An Audience with…Paul Pritchard

Whilst advertised as a slide show by Paul Pritchard, last night turned out to be more like an evening with Paul and many of his close friends from his days in Llanberis. For those who don’t know Paul or have never heard of him then you really need to get Deep Play and Totem Pole, to of the best book on firstly climbing then on the recovering from a climbing injury I have ever read. Before these book came out his writing appeared in Climb Magazine, and as such inspired me to go to college in Bangor, and start living the dream.

I have been caught up in the nightmare ever since!

What we got was an incredibly personal account of all his major climbing feats pre-Totem Pole. A path that only a few of the the best climbers in the audience have been able to follow. Such is the testament to his climbing ability. However the show was more about what he has done since his accident and moving to Taz, a place that he now holds as dear as North Wales.

What followed was an amazing account of someone who through determination had fought his crippled body and made it do stuff that many ‘able’ bodied people would struggle with. From hiking up Kilimanjaro on an expedition with four disabled climbers, to climbing for the first time and eventually leading, albeit easier.

This was where slide show became extra special, as whilst it is impossibly hard to explain how impossibly hard it is to climb with one hand and one good leg and one bad leg, a short video shot by Dave ??? who I think use to be with Hot Aches, however the film was put together by some chicken leg inferno productions (both of these are wrong, but I can’t remember the names). The film seemed to capture how frustratingly difficult climbing must be to Paul, as he struggled to control his limbs, however he remains cool despite the shaking and fights his way to the top of the Rainbow Slab. Which is a fitting tribute, as this is where the slide show started, Paul talking about ‘the most amazing piece of rock in north wales’.

Now if you have never tried climbing at you limit one handed I suggest you give it a go, years ago Leo, Patch and Myself tried Poetry Pink one handed, Leo eventually lead it that way (its E6 6c if your interested), I managed all but one move. But it is so tenuous, often your only option is to slap for a hold as you are falling off, in the hope your hand gets to the hold before gravity overwhelms your body. This was captured in the film, as paul slaps his way across a ledge.

Many people were move by the film, I just hope it makes it onto a DVD or into LLAMFF. The whole night was amazing and as the film finish the room fell into an emotional silence as each person came to terms with what they had just seen.

My quote of the night though go out to all the people heading out to the Alps this summer, it comes from the Super Alpinism King that is Nick Bullock, who on being asked are you heading back over to the Alps this summer replied, ‘No, the alps in summer is way too dangerous!’.

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