The book is well written, starting by telling the reader about his younger life, growing up in Barnsley, hating school and ending up working in the pit. From which Andy explains how a friend introduced him to the Barnsley Mountaineering Club and how his love for climbing led to him leaving his job in the pit after a long and tedious time there and on strike to pursue his passion for the mountains and climbing.
After many years doing various jobs around saving up for his exciting adventurers and slowly working towards his British Mountain Guide, putting the same amount of effort into his outdoor life as he did into his study of English Language at university. In the book Andy talks about his first trips to the grit crags, early trips to Scotland in the winter and rock climbing in Wales. Using the time off that he had while on strike from the coal mines, living on the small wage that he received Andy spent a lot of time climbing, most of the time having to borrow kit from friends.
Later Andy went on the climb classic hard lines in the Alps such as Divine Providence, almost climb Gasherbrum IV, (weather prevented a summit push), and a rare at the time ascent of Changabang around working as a British Mountain Guide.
Though out the book Andy’s language helps keep the reader interested, with small quotes at the beginning of every chapter and breathtaking pictures near the middle of the book of him and his friends climbing various routes. Andy Cave’s Learning to Breathe is an excellent book that explains some of a life time of climbing talking about successful expeditions and some sad expeditions, such as Changabang with the loss of his climbing partner Brandon during an avalanche on the decent. Throughout the language used is compelling and dedicative, his other book Thin White Line will defiantly be on my bedside table soon!
Excellent book, well worth a read for anyone, even people who aren’t climbers!