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Sunday, 17 April 2011

Ormesmen of the Week-Andy Pollitt, Prestatyn Conquerer

Andy grew up in Prestatyn and began climbing with his teacher Andy Boorman. Andy takes up the early story:
When he was 14 and just started climbing he used to work for a cake delivery company. Sell-by dates had just been invented - this was great for Andy: all out-of-date cakes came his way! Perhaps that explains his legendary stamina or possibly it's all those hours he spent on the brick-edges of the original Prestatyn Climbing Wall in the late 1970s?

Andy's first two real rock climbs were with myself on a school trip to Craig y Forwyn on 20th June 1978. He seconded Y Chimney H.V. Diff and a pleasant Severe called Softly, Softly. A few weeks later he was taking leader falls on Scalar VS!

In April 1981 Andy P joined a strong team for a trip to Buoux and the Verdon Gorge. There will be a star prize for the blog reader who can identify all the climbers (some well known, some well weak) in the group photo which was taken by Pete Bailey!


Great routes were climbed on that trip, but not without incident: ask Pete Bailey to recount his tale of the Verdon Gorge Luna Bong abseil, where they discovered that the rope Chris Lyon had sold Andy as a 150 feet length turned out to be only 40 metres, or around 130 feet. Pete arrived in space 3 metres out from and 3 metres above the first abseil tree, 250 metres minimum above the deck, to find that only one of the ropes reached (no knots in the ends). Andy was perched in the tree:
"How did you get there?" Pete enquired. "I jumped" said Andy!

Witnesses still have a clear vision of Pete and Andy's shrunken faces sporting manic protruding eyes as they rolled into camp late evening after an ascent of the 320 metre off-width Voie Ula on a very hot day with a very small water-bottle.

These were some of the experiences that formed Andy's early years and gave him the confidence and vision to realise that routes such as Mayfair could go free and that Chain Gang could be climbed as a trad E5 up an unlikely looking wall on a bitter November day in 1982.

Andy Pollitt is a true, talented and very special Ormesman!!


Andy also sent through a pic of Andy P on Midnight Blues in December 1980. I can think of nothing worse than hanging on a belay on the Little Orme in December:


As Andy started to progress through the grades in the 80s he to leave his mark on the Ormes and bagged some classic routes on many of the crags. The history in Andy's own 1987 guide chronicles some of the great ascents and epics. Andy produced two guidebooks, the first one coming out in 1981. This brought many climbers to the area in search of new lines. Andy's legacy of routes is fantastic. Wall of Evening Light was re equipped last year so get on it in August people! Night Glue has become one of the mega classics in the area and Over the Moon is testament to Andy's ability as it is now regarded as the hardest 8a on LPT. Someone once told me that the top crack was originally protected by wires and so the jams felt a bit better as often fingers were sitting on the wires. Don't know if its true or not. One of the greatest Ormesmen ever!

4 comments:

Tommy said...

Nice photo. Especially, A. The shorts and B. The blatant bicep flexing!

Tommy said...

And that is definitely Liam Gallagher pre Oasis days in the centre... do I get a prize for my detective work?

ianto said...

my m8 matt reckons his m8 tim freeman,basher,andy pollit and andy boorman,not sure of others

Gaz said...

TPM told me about the wire story, old school ascents apparetly involved finger jams on top of them.