Contents AcknowledgementsForeword by John Middendorf Preface to the 2012 Edition Introduction - Playing the System CrackFire-Starter Rubble Merchants, Slateheads and Others Lost in the Broccoli Garden A Piece of Driftwood On the Big Stone Bhagirathi Diary Outside the AsylumCentral Tower of Paine: El Regalo de Mwono Paine North Tower: El Caballo de Diablo Just Passing Through The Doctor and the Witch A Game One Climber Played AdriftHyperborea A Survivor's Affair Making Castles in the Sand Deep PlayersOn the Shark's Fin with Philip Lloyd Accidental Hero - Silvo Karo A Lesson in Healing from Andy Parkin Author's Glossary Notes about the Essays
Paul Pritchard is a multi-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 Llanberis in 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 Mt 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 has devoted a considerable amount of time to raising awareness for the charity Headway and the Upendo Leprosy Centre in Tanzania, and he is a patron of Hemihelp and the Llanberis Mountain Film Festival. He is the author of three books - Deep Play, Totem Pole, and The Longest Climb - and has won the prestigious Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature outright on two occasions (Deep Play, 1997; Totem Pole, 1999). Totem Pole was also awarded the Grand Prize at the 1999 Banff Mountain Book Festival. Paul lives in Hobart, Tasmania.
"It is a remarkable book. It is a love letter to the mountain, an obituary for lost friends, a Joycean study of a community. Most of all, in its roughshod description of thrills and achievement, adventure and comradeship ... it's an explanation of a way of life." (Sabine Durrant, The Guardian.) "Not since The Hard Years has the social background of a leading protagonist been so effectively drawn. Touching on themes of economic deprivation, failing education standards and the brutish myopia that affected Britain, but especially England, in the 1980s, Pritchard illustrates how climbing was, at least then, a rare way to escape from monochrome to glorious Technicolor." (Ed Douglas, Climber Magazine.) "It is bold, experimental, innovative in its narrative and descriptive material in a way which is entirely in keeping with the spirit of the prize." (Peter Gillman, Boardman Tasker Prize Chair of Judges.)