Welcome to Episode 24 of the Ω Powerband Podcast - a podcast dedicated to rock climbing in Aotearoa New Zealand.
In this episode, I speak with surfer, free diver, cyclist, snowboarder and climber, Andy Milne.
Andy hails from Dunedin, where, as a rebellious teenager, he discovered the vibrant world that was New Zealand climbing in the mid 80s. Equally drawn to the mountains and the crags, Andy threw himself in the deep end - an "all or nothing" approach that would come to define his relationship with a number of athletic disciplines.
Not long in the game, he witnessed climbing tragedy first hand when two friends died in a climbing accident on Mt Aspiring. Andy and his climbing companion were first on the scene. That experience changed the course of Andy's life, as he dropped out of art school and (perhaps paradoxically) 'doubled down' on his climbing obsession.
In our conversation, Andy reflects on the twists and turns that his life has taken since, as he moved into working in the outdoor equipment industry, moved around the South Island and pursued a number of other challenging and adventurous activities such as surfing, backcountry snowboarding, road cycling and free diving - all to a high standard. And yet he has continued to return to climbing - as much for the process as the outcome. Now on his 4th or 5th comeback, Andy's deltoids are as big as they ever were and his 6mm crimp game must be (pound for pound) as good as it gets.
Andy has dedicated this episode to lost (but not forgotten) friends Jeremy Strang, Grant Crumpton and Donald Hollows.