/ NEW ARTICLE: Break on Through by Kev Shields

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UKC Articles - on 14 May 2010
[Kevin Shields on Jahu, E6, Glen Nevis, 2 kb]In this passionate and intimate article, one handed climber Kev Shields reveals his often disturbing motivations for hard soloing.

I was attacked by two idiots with bricks... I was too old to be drinking and fighting in the street...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2754

Jamie Simpson on 14 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

Really honest and interesting article. Brutal at times which only adds to the intensity.

I often find reading article online incredible difficult but this one, not at all, I just read it in one go.

A real insight into why one person solo's and as ever as varied as climbing itself.

In reply to UKC Articles: An excellent, unpretenious and brutally honest piece of writing. Thanks Kev. Nowhere near at the same extremes, but I know exactly what you mean.
fimm on 14 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

Ouch. That is indeed a brutally honest article. Thank you.
Scarab9 - on 14 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

inspiring, terrifying, and fantastic article.
highclimber - on 14 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: No sign of stopping then?
BigJames on 14 May 2010 - host217-36-211-234.in-addr.btopenworld.com
In reply to UKC Articles:

Agreed ^ But, the poor guy sounds like he isn't out of that dark place yet, and by the sounds of it I don't think he is going to find peace until he dies doing what he loves or gets some therapy to help him out of this hole he seems to be in, it will probably always be "just one more solo" until the end comes.
highclimber - on 14 May 2010
In reply to BigJames: even the best soloists meet their maker: John Bachar for one!
In reply to highclimber: everyone meets their maker sooner or later - how you get to the meeting depends on how much fun you want first.

Nice article.
220bpm on 14 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

Wow, great piece of writing there. Huge respect for articulating your angels and demons in such a manner.

Stay in control dude :)
Michael Gordon - on 14 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great video, that slab looks absolutely desperate!
BelleVedere on 14 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

anyone else reminded of the Graeme Obree autobio?
Kev Shields - on 14 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: Cheers for the comments, always good to get feedback. Wasn't sure about how honest to be in writing this........

Kev
In reply to UKC Articles:

Thanks for sharing that Kev. Its great to hear the story behind the achievements. All too often its just a name, a route and a number - though I doubt the background to all significant ascents are quite as dark and compelling as yours. Keep pushing the envelope, you're an inspiration. But as the man says, stay in control and stay safe! Ta
emily roo - on 14 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: Nice one Kev! See you soon mayhap :D
royal - on 14 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:
Wow, that looks serious. Hats off to you for opening up like that as well. Awesome to see.
The Pylon King on 14 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

Compelling reading - thanks
aln - on 14 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: Kevins climbing achievements are remarkable. But the stuff about "her" sound whingey and grated a bit.
Byronius Maximus - on 15 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: Great article, best I've read on UKC to date.
Choss Weasel on 15 May 2010
In reply to Byronius Maximus: I agree. Definately the best article I've read on UKC.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Pittsburgh Windmill on 15 May 2010
In reply to aln: He's telling it like it is.
Choss Weasel on 15 May 2010
In reply to St. Paul Phantom: Agreed. He's articulating his thoughts and feelings. It's a refreshingly honest article.
tommyzero - on 16 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: Brutally honest, excellent achievement and a compelling article.

As someone that has had highs and lows in life I, without a doubt, would trade those highs and lows for a neutral and bland state any day. Each to their own though and godspeed Kev. It's always inspirational to see/hear what you've been doing.

All the best for the future.
Tom Knowles - on 17 May 2010
In reply to Kev Shields:

There is no virtue in leading a tormented life, and while you may feel you need the lows of your life to draw on, you would likely achieve far more if you let them go. A legacy of 10m routes and broken relationships is not a commendable one; if you feel it is then you have a perception problem. Start embracing the wider picture and you may find a longer-lasting meaning to your life. All the best, Tom.
tradmonkey - on 17 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:
Awesome article very insoiring makes you want to get out there and climb more.
stan on 18 May 2010 - inet04.unilever.com
In reply to UKC Articles:

Inspiring stuff...
Paul035 - on 18 May 2010
In reply to Tom Knowles:
> (In reply to Kev Shields)
>
> There is no virtue in leading a tormented life, and while you may feel you need the lows of your life to draw on, you would likely achieve far more if you let them go. A legacy of 10m routes and broken relationships is not a commendable one; if you feel it is then you have a perception problem. Start embracing the wider picture and you may find a longer-lasting meaning to your life. All the best, Tom.

