Kev Shields is a remarkable climber. For those who haven't come across him before, Kev was born with a partial left-hand with a thumb of sorts and epilepsy to boot. Last week Kev soloed his first E7, Firestone, a bold E7 on Hells Lum Crag in the Cairngorms.
"I went way past any possibility of down-climbing and remember thinking to myself that I was strangely happy to be in a position like this."
Firestone is on the lower slabs of Hells Lum and was put up by Julian Lines in August 1995. The guidebook describes it as being "devoid of holds and protection". The route was finally repeated by Gaz Marshall and Dave Macleod in July this year. Just to confirm its reputation, Gaz took the full run/slide/fall from the crux at 12m. By luck and good rolling technique, he managed to dust himself down and do the route later in the day. You can read about these ascents in Dave MacLeod's blog.
Acting on a tip off from Dave, Kev decided that this route represented a great opportunity for him to realise his ambition of soloing an E7. The recent dry weather in September gave him the opportunity and the video below details his exploits.
"I got to within one move of the good hold at the end and just as I tickled two fingertips onto a tiny hold my feet once again felt insecure, relax, keep going, no chance to quit now. I reach through by the skin of my teeth to the finishing hold, mantle and literally run the last few metres and it was just the best I've felt in years."
This film is just an extra on 'Monkey See, Monkey Do'. The main film about Kev is Single-Handed which will have it's world Premier at the EMFF on Oct 18th. The DVD will be on sale from Monday 19th Oct.
Kev Shields is sponsored by Wild Country.