Paul Pritchard

Travels from: Tasmania


Paul Pritchard is a UK professional rock climber and mountaineer. Climbing the Baffin Island, Himalayas, Karakoram and Patagonia. Paul won an award for mountain literature where he spent the prize money on a round the world climbing tour that took him to Tasmania to climb the world’s slenderest needle of rock – The Totem Pole which rears out of the Southern Ocean on Cape Hauy.

Categories: Inspirational, Motivational Speakers

Full Presenter Profile & Bio

Paul Pritchard is a UK professional rock climber and mountaineer. Climbing the Baffin Island, Himalayas, Karakoram and Patagonia. Paul won an award for mountain literature where he spent the prize money on a round the world climbing tour that took him to Tasmania to climb the world’s slenderest needle of rock – The Totem Pole which rears out of the Southern Ocean on Cape Hauy.

This climb ended in disaster, where a large sized boulder caught his rope fell from the Totem Pole and crushed Paul’s skull leaving him with a serious brain injury. Celia, Paul’s climbing partner had to haul him 30-metres up the ledge and run 8 kilometres to call for help. Paul was left hanging on the ledge for 8 hours, before he was rescued. Paul was left paralysed on the right side of his body with speech and memory difficulties. He spent a year in hospital following the accident where he had to learn to walk, feed and dress himself whilst struggling to take control of his seizures.

In hospital Paul found motivation to write an award-winning book, The Totem Pole. A very in depth and personal story told by Paul about his injury and struggle with Hemiplegia.

Paul continues to live an adventurous life, and he films his challenges. His latest film Lowest To Highest follows his cycle from the lowest points to the highest points in Australia, where he is the first person to do so; all the cycle members had significant disabilities. 

In 2016 Paul returned to the Totem Pole and finally finished the climb, 18 years after his accident. Doing It Scared is the award-winning film of Paul’s return climb to the Totem Pole. Paul sees his horrific accident as a precious gift, despite the constant pain and disabilities and describes it as the best thing that has ever happened to him. Paul is an enthusiastic believer that without challenges in life, he wouldn’t have learnt all the crucial life lessons he has.

Paul’s story isn’t about overcoming adversity, or being a hero, but focuses on humility and acceptance. Paul was nominated for Tasmanian Australian of the Year in 2017 and received the Australian Geographic Spirit of Adventure medal in 2018 and the Aspire award for literature in 2020.

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