VIDEO: Lay Back Podcast: Andy Pollitt

Episode 8 of the Lay Back Podcast features Andy Pollitt, originally from Wales, Andy emigrated to Australia in the early 90s after numerous trips down there for long stints at Arapiles.

Andy grew up in North Wales and was the Rock Star of British climbing in the eighties, pushing standards with other climbers you may have heard of like Jerry Moffatt and Martin 'Basher' Atkinson. Andy's climbing epitomised the bold British climbing ethic.

It would be impossible to cover all of Andy's exploits in one podcast and they focus on a few in-depth stories of him soloing the Great Wall, and his experience on the Bells, the Bells where his skin, as he puts it, emitted the 'pungent smell of death'.

They get to grips with what it was like coming to Australia as a foreign climber back in that time, and Andy drops us into his first experiences landing in Natimuk, competitive drinking with the locals and heading out to try Tapian routes with Malcolm Matheson. Andy went on to put up first ascents on Taipan including Rage - an alternate start to Serpentine, and that most popular route World Party - Andy gives us the inside as to why the bolts on that route might feel a little spacey.

Finally, they talk Punks in the Gym, that iconic Australian route that Andy put 44 days of effort into in his pursuit for the first true redpoint ascent. Andy details his battle with the route, and why he restored the hold which is now possibly the most well-known hold in Australian climbing - the Birdbath! Immediately after sending the route, Andy gave away his climbing gear and left climbing behind.

The podcast picks up where Andy has hit the road with Jerry Moffatt. They headed for Tremadog and dossed in the barn, living on 50 pence a day, and climbing as much as possible.

Andy Pollitt features in our latest documentary Statement of Youth. Check it out:

You can hear more of Andy's tales in his book Punks in the Gym.


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2 Oct

Loved that. AP is a bit of a hero to me.

5 Oct

Great interview.

AP was my ultimate climbing hero back in the early 80’s. He had that super cool rockstar look and always seemed to be on the cover of the mags. We invited him to come and give a talk to our Uni club in Birmingham probably in the late 80’s and he came over with his mate Yorick. In the Uni bar after his talk I asked him what’s the most scared he’s ever been expecting him to say doing the Bells or something but he said the most scared he’s been was coming out of Stoney Cafe and looking up to see some bloke soloing Scoop Wall at his limit and almost coming off - it was a perfect answer to my question as fear can be a lot broader than the our own immediate experience. Rock on Andy your a legend