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Tides

A Climber's Voyage
Narrated by: Nick Bullock
Length: 11 hrs and 44 mins
2 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner: Mountain Literature Award, Banff Mountain Book Festival 2018

Shortlisted for the 2018 Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature

Nick Bullock is a climber who lives in a small, green van, flitting between Llanberis, Wales, and Chamonix in the French Alps. Tides, Nick’s second work, is the much-anticipated follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut, Echoes

Now retired from the strain of work as a prison officer, Nick is free to climb. A lot. Tides is a treasury of his antics and adventures with some of the world’s leading climbers, including Steve House, Kenton Cool, Nico Favresse, Andy Houseman, and James McHaffie. Follow Nick and his partners as they push the limits on some of the world’s most serious routes: The Bells! The Bells! on Gogarth’s North Stack Wall; the Slovak Direct on Denali; Guerdon Grooves on Buachaille Etive Mor; and the north faces of Chang Himal and Mount Alberta, among countless others.  

Nick’s life can be equated to the rhythm of the sea. At high tide, he climbs, he loves it, he is good at it; he laughs and jokes, scares himself, falls, gets back up, and climbs some more. Then the tide goes out, and he finds himself alone, exposed, all questions and no answers. Self-doubt, grieving for friends or family, fearful, sometimes opinionated, occasionally angry - his writing more honest and exposed than in any account of a climb. Only when the tide turns is he able to forget once more.  

Tides is a gripping memoir that captures the very essence of what it means to dedicate one’s life to climbing.

©2017 Nick Bullock (P)2019 Vertebrate Publishing

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  • Susan
  • Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 03-13-19

Clever Title and a Few Good Lines

Perhaps, this is a book that is not suitable for audio translation. I suppose the worst part was that the author read the book himself. It will put you to sleep because it seems like he is speaking a foreign language. There are a few wonderful descriptions of wildlife and scenery. Maybe he had no editor.The first 6 hours or so are too explanatory of his battle between relationships with women who turn out to be jealous of his greatest, all consuming love. He tried. The great bear story, about 7 hours into the audio, is one story not to be missed. The last couple of hours lapse into a mixed jumble of climbs interspersed with his Mom's death and moving the houseboat, where his father lives, to a new slip after being evicted from the old mooring. The description of his father ; a tea imbiber (replacing booze), a smoker of cigarettes and inveterate TV watcher....helps to explain Nick's need to be the opposite.










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  • S. E.
  • 05-30-19

Epic, emotional, and inspiring!

Tides is a gripping listen! It tells the story of Nick Bullock as he transitions from working in a prison to following his passion and becoming a climber full time. Bullock delves deep into the world of climbing in a raw and meaningful way, detailing his adventures and telling of what it means dedicate your life to this sport. This is a brutally honest and very personal account which illustrates the highs and lows, risks and rewards, and at many points turns inward to explore the psychological struggles one can face when embarking on a bold and unpredictable lifestyle such as this. Inspirational, emotional, and interspersed with humour: an all-round enjoyable and enlightening read.

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  • Davy Wright
  • 08-05-19

A great insight

A great insight into what it takes to climb at this level, including the sacrifices.

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  • Hannah Morris
  • 06-25-19

A fascinating memoir of life in the mountains.

‘Tides’ picks up where Nick Bullock’s debut ‘Echoes’ left off, with Bullock leaving his career in the prison service to pursue a life of climbing out of a small van.

‘Tides’ found me during my own time of upheaval. Moving house and changing job in the same month, my first dip into the world of audiobooks provided my partner and I with a welcome soundtrack as we dismantled our life and prepared to start a new one in the north of England. Nick’s lyrical prose lulled us along the M62 as we ferried our belongings between houses, his northern twang recalling with stark clarity the ups and downs of an impressive career in the mountains.

This is a memoir with many faces, rattling from Chamonix in the French Alps to the peaks of the Himalaya and back to the UK. Bullock shifts between the years with each chapter, detailing impressive ascents of routes in Alaska, Canada and Scotland. His accomplishments are numerous, with many first ascents of Himalayan peaks and a Piolet d’Or to his name.

A logbook of ticks and accents though, this memoir is not. Bullock deals with all aspects of climbing: the challenges of balancing serious mountaineering with personal relationships, the ache of loss experienced when risks become consequences in the mountains, the sting of loneliness on the road, the longing for connection and its discovery in the most remarkable of places.

Nick captures the seduction of the mountains and the liberating unpredictability of life outside of your comfort zone. He describes the visceral fear of running out of time and grapples with questions of risk, selfishness and freedom. The snapshots of the quieter moments spent in his van give a fascinating insight into Bullock’s mind; a single raindrop falling from the roof of his van precedes the question ‘is there such a thing as to live too long?’

‘Tides’ is a brilliant, incredibly honest and personal insight into a life devoted to climbing – its joys and its discontents as rhythmic as the tides. Bullock’s reflections on life in the mountains often had me searching for a pencil in our moving boxes to scribble excerpts in a notebook, or interrupting my partner as we packed our life away and forcing him to listen to whole paragraphs. A rich and energetic celebration of non-conformity and the pursuit of passion, ‘Tides’, describes a life lived with intent, affirming ‘at whatever level, at whatever frailty, life has to be worth living’.

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  • Paul Bann
  • 04-16-19

Go climbing with the Hippy!

Thought provoking, inspiring and extremely well written /narrated. You don't have to be a climber to appreciate this book.