The Longest Climb
A Memoir of Love, Mountaineering, and Healing
About the Book
An inspiring, moving, and unblinking view of a battered climber who refuses to turn his back on the mountains.
Born in Bolton, England, Paul Pritchard started climbing when he was 16 years old. In time, he became one of the foremost British climbers of the 1980s and 1990s, climbing difficult routes across the United Kingdom and around the world, including the East Face of Central Tower in Torres del Paine, Patagonia, the first ascent of the West Face of Mount Asgard on Baffin Island, Trango Tower in northern Pakistan, and multiple attempts on the then-unclimbed Shark’s Fin on Meru Peak, in the Indian Himalayan region.
On Friday, February 13, 1998, Paul’s life was dramatically altered when he was struck in the head by a falling boulder while climbing the Totem Pole, a slender sea stack off the coast of Tasmania. He received a traumatic head injury and was left suffering from hemiplegia, which has robbed his right side of movement and continues to play tricks with his speech and memory.
A remarkable story that highlights life’s surprising gifts and crucial lessons, The Longest Climb chronicles Paul’s inspiring journey back to life and reminds us all that “When we spend time in the mountains, we do not escape from our woes. We come home and learn how to accept them.”
“Human vulnerability and indestructibility overlap in Paul Pritchard’s lean prose and moving story-telling. You won’t find a better exploration of the costly, tragic, funny and life-affirming realities of a climber’s life. Anything Pritchard writes is necessary reading for mountain literature fans.” —David Smart, author of Emilio Comici: Angel of the Dolomites and Paul Preuss: Lord of the Abyss
“In The Longest Climb, Paul Pritchard redefines the meaning of `able’. With honesty, lyricism and wry humour, he relates his against-all-odds journey back to the mountains after a climbing accident left him with appalling injuries. It’s a life-affirming story of determination, love, compassion, and the astonishing possibilities of a human body and spirit.” —Maria Coffey, author of Instead: Navigating the Adventures of a Childfree Life – A Memoir and Where the Mountain Casts its Shadow
“Paul Pritchard is a good writer and a kind man who has found truth in his life and shares it. Mounts Kenya and Kilimanjaro, the two highest peaks in Africa, handed him some gifts and Paul is passing those onto us.” —Barry Blanchard, alpinist, mountain guide, and author of The Calling