This page is a forum for Paul's writing. Occasionally, unpublished stories, reminiscences, or tall tales will appear.  At times, an excerpt from work in progress might tempt you to look for the magazine or book in which it will be published.  A previously published article, excerpt or story may appear on this page in the form in which it originally appeared... or it may have been lengthened or shortened into another version.

If you have any comments on any of the articles or books I've written, please feel free to contact me by clicking here.

Current Internet Writings:

The Broom of Allah
Shorty's Choice
Greenland Rocks (
First published in the premier issue of National Geographic Adventure Magazine, Spring 1999)

Excerpt: The East Face Poi

In mid-January 2000, I returned from a successful free climb of the main east face of Poi, the Tallest Big Wall in Africa.  With Todd Skinner, Steve Bechtel and Scott Milton, I spent a month in this remarkable region.  My story of our climb will appear in the August 2000 issue of National Geographic Adventure magazine.  The few paragraphs that follow are what are currently the opening of the story: 

Hemingway wrote: "In Africa a thing is true at first light and a lie by noon". Even though I'd spent the night sleeping in a hanging cot, more than a quarter-mile up Africa's tallest big wall, I wasn't attached to my safety rope. I sat up, swung my legs over the edge of my porta-ledge and stepped out onto the rocky floor of an immense, 70-foot tall x 30-foot wide x 40-foot deep, swiss cheese hole in the side of the most surreal monolith I have ever encountered.

South of the Jade Sea and across endless plains, the eye is compelled to stare at the looming bulk ahead, of a massive block-shaped stone sentinel.  This imposing form is Poi, unquestionably the showpiece of Kenya's northern mountains and the tallest monolith in Africa. The summit of this enormous, raised loaf of bread is defended by soaring 2,000-foot tall walls of ancient gneiss.  The sheer east face, as far as mountaineering challenges go, is Africa's great and secret climbing goal.

In 1998, I accompanied Todd Skinner, Scott Milton, Ed February and Andy de Klerk to Mali. There we established one of the world's finest and hardest long free climbs on an overhanging 1500-foot tall pinnacle. This short version of our story is currently appearing in Explorer's Journal.  A crew of friends who, delighting in the lingo of the film industry, call themselves "film scum," came with us and made a film entitled: Africa,  The Hand of Fatima.  This film is currently airing on Outdoor Life Network.

The Broom of Allah