'All I wanted to do was go to sleep. And I was certain that if I did drift off, it would be for the last time.'
In 1998, Paul Pritchard was struck on the head by a falling rock as he climbed a sea stack in Tasmania called the Totem Pole. Close to death, waiting for hours for rescue, Pritchard kept himself going with a promise that given the chance, he would 'at least attempt to live'.
Left hemiplegic by his injury, Pritchard has spent the last two decades attempting to live, taking on adventures that seemed impossible for someone so badly injured while plumbing the depths of a mind almost snuffed out by his passion for climbing.
Not content to simply survive, Pritchard finds ways to return to his old life, cycling across Tibet and expanding his mind on gruelling meditation courses, revisiting the past and understanding his compulsion for risk. Finally, he returns to climb the Totem Pole, the place where his life was almost extinguished.
The Mountain Path is an adventure book like no other, an exploration of a healing brain, a journey into philosophy and psychology, a test of will and a triumph of hope.
Paul Pritchard is an award-winning author and one of the UK's most visionary and accomplished climbers. Originally from Lancashire, he began climbing in his teens and went on to repeat some of the most difficult routes in the country, before moving to North Wales where he played a pivotal role in the development of the Dinorwig slate quarries and the imposing Gogarth cliffs on Anglesey. A move into mountaineering followed, with significant ascents around the world, including the East Face of the Central Tower of Paine in Patagonia, and the first ascent of the West Face of Mount Asgard on Baffin Island. In 1998 his life changed dramatically when he was hit by falling rock while climbing the Totem Pole, a sea stack off the Tasmanian coast. He was left with hemiplegia - paralysis down the right side of his body - and also lost the power of speech for many months. Since his accident, Paul has continued to lead a challenging life through caving, tricycle racing, sea kayaking, river rafting, climbing Kilimanjaro, and, in 2009, a return to lead rock climbing. He is an international speaker, advocating for disability, and a diversity and inclusion trainer volunteering for The Human Library, which challenges the harmful effects of stereotyping and prejudice. He is the author of three books - Deep Play, The Totem Pole, and The Longest Climb - and has won the prestigious Boardman Tasker Prize on two occasions (Deep Play, 1997; The Totem Pole, 1999). The Totem Pole was also awarded the Grand Prize at the 1999 Banff Mountain Book Festival. Paul lives in Hobart, Tasmania.