I don't think he's claiming it as a commendable legacy or anything Tom. I think he's saying pushing himself soloing is his way of dealing with the lows. Some hit the bottle, drugs, crime, depression, he goes out and solo's E7. Personally I think thats impressive.

And who dictates what a commendable legacy is??!! Sensible job, house and family??? Surely every man chooses his own path...

Wrongfoot on 18 May 2010 - 172.21.105.138 [212.137.30.42]
In reply to Paul035:
> I don't think he's claiming it as a commendable legacy or anything Tom. I think he's saying pushing himself soloing is his way of dealing with the lows. Some hit the bottle, drugs, crime, depression, he goes out and solo's E7.
> And who dictates what a commendable legacy is??!! Sensible job, house and family??? Surely every man chooses his own path...

Indeed, but you don't *have* to be miserable when not climbing or regretful about sacrifices or depressed to be a great climber. There are a lot of very well-adjusted people at the pinnacle of our trad sport.

> Personally I think thats impressive.

The climbs are impressive, to me the mindset is less so. I doubt many people would like to see friends in the mental place that the writer seems to be inhabiting? I'm not judging though, and I don't just like articles with content that I can agree with or support completely. The piece seems honest and is certainly thought provoking, it's certainly no waste of bandwidth or the reader's time.

I'd hope the author can combine his level of climbing with a more content outlook outside of it, but we wish a lot of things for people that we really can't influence or change.
Ridge - on 19 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

As others have said, a brutally honest article. I'm actually feeling stunned after reading it. I've tremendous admiration for the writer, from both the climbing and the honesty in the article. I can't say it's uplifting, but it's certainly thought provoking.
omerta on 19 May 2010
In reply to Wrongfoot:
> (In reply to Paul035)
> [...]
>
>
>
> The climbs are impressive, to me the mindset is less so.

I can see what you're saying but if it wasn't for the mindset, he wouldn't be achieving the things that he's doing. From my own experience of disability, it *can* change your perspective on life so greatly that the 'normal' achievements, let alone the reduced version that many disabled people are condemned to consider their peak, leave you cold. Admittedly, Kev talks about his relationship breakdowns as being perhaps more of an impetus, but the desire to live life on his own terms, at whatever cost, strikes me as a more admirable life to lead than simply following the party line.
Skyfall - on 19 May 2010
In reply to Kev Shields:

I am not sure quite what to say except that it seemed one of the most honest, if a little uncomfortable, accounts of "why I climb" than any I've read. I can understand a lot of what you say and can only wish you all the best. And maybe an end to the need to solo at some not too distant point. At the end of the day, it's a numbers game and finding another outlet for your angst may be good.
Bink - on 20 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

Amazing, frank article.

I have shared this with a bunch of friends (climbers and non-climbers alike) as I think the issues with depression, drinking and ways to deal are a huge part of modern life. Obviously, Kev has way more to deal with than most and his story is very inspirational.
TradHolden - on 23 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: I think this is a great article. Compelling reading and I love the honesty. I think the brutality of this article comes with how unglorifying it is. It portrays a wretched existence constantly having to risk one's life to justify existing. Why doesn't the writer just MTFU and get over it? My interpretation of this article is simply escapism... There's a sense of desperation to try an justify why he broke up with "Her". I solo'd routes in this manner only to quickly realise that it doesn't solve anything (This was not due to a lack of male anatomy).

I stayed with my "Her"; couldn't be happier and now solo my routes for me, myself and I without all the teenage angst. ;-P

Interesting to see why people push themselves tho!
snomad - on 24 May 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

I've met Kevin briefly & watched him climb and he IS a really nice guy. His article was refreshing & brave - it's rare for people to admit fallibility these days, we're all so busy airbrushing ourselves on facebook, showing what craaaazy, interesting, fun filled lives we lead.

For me though, big highs & lows isn't an great long term strategy for enduring peace & happiness. You have to stop distracting yourself @ some point & face the demons head on. Get a book on CBT & get control of your head again.

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