2018 AG Spirit of Adventure Award, Author, Rock Climber, Esteemed Speaker
Paul was a leading British rock climber and mountaineer fearlessly tackling hard routes all around the world. One of the cliffs on his wish list was the Totem Pole, a slender sea stack in Tasmania that’s as remote as it is wild. Paul was abseiling to the base of the climb when he was hit in the head by a television sized boulder. His life hung in the balance for seven hours while his girlfriend and climbing partner ran for help. After a dramatic helicopter rescue the resulting traumatic brain injury caused hemiplegia and Doctors believed it was unlikely Paul would walk or speak again.
Paul defied those odds and in 2016 he finally ticked off the Totem Pole from his climbing wish list. Then in 2017 he led a team of disabled cyclists on an epic journey of more that 2000kms from Australia’s lowest to highest points. Paul is also the award-winning author of three books – The Totem Pole, Deep Play and The Longest Climb. He is a natural, generous presenter with a dry wit and engaging style.
Enquire about Paul Pritchard
“Paul Pritchard’s story of human determination and survival is an exceptional one. Our audience was mesmerized by Paul’s interview here in Banff and it was one of the best events we’ve hosted throughout our 41 year history as one of the most prestigious mountain festivals in the world. We would welcome Paul back to our stage any time.” – Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival 2016, Joanna Croston, Programming Director
“Paul is an extraordinary speaker, who ever so gently draws his audience along on his journey. He has an incredible story to tell and does it with great grace, humour and authenticity that has guests hanging on his every – and very well-chosen – word. Guaranteed to inspire and entertain.” – Emma Turnbull – Senior Manager AMP Foundation 2018
With his background of high adventure and personal journey into disability, Paul undertakes regular lectures and reading performances and will make an excellent speaker for your event.
More about Paul Pitchard
Paul Pritchard was a hugely successful climber and mountaineer from the UK. Throughout his climbing career, his adventures took him right across the world, from the Himalayas to the European Alps. With his prize money that he won for his 1997 book ‘Deep Play’, he set off on a world climbing tour, that found him in Tasmania. Whilst there, Paul was climbing a slender sea stack, when a TV sized boulder fell from 25 metres resulting in terrible head injuries – so bad, that doctors thought he might never walk, or even speak, again. His road to recovery was long and ongoing, including a year in hospital, but Paul was determined to beat the odds and get back in the harness.
His pursuits have been successful, and since the accident, Paul’s new lease on life has led him to climb Kilimanjaro, go caving, sea kayaking and river rafting, and in 2009, he even led a team in rock cli9mbing again. In 2016, he finally climbed Totem Pole once again, 18 years after the accident. This was an incredibley wmotional feat for Paul, especially considering his accident left him with some limited mobility in his right side and some memory and speech impairments. His latest journey was the 2152km World Expeditions Lowest to Highest Expedition.
Paul claims that his accident was a real life changing event for him, and believes that he has learnt some crucial life lessons as a result. His years in the mountains and spent recovering from his injuries have instilled in him an innate lust for life, one which he endeavours to share with others.