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With nothing held back, in Punk in the gym, rock climbing legend Andy Pollitt tells his roller-coaster story from the UK to Australia, exactly as it happened. Exposing his fragile ego and leaving us to laugh, cry, marvel and judge, this is a sports autobiography like no other. The legendary routes are all here, including The Bells, The Bells!, and the route that broke him and robbed the climbing world of its Hollywood star – Punks in the Gym.
Andy Pollitt is as close to a Hollywood A-lister as the climbing world will ever get. He had the looks, and he starred in all the big roles in the 1980s and 1990s – Tremadog, Pen Trwyn, the big Gogarth climbs, Raven Tor and the cult Australian adventures. Alongside co-stars like Jerry Moffatt, John Redhead and Malcolm ‘HB’ Matheson, he brought us sexy climbing – gone were the beards, the woolly socks and the fibre pile. Andy was all skin-tight pink Lycra, vests and brooding looks. For those watching, Andy Pollitt had it all. But Punk in the Gym gives us the whole truth. The self-doubt, the depression, the drinking, the fags, the womanising, the injuries, the loss of a father and the trouble that brings, and a need for something – for recognition, a release for the pain, and, for Andy, more drinking, more tears, bigger run-outs. With nothing held back, Andy tells his roller-coaster story from the UK to Australia, exactly as it happened. Exposing his fragile ego and leaving us to laugh, cry, marvel and judge, this is a sports autobiography like no other. The legendary routes are all here – The Bells, The Bells!, Skinhead Moonstomp, The Hollow Man, Boot Boys, The Whore of Babylon andKnockin’ on Heaven’s Door. And the route that broke him and robbed the climbing world of its Hollywood star – Punks in the Gym.
Andy Pollitt was born in Prestatyn, North Wales, on 26 October 1963. He grew up in Dyserth village and was introduced to climbing at school by Andy Boorman, one of his school teachers. He was immediately hooked, and the two Andys would go on to become lifelong friends. Following his apprenticeship, and over the course of the eighties and early nineties, Andy Pollitt went on to become one of Britain’s most iconic climbers, pushing standards with friends Jerry Moffatt, Martin ‘Basher’ Atkinson and others. He made early repeats of legendary routes – such as John Redhead’s The Bells, The Bells! on Gogarth’s North Stack Wall – and cutting-edge first ascents of his own, including The Hollow Man on North Stack, and Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door on Peak District gritstone. In 1992, after forty-four days of attempts spread over three trips to Australia across two years, he finally redpointed Wolfgang Güllich’s route Punks in the Gym (the world’s first F8b+) at Mount Arapiles – and then immediately gave up climbing for good. Andy has lived in Melbourne, Australia, since 1993 where he has enjoyed a successful career in the rope access industry.
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