Paul was one of Britain’s leading climbers and mountaineers in the 1980s and 1990s, known for his hard and daring first ascents. He has a legacy of routes all over the world, from the Himalaya to Baffin Island, Patagonia to the UK, and has won numerous prizes for his literary works, Deep Play, The Totem Pole and The Longest Climb.
Paul grew up in Lancashire and started climbing at the age of 16. Within a few years he was developing some of the hardest routes in the country, including Perimeter Walk (E7 6b), Strawberry Kiss (E7 6b), Soot Monkey (E6 6c) and Pretentious Gallery (E5 6b) at Wilton One in Lancashire, and playing an important role in the early exploration of crags, including Malham.
In 1986, at the beginning of the Slate boom and the Gogarth revival, 19-year-old Paul moved to Llanberis in North Wales and made early repeats of the new slate test pieces, including the terrifyingly bold Raped by Affection (E7 6c), with its first bolt at 22 metres, and the daring and technical Dawes of Perception (E7 6c). He also added some of his own slate routes, such as I Ran The Bath (E7 6b), Bathtime (E5 6a), Wishing Well (E6 6b) and Cure For A Sick Mind (E6 6b).
However, it was on the sea cliffs of Gogarth that Paul was most active. On these infamous and committing Anglesey cliffs Paul established an incredible number of new routes, including The Enchanted Broccoli Garden (E7 6b), Schittlegruber (E6 6b), Come To Mother (E7 6a, although this route no longer exists), Heart of Gold Direct (E6 6a), Salem (E5 6a), Unrideable Donkey (E7 6b) and Super Calabrese, a three-pitch E8 6b still considered to be one of the most serious climbs in the UK.