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An Evening of Adventure with Paul Pritchard


Thu 23 May 2019, 6:00pm–7:15pm

Where: Tūranga Central Library, 60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $10.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Presented by The Big Bike Film Night and supported by the Australian High Commission, we have Adventurer, Climber, Cyclist and all round legend Paul Pritchard regale us with tales of adventure and conquests.

Paul is probably best known for his remarkable effort in re-climbing the ‘Totem Pole’ in 2016 in Tasmania following a serious injury incurred whilst climbing that same edifice 18 years earlier.

After Paul's presentation, the award winning documentary 'Doing it Scared' will be shown.

Background - Paul was a cutting-edge rock climber and mountaineer hailing from the UK. He embodied the ‘Climb Now Work Later’ ethos (and coined the tagline). His climbing adventures took him from Wales to the Himalayas, from the Karakoram to Patagonia, from Baffin Island to the Pamirs.

When he won the Boardman/Tasker Award for Mountain Literature in 1997, with his book Deep Play, he spent the prize money on a world climbing tour that found him in Tasmania climbing a slender sea stack known as The Totem Pole. It was here that all he had known before was turned on its head.

On Friday the 13th of February 1998 a TV-sized boulder falling from 25 meters inflicted such terrible head injuries that doctors thought he might never walk or even speak again.

Being in hospital for a year gave Paul the impetus to write his second book: The Totem Pole. This narrative about his personal journey through hemiplegia won him an unprecedented second Boardman/Tasker prize, and the Banff Mountain Book Festival Grand Prize and was translated into four languages.

Paul has continued to lead a challenging life even after such a catastrophic injury. He has climbed Kilimanjaro, rode a recumbent trike through Tibet to Mount Everest and took the lead rock climbing again. In 2016 Paul finally climbed the Totem Pole, 18 years after his accident.

In 2017 Paul, and 4 other people with disabilities made the first ever journey under human power between Australia’s extremities of altitude. On the 'Lowest To Highest' Expedition the team members cycled from Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre (-15m) to Kosciuszko -Targangil (2228m), a distance of 2152km.

He sees the accident as a gift and describes it as the best thing that has ever happened to him. He is a passionate believer that without the mountains he climbed, and more-so the Totem Pole accident, he would not have learnt some crucial life lessons.

Those lessons learned in the mountains got him through a harrowing injury, the painfully slow recovery process, and has engendered a life lived in the moment.

We acknowledge the support of the Australian High Commission towards bringing Paul Pritchard here for this event.

The Big Bike Film Night will be screening in Christchurch on Friday 24th and Sunday 26th May at the Charles Luney Auditorium, St. Margaret's College with a compelling line-up of the best cycling short films from around the world.

Included in this line-up is the 'Lowest to Highest' Expedition that Paul completed with 4 other disabled people. Two of the riders- Paul and Duncan will be present at the Friday night screening.

Visit our website for tickets, dates and more details.

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