbing El Cap with her," Kirkpatrick admitted.

"When people watch the film and see Ella hanging in space, they do get a bit freaked out thinking about themselves doing it, but she was totally safe and she had some highly experienced people looking after her.

"The rewards far outweighed the risk. Her development as a person was massively accelerated by the experience."

Soon to be seen guiding One Show presenter and novice climber Alex Jones up 1,200ft Moonlight Buttress in Utah's Zion National Park, Kirkpatrick hasd recently returned from filming in Antarctica.

Yet it seems to be civilization that he is finding harder to deal with.

"In Antarctica, I was the alpha-male in a way because I had the most experience and leading all the routes. Then as soon as I come back to the real world, I’ve lost my credit card and realised that my car has gone out of its MOT and things like that," he said.

"I’d have been great a million years ago walking around with a spear, but I don’t work so well in the real world."

Still, the things that do go wrong, whether up a mountain or in "the real world" do provide material for the theatre shows that are less lectures and more "stand-up mountaineering."

"It’s kind of comedy, but it’s unusual because most comedians turn everyday life into comedy," he pointed out.

"This takes something very extreme and turns it into comedy."

INAPPROPRIATE CLIMBING from Andy Kirkpatrick on Vimeo.

• Andy Kirkpatrick’s Inappropriate Climbing tour comes to Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, on Sunday and the Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, on Monday.

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