Andy Pollitt dies aged 56

© Kendal Mountain Festival

We posted yesterday announcing that Andy Pollitt had passed away, following information received through email and posted online. We were subsequently informed that Andy was still on life support, which has now been switched off and he has passed away. We apologise for this mistake and our thoughts are with Andy's friends and family.

'80s climbing legend Andy Pollitt has died aged 56 after suffering a cerebral aneurysm. Andy was born in Prestatyn, Wales, in 1963 and went on to pioneer some of the hardest sport and trad routes of the 80s and 90s in Wales and beyond, eventually settling in Melbourne, Australia.

A young Andy Pollitt.
© Richie Brooks

Andy's rope access employer, API, passed on the following message to UKC:

'It is with the deepest sadness and heartbreak that we share this news. Our good friend and Façade Access legend at API, Andy Pollitt died today aged 56. After a fatal aneurysm that left Andy with no brain activity the decision was made to switch off life support earlier today. His last beautiful gift was to donate his organs to a family in need. To say Andy will be missed by our API family is an understatement. He will be missed by EVERYONE who knew and loved him.

A funeral/memorial service will be held Monday 18th November – details will be passed on tomorrow.

Vale Andy Pollitt – a total climbing Rockstar and the kindest of men – you will always be in our hearts.'

Andy's first repeat of John Redhead's The Bells, The Bells! (E7 6b) E7 6b at Gogarth was one of his most memorable and significant ascents, alongside first ascents of modern day classics includingSkinhead Moonstomp (E6 6b), The Hollow Man (E8 6b) E8 6b, Boot Boys (8a+) 8a+, Chimes of Freedom (8a+) 8a+, The Whore of Babylon (8a) 8a, Arch Enemies (7c+) 7c+ and Knockin' on Heaven's Door (E9 6c) E9 6c.

Having moved to Australia, Andy put his climbing talent into practice at Arapiles while working as a rope access technician in Melbourne. He famously repeated Wolfgang Güllich's Punks in the Gym (32) 8b+/32 - the world's first of the grade - before deciding to give up climbing and sell his gear that same day.

In recent years, Andy reconnected with the British climbing scene and became a frequent forum poster and regular contributor to His popular autobiography Punk in the Gym (UKC review) was published in 2016, in which he recounted tales from the Welsh and Peak District climbing scenes of the '80s and '90s, featuring stories from key figures including Jerry Moffat, Ben Moon and Mark Pretty. Andy starred in Nick Brown's film Statement of Youth in 2018 as a resident of the infamous 84 Hunter House Road climbers abode, and led a series of UKC interviews with climbing legends of his era. In 2017, Mark 'Zippy' Pretty turned the tables and put together a insightful interview with Andy about his climbing life, subtitled Andy Pollitt: 'The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long.'

Aside from his talent for climbing, Andy was a style icon - long hair, bright lycra and chiselled cheekbones - with a boisterous personality and a forward-thinking in his approach to sponsorship and self-promotion. In his interview with Mark Pretty, Andy commented: 'I was never camera shy was I! Maybe it's coming from a family of stage and TV actors, who knows, but, as Ali once said, 'It's hard to be humble when you're this pretty!'

The UKC team would like to express our condolences to Andy's family and friends and our thanks to Andy for his contributions in recent years.

Read some of Andy's interview from his '80s series.

Read a tribute to Andy by his publisher, Vertebrate Publishing.

Watch a filmed podcast interview with Andy from September this year, and a conversation with close friend Charlie Creese below:

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12 Nov, 2019

Sad news, RIP Andy.

12 Nov, 2019

Really sad news... he was an amazing climbing talent in his youth with a really impressive autobiography and more recently a consistently interesting and thoughtful UKC contributor.

Some other thread links..;topicseen

12 Nov, 2019

Really nice guy when I met him at a party in Australia. He was really interested to hear all about our climbing and suggested lots of great routes for us to try.

12 Nov, 2019

That's so sad, I always hoped I might meet Andy again.

RIP mate,

Chris :-(

12 Nov, 2019

Sad news , his book was amazing !

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