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17 Down Under: 17 DOWN UNDER. "A celebration of moderate grade climbing in Victoria". 184 pages. 285 images. Father & son team, Steve & John Morris, embark on a journey to climb and photograph 50 of the best rock climbs in Victoria, grade 17 & under. Inc bookmark  $50.00
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Deep Play
A Climber's Odyssey from Llanberis to the Big Walls

Format Book Category Narratives
Title Deep Play  Pages 192 
Author Paul Pritchard  RRP $30.00 AUD 
Publisher Mountaineers Books  Reviews
Edition (January 1998)  Ave Rating ***** (4.50 of 5)


User Comments
Pretty damn fine read. Quite a poetic book, so a little different from the telling of yarns, or a blow-by-blow account of climbing adventure. Another climbing must-have. 
Deep Play (1997)
Paul Pritchard

Truly, madly, deeply

The Essential Gist: An unconventional autobiography by a legendarily bold and universally respected climber.

60-second summary: As an early 80s Bolton rude-boy and general pre-pubescent roisterer, Pritchard took up climbing at the local Lancashire quarry of Wilton and discovered he had both talent and no measurable fear. As he grew up this resulted in some very bold climbs and not a few seriously big falls. Many of the tales in Deep Play first appeared as articles in On the Edge magazine and their incorporation into Deep Play gave Pritchard both an opportunity to re-edit the writing and to experiment with an eclectic mix of writing styles (straight narrative mixes with diary entries and short-story format) with which to tell his story of serious fun. The content is equally varied, being by turns gripping, funny, lyrical and moving - and geographically diverse, featuring action in places as far flung as Patagonia and Pete’s Eat’s (legendary climbers' 'greasy spoon cafe in Llanberis, North Wales). Better than all that, however, is the depth of Pritchard’s carefully thought-out pieces. His writing can posses a kind of dignified honesty, similar to that of Joe Tasker’s, an acknowledged hero and influence of his. Deep Play is one of those rare books: it gives you a direct line into feelings and motivations of a truly great climber who is also a genuinely creative individual.

Any accolades? Won the Boardman-Tasker Prize in 1997

Characteristic excerpt: ‘The wall drew me further in, to the central sweep right of the Heart of Gold. Rappelling down and discovering continuous lines of pockets and seams, it was like unwrapping a surprise parcel. And once I’d torn it open it was just the gift I’d been waiting for. In 280 feet I managed to find one peg placement, a poor downward-pointing knife blade, which would have to serve as a belay. With ‘Moose’ I descended to the foot of the route. I set off on a tramline of seedy pockets in the grey wave. The first protection came after fifty feet of overhanging pocket-picking, taking care not to snap off the brittle edges. It was a briefcase-sized block detached on five sides and attached on its smallest end. Once looped it had to be laybacked and manteled. Monster Alien Spiders wait for prey at the roof. I pull by and gain a foot-cramping rest on a hanging porcelain slab a little higher. I arrange a clutch of shallow protection in the blind seams in front of my face and begin what looks like three body lengths of wicked dink-pulling. I gained height in convulsions. Classical music I’d heard in some car advertisement droned through my brain. I stopped being scared and, after an age of schizophrenic debate, I convinced myself that I could not fall off. I then began to look at myself rather than the rock. It was as though my body climbed while I gazed on ... Peg. Stop. A threadbare stance in the middle of this Broccoli Garden.’

Like this? Try these….This Game of Ghosts. Joe Simpson. Eiger Dreams. Jon Krakauer.
Great book written by a great man. 

Further Reading:
Amazon - Details, purchasing, reviews, etc.
Paul Pritchard - Author's web site.


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