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One climber's hard road to freedom

Hardback (256pp)
  • Hardback £20.00
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Shortlisted for the 2013 Boardman Tasker Prize

'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.

Also available as an ebook:

Kindle (Amazon U.K. site)
Kindle (Amazon U.S. site)
Google Play

Nick Bullock was born on Christmas Day in 1965. After leaving school aged 16 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: his life was about to change dramatically.

Devoting all of his free time to climbing, Nick quickly established himself as one of the UK’s leading climbers, making bold repeats in fine style of many of the UK’s most renowned traditional climbs. A veteran of over 20 expeditions to the greater ranges and approximately 50 Alpine routes, it is in the mountains 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 and, more recently, Andy Houseman. In 2003 he quit the prison service and has since devoted his life to climbing, writing and being frugal.

An accomplished writer, his work has been published in Alpinist, Climb Magazine, Vertical,, The Alpine Club Journal, The American Alpine Journal and more.

When not on expedition, Nick lives in Chamonix through the winter and in his van in North Wales through the summer. Echoes is his first book.

  • Title: Echoes
  • Sub-title: One climber's hard road to freedom
  • Author: Nick Bullock
  • Imprint: Vertebrate Publishing
  • ISBN: 9781906148539
  • Rights: Worldwide
  • Publication date: 03 November 2012
  • Edition: First
  • Size: 234mm x 156mm
  • Extent: 256 pages; black and white text with colour plates
  • Cover: Hardback
  • Weight: 560g
  • Retail price: £20.00

Also available as an ebook:

  • Imprint: Vertebrate Digital
  • ISBN: 9781906148546
  • Publication date: 21 August 2012
  • Price: £20.00

Kindle UK

Kindle USA




'A brilliant page turner from one of our most outstanding adventure mountaineers. Not only are the accounts of his remarkable climbs riveting but he also allows us into his personal feeling, fears and day job as a prison officer.'
Chris Bonington

‘Wild, exciting and inspirational. A book that grips you throughout with wild tales from handling Britain's most notorious criminals to tackling some of the world's most exciting unclimbed lines. I loved it.’
Mick Fowler

‘Utterly gripping. From his first clumsy steps to the all-in commitment of his greatest ascents Nick Bullock's early climbing career was inextricably linked to his work as a prison officer. Prison was both the force he climbed to escape and the hell that compelled him to push himself further in the mountains than others might have gone.’
Mark Twight

'An unusual and powerful story that is as remarkable for its depiction of the author's life as a prison officer in one of the country's toughest jails, Gartree, as for his prodigious achievements on the mountains.'
Peter Beaumont, The Observer

'When some aspects of climbing are turning into another off-the-shelf consumer lifestyle as predictable as the Gap catalogue, Echoes offers a compelling picture of what the real thing is all about.'
Stephen Venables, Climb Magazine

'This book, an important book, a real book, captures a period in modern British climbing history ... the writing is captivating, intelligent, gentle, inquisitive.'
Jack Geldard,

'A thought provoking, entertaining and at times frightening book. Essential reading for anyone into having adventures.'
Dave MacLeod,

'Echoes is very entertaining and credit should be given for the author's vivid portrayal of prison life. The writing in the main is spare and matter of fact. A style which suits the rather dark subject matter. Prison life does not really lend itself to romantic prose!'
John Appleby, Footless Crow

'The honesty of these chapters is frightening and riveting, the kind of book that keeps you up long into the night turning pages and then keeps you awake with thoughts of the physical and mental demons the author faced.'
Dave Mycroft,

'Undoubtedly destined to become one of the greats of modern mountaineering literature.'
Mark Reeves,

'A thoroughly absorbing read.'
Matt Heason,

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