FORTY years of terrifying misadventures in climbing have never sounded this funny, and strangely motivational.

With his unique brand of self-deprecating, acerbic humour, renowned British alpinist and soloist Andy Kirkpatrick compared his career in the mountains to Steven Seagal's on the big screen – a 'how-not-to' of climbing.

This is no ordinary motivational talk, this is one driven by tales of failure and near-death experiences.

From his humble beginnings blagging his way to failure in the Alps to true feats of modern aid climbing in Yosemite – the Western world's mecca of big wall climbing - Andy took a captivated audience through punishing mental and physical journeys, and out the other side to lessons often hard learned.

He manages to translate truly terrifying experiences – often completely alone on thousand foot rock faces – into hilarious tales of pushing his body to the limit of exhaustion, dehydration and fear.

Andy's charm lies in his humility. He has achieved things most climbers can only dream of, yet remains humble and speaks strikingly honestly on his motivations and self-doubt.

He closed the talk by recounting his time taking his partner and two other friends, all of whom had no big wall climbing experience, up the iconic 1000-metre rock face El Capitan in Yosemite. During the ascent, he took a back seat and allowed the inexperienced trio to do the legwork.

Herein lies the crux of his 'higher education': you can learn all you like from others showing you the way, but really you have just to go out and do it yourself.