Totem Pole (Tasmania)

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The Totem Pole
The Totem Pole and The Candlestick (35113792552).jpg
The Totem Pole and The Candlestick
Map showing the location of The Totem Pole
Map showing the location of The Totem Pole
Location Cape Huay
Coordinates 43°08′22″S 148°00′21″E / 43.13938°S 148.00579°E / -43.13938; 148.00579
Route Type Trad climb
Vertical Gain 65 metres (213 ft)
Pitches 2
Rating 24  (The Free Route)
First ascent John Ewbank and Allan Keller, 1968
First free ascent Doug McConnel and Dean Rollins

The Totem Pole is a sea stack at popular amongst rockclimbers in the Tasman National Park, Tasmania, Australia. It contains a number of climbing routes, and is famous for being the site of the 1998 accident which caused climber Paul Pritchard's hemiplegia.[1][2]

First Ascent[edit]

The Totem Pole was first climbed in 1968 by John Ewbank and Allan Keller[3][4] and freed by Doug McConnel and Dean Rollins.[5]

Lynn Hill attempted the first onsight, but fell after breaking a hold, leaving Monique Forestier to onsight it a few years later.

Paul Pritchard's accident[edit]

Paul planned on climbing the Totem Pole in 1998 with his partner Celia when, after abseiling down, his rope caught a large rock which fell 30ft onto his head. Celia spent three hours before running 8km back to Fortescue Bay to call for help. He survived on the ledge for 8 hours before he was rescued and was left paralysed on his left side and with speech and memory difficulties. He later wrote a book about the experience and returned in 2016 to complete the climb.[6][7]

Rock Type[edit]

Tasmania is known for it's igneous dolerite pillars, which are popular amongst climbers.[8] These pillars were formed by volcanic activity extruding magma from the ground, which when cooled at a constant rate creates rare hexagonal pillars.[9] These form via a slightly different mechanism to usual sea-stacks, and can be found at other rock-climbing sites around the state including Mount Wellingtons Organ Pipes.