Disabled Climbers : A Balance of Risk
It can happen to any of us; a fit active climber or sports person and an accident or illness can strike us down. The stone that hit Paul Pritchard whilst attempting to climb the Totem Pole in Tasmania or bouldering champion Andy Earl who suffered from a stoke last year.
We all pray it does not happen to us but if it did I certainly hope I would have the strength to continue to live a full life and if possible get back into my sport. I worked on two films with Paul Pritchard as he gained strength and confidence to get back into the outdoors. During these films I was moved and astounded at the mental and physical effort that people make to get back into normal life and their sport.
In the winter of 1999 Jamie Andrew and Jamie Fisher were unexpectedly caught by a ferocious storm high on the North Face of the Droites in the French Alps. Despite valiant rescue efforts they were stuck for 8 days and tragically Fisher died whilst Andrew suffered horrendous frostbite, which resulted in quadruple amputation.
Jamie was probably not a lot different from other unfortunate amputees caused by war, land mines or a car accident. But he still had the drive and perhaps the need to climb. In Balance of Risk I tried to portray some of Jamie’s emotions and his determination never to give up as he gets back into rock climbing.