Landscapes - Robert Downie
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Totem Pole

Cold, wet, isolated and imposing. An iconic rock climb due to the unpredictable and dangerous nature of the weather and sea state below, the Totem Pole is a narrow dolerite sea stack at Cape Huay in the Tasman National Park, Tasmania, Australia. It stands 65 metres (213 ft) tall from the mean sea level, yet is only a few metres wide in any direction. Its notoriety further increased after leading British climber Paul Pritchard suffered a severe head injury in 1998 rupturing his skull and losing half of his blood causing a hemiplegia or partial paralysis. His female climbing partner spent three arduous hours hauling him up to a ledge halfway up the pole where she could secure him and then ran 7km to arrange help. Due to the narrow channel the rescue team was not able to get a helicopter close enough for a direct rescue and ambulance service had to down climb from the top of the Totem Pole to the ledge. Pritchard spent a total of 10 hours on the ledge before the rescue was complete.

skycoldrockclimbingweatherwetdangeroustotempolecragAustraliaTasmaniaCapeHuaydoleriteTasmanNationalParkPaulPritchard