Echoes

One climber's hard road to freedom

Author: Nick Bullock Paul Pritchard

Series title:

Paperback publication date: 02 Apr 2020

Paperback ISBN: 9781906148539

SHORTLISTED: Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature 2013

Echoes is the first book from Nick Bullock, one of Britain's leading adventurer climbers and mountaineers. Having worked in the prison service with some of Britain's most notorious criminals for over 15 years, he quit in search of a new way of seeing the world. Echoes is a powerful exploration of what it means to live life on your own terms.

Shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature. 'As I sat cradling the man's head, with his blood and brains sticking to my hands, I heard a voice – my own voice. It was asking me something. Asking how I had ended up like this, desperate and lost among people who thought nothing of caving in a man's head and then standing back to watch him die.' Nick Bullock was a prison officer working in a maximum-security jail with some of Britain's most notorious criminals. Trapped in a world of aggression and fear, he felt frustrated and alone. Then he discovered the mountains. Making up for lost time, Bullock soon became one of Britain's best climbers, learning his trade in the mountains of Scotland and Wales, and travelling from Pakistan to Peru in his search for new routes and a new way of seeing the world – and ultimately an escape route from his life inside. Told that no one ever leaves the service – the security, the stability, the 'job for life' – Bullock focused his existence on a single goal: to walk free, with no shackles, into a mountain life. Echoes is a powerful and compelling exploration of freedom, and what it means to live life on your own terms.

Nick Bullock was born on Christmas Day in 1965. After leaving school aged sixteen he worked variously as a gamekeeper, a self-employed labourer and at Alton Towers (less exciting than it sounds) before joining Her Majesty’s Prison Service in 1987 where he was posted to the high-security Gartree Prison as a wing officer, then a punishment block officer. In 1992 he was introduced to climbing at Plas-y-Brenin while training as a physical education instructor: Nick left the prison service in 2003 and has been a full-time climber and part-time writer ever since. Nick is one of the UK’s leading climbers, making bold repeats of many of the country’s most renowned traditional summer rock climbs. In Scottish winter he has climbed hundreds of routes and many new ones including Nevermore on Lochnagar – with a grade of X/10 it is one of the hardest routes ever climbed ground up. In the European Alps he has climbed approximately forty routes, both established classics and new lines, and he is veteran of over twenty-three expeditions to the greater ranges. It is possibly in the big hills where Nick has truly demonstrated his imagination and abilities, making significant ascents and failing on some audacious attempts around the world with partners such as Jules Cartwright, Al Powell, Kenton Cool, Andy Houseman, Matt Helliker and Paul Ramsden. In September 2017, alongside Ramsden, he climbed the first ascent of the North Buttress on Nyainqentangla South East in Tibet, for which they were awarded a prestigious Piolet d’Or. An accomplished writer, his work has been published frequently in Alpinist, Climb, Rock & Ice, Climber, Vertical, UKClimbing.com, Desnival, Climbing, the Alpine Journal, the American Alpine Journal, and in 2017 he won the award for Best Mountaineering Article of the Year at the Banff Mountain Book Competition. When not on expedition or extended climbing trips, Nick lives in Llanberis, North Wales. Tides is his second book, following the critically acclaimed Echoes.

Paul Pritchard is an award-winning author and one of the UK's most visionary and accomplished climbers. Originally from Lancashire, he began climbing in his teens and went on to repeat some of the most difficult routes in the country, before moving to North Wales where he played a pivotal role in the development of the Dinorwig slate quarries and the imposing Gogarth cliffs on Anglesey. A move into mountaineering followed, with significant ascents around the world, including the East Face of the Central Tower of Paine in Patagonia, and the first ascent of the West Face of Mount Asgard on Baffin Island. In 1998 his life changed dramatically when he was hit by falling rock while climbing the Totem Pole, a sea stack off the Tasmanian coast. He was left with Hemiplegia – paralysis down the right side of his body – and also lost the power of speech for many months. Since his accident Paul has continued to lead a challenging life through caving, tricycle racing, sea kayaking, river rafting, climbing Kilimanjaro, and, in 2009, a return to lead rock climbing. He has devoted a considerable amount of time to raising awareness for the charity Headway and the Upendo Leprosy Centre in Tanzania, and he is a patron of Hemihelp and the Llanberis Mountain Film Festival. He is the author of three books – Deep Play, Totem Pole, and The Longest Climb – and has won the prestigious Boardman Tasker Prize on two occasions (Deep Play, 1997; Totem Pole, 1999). Totem Pole was also awarded the Grand Prize at the 1999 Banff Mountain Book Festival. Paul lives in Hobart, Tasmania.

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