EVEN in a festival celebrating the adventurous spirit of explorers, Paul Pritchard’s story stands out as particularly inspirational. Doing It Scared is a short movie documenting a life-threatening injury the respected climber suffered on a Tasmanian cliff known as The Totem Pole in 1998. It is showing at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Brighton next month.

After a television-sized boulder struck Pritchard’s head from a height of 30 metres he was left with hemiplegia, a condition that means the sufferer has little to no feeling in the right side of their body. Eighteen years later, Pritchard returned to The Totem Pole in an attempt to climb the cliff once more. He tells EDWIN GILSON about the astonishing feat.

When did you have the idea to climb the mountain again after your accident?

Since I was able to walk again I’ve always liked to do an annual pilgrimage out to the cliff top. I never thought I’d be able to climb it, though. But then four years ago I started to think I could do it if I had a rope or something. I’ve only got the use of one arm, so I knew I’d have to design a system to climb with one arm. I did just that.

How soon were you able to walk again after the incident?

About a year after my accident I walked up a hill in Snowdonia. I was probably about five months in a wheelchair. For probably a year I was sporadically using it.

Once you’ve had an accident like that, it must be difficult not to think of all the things that could go wrong. How do you get over those fears?

I was scared but I’ve also learned from my time in the mountains that everybody gets scared, even animals. It is about doing it scared, which applies not just to climbing but many things in life.

The blurb for the film references your “never waning desire for adventure” but was there a time you thought you would never climb again?

Yes. I thought I might as well sell all my climbing gear. I went into a terrible depression for a while but it was a kind of circumstantial depression. With the aid of a physio I walked around the rehab centre and realised I had come so far. I thought then that I could get some semblance of a life back. I walked up my first hill in Wales about a year afterwards and climbed Kilimanjaro seven years afterwards.

You said there is “one singular reason to climb” – what is this?

I mean what the challenge can teach you about determination but also patience. I think the mountains are a great teacher. There is a lot of suffering involved in climbing mountains and you’ve got to accept that. It’s that acceptance that made it possible for me to manage what happened to me.

It must have been difficult to find that level of acceptance and inner peace and not become resentful towards the world though, I imagine?

I was never resentful. You have to try and understand what was going on – a brain injury is a really complex thing. Until I understood what was going on in my head it was difficult to know what was going on.

Does hemiplegia leave you completely bereft of feeling in the right side of your body to this day?

Not completely bereft. My arm is still paralysed. My hamstring is still paralysed but my quads aren’t, so it’s quite unbalanced.

Banff Mountain Film Festival, Brighton Dome, Church Street, Wednesday, January 25, 7.30pm, £15.50, call 01273 709709 or visit www.banff-uk.com