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Item #: BK2039
THE LONGEST CLIMB: BACK FROM THE ABYSS Pritchard 2005 Paperback
By Pritchard, Paul
Price: $18.95


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2005. 288 pp. For climber Paul Pritchard the biggest challenge he ever faced wasn't a mountain, but the long climb back to life. Not his former life of the 1990s, when he surfed many of the world's most treacherous rock faces. The boulder that crushed him while he was climbing the Totem Pole in Tasmania put a stop to that.

His life now is the result of a six-year struggle with hemiplegia and brain injury, slowly reassembling his world physically, emotionally and mentally. Progress is halting and painful, but also triumphant and often blackly humorous.

Along the way he charts the small victories, the false hopes the necessary readjustments, and considers the world's perception of disability as he compares experiences with fellow handicapped climbers such as Jamie Andrew on Kilimanjaro - they are united by positive thinking and a refusal to sink into self-pity. Geographically, he progresses from careering downhill in Snowdonia, not entirely in control of a tricycle, via a dubious Moroccan expedition, to ascents of both Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro.

And two love affairs, one with Tasmania where he now lives, and the other with Jane, one of the nurses who took care of him after the accident. Now married, they have a small daughter, Cadi. The Longest Climb is full of life. It is a moving and unblinkered view of achievement to date and the steep road ahead for a battered climber who refuses to turn his back on the mountains. New Paperback.


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