There he was, leaning back in his chair, drinking tea in Pete’s Eats. Andy Pollitt, the guy from the posters and the magazines. I was at college and he was the first rock star I’d ever seen. While I knew from the very first moment I climbed I wanted to be a climber, I knew when I saw a rock star up close I’d never be a climber like Andy was. I was just happy to be in such close company.
A few years later I found myself in Australia, where Andy was resident at Arapiles. He became a regular climbing partner. We had enormous fun together – bouldering, new routing, socialising, training, along with Robin Barker he took us around crags in the Grampians, hiking us in to Taipan Wall, Hollow Mountain and other places, driving us around in HB’s Torana. Massive fun.
Andy just had that flair. He could tie in with that one-handed flick trick with a bowline – so cool, he could jump between holds, and he encouraged me to push grades, try harder climbs and fight!
Years after that he started to send me hand-written reminisces about his life and, raw as they were, I learnt a lot more about him and the reasons for his climbing, his lifestyle and his energies – often high, sometimes low, and always supporting.
I learnt more of him from Jerry’s book and of course from publishing his book and times we’ve spoken since. But, most of all, I remember our days at Arapiles, the happiest of my life, climbing like we were rock stars. I often go back to those days.
Thanks Andy for everything and that email you sent last month with those parting words:
‘Cling on for dear life, sorry, that’s all I’ve got, Best Andy P’.
Andy Pollitt 1963-2019
Photo: Punk in the Gym, Arapiles. Credit: Glen Robbins.