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NEWS: Climbing Blind on BBC Four at 9pm

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 UKC News 20 May 2020
A spectacular angle near the top of the Old Man of Hoy

Alastair Lee's award-winning film Climbing Blind is to be broadcast on BBC Four tonight at 9pm. The film follows Jesse Dufton who was born with 20% central vision and diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at the age of 4. Jesse is a lifelong climber and spends his time training for World Cups and climbing with his fiancee and sight guide Molly.



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 adam06 20 May 2020
In reply to UKC News:

thats crazy, i was expecting seconding... but leading blind.... i get lost on routes and i can see!

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 tjdodd 20 May 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Well, that was rather good. 

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 Ridge 20 May 2020
In reply to tjdodd:

Bloody hell, I was terrified just watching him!

What an inspiring guy, and what a wonderful wife and climbing partner.

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 PJD 20 May 2020
In reply to Ridge:

Just awesome.

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 hang_about 20 May 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Chapeau!

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 djwilse 20 May 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Very good programme. I think I used more virtual chalk watching it than Free Solo - maybe because I could possibly imagine being able to climb the route (and yet couldn’t even begin to imagine doing it blind). Crazy stuff.

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In reply to UKC News:

Amazing. Almost impossible to conceive of doing the climbing let alone placing and trusting the protection 

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In reply to UKC News:

Wow. 

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In reply to UKC News:

A really good watch that. A bit surprised the Guardian reviewer Rebecca Nicholson only gives it three stars and then goes on to say how good it was in the text.

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/may/20/climbing-blind-review-a-tale-of-tenacity-adaptation-and-hope

Alan

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 Andy Hardy 21 May 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Has Rebecca done anything on grit? 

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In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> A really good watch that. A bit surprised the Guardian reviewer Rebecca Nicholson only gives it three stars and then goes on to say how good it was in the text.

Given that most non-climbers seem to think that all climbing is completely crazy, it is probably impossible for them to appreciate just how stratospherically bonkers this seemed to actual experienced climbers. I'm not sure I've ever watched something so ridiculously dangerous looking as the long chossy, slimy, run out pitch (I thought it was pretty gripping with sight!). Just as sickening (in a good way) to watch as Free Solo. 

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In reply to UKC News:

Great film that. I liked the scene setting from Alastair Lee, just enough to give it context. More context than if the 4th wall hadn't been broken. The surrounding stuff was nicely done, stuff like him walking into the bush outside his house - a path he's surely walked a billion times, and sets up the craziness of the task. The File - tidy lead. Sloth - crazy. The Rasp - most of us are rightly scared of this because we can see it 

I was really aware of the clock ticking and the daylight ebbing as they got higher, till I realised it's pretty much dark for Jesse all the time. What an adventure.

Just a shame he carried that massive cam all the way without getting to use it.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

> Given that most non-climbers seem to think that all climbing is completely crazy, it is probably impossible for them to appreciate just how stratospherically bonkers this seemed to actual experienced climbers. I'm not sure I've ever watched something so ridiculously dangerous looking as the long chossy, slimy, run out pitch (I thought it was pretty gripping with sight!). Just as sickening (in a good way) to watch as Free Solo. 

That is true and there is often a danger with climbing films of making out that trad leading is always dicing with death. I thought this film got close to that in places, although for the experienced climber the context was that we have difficulty enough trusting runners we can see. That subtlety might well have been lost on the non-climbing audience particularly if the last thing they saw was Free Solo.

Alan

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 JamButty 21 May 2020
In reply to UKC News:

what an ace programme really inspirational and heart warming.

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 slacky 21 May 2020
In reply to UKC News:

What a brilliant climber Jesse is and what a special relationship he and Molly have, absolutely incredible.

Very well shot film and one I can see me watching again in the future.

I will never complain about not being able to see a hold again!

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 Barrington 21 May 2020
In reply to UKC News:

A very impressive film & ascent, but as I can relate to The Sloth; Jesse leading that blind was to me completely out of this world!

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 Ridge 21 May 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I'm not sure I've ever watched something so ridiculously dangerous looking as the long chossy, slimy, run out pitch (I thought it was pretty gripping with sight!). Just as sickening (in a good way) to watch as Free Solo. 

More so I thought.

In Free Solo I was thinking "**** me, that's a long way down" and got the sick feeling on the very sketchy move, but Honnolds total composure and control was evident throughout.

In Climbing Blind, (and this isn't in any way critical of Jesse), I was acutely aware that in many places on Hoy he seemed right at the limit, physically and mentally.

I can't comprehend Honnold, but I know what it feels like to be off balance, getting pumped and really, really needing to get some gear in before it all goes horribly wrong. I had that feeling a lot of the time last night, it was much more visceral than watching Free Solo.

Best thing I've watched this year, a fabulous and inspirational couple, but I felt bloody relieved at the end!

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 Tom V 21 May 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I don't quite get the need to play down the risk in climbing, trad leading in particular. Since the lockdown there have been numerous comments on UKC about it being no more dangerous than a round of golf or a walk in the park, I think in an attempt to justify cragging when people were critical of any risk of calling out the emergency services.

But is seems daft to play down the risk too much. On anything bigger than a twenty foot route the leader is risking death or permanent injury and the availability of modern equipment only lessens this risk; it cannot remove it altogether.  So I was pleased to hear a well respected and immensely talented climber explain that leading trad is incredibly dangerous when compared to seconding, even "exponentially " more dangerous. (Though I expect a few will want to put him right about the precise meaning of the word, UKC being what it is    )

It might not always be dicing with  death but I think it's good to try to teach a wider audience the difference between various forms of climbing. The Olympics would have been a good start.

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In reply to Tom V:

> I don't quite get the need to play down the risk in climbing, trad leading in particular.

I strongly disagree. We get calls from the mainstream press frequently when there is an accident and they are always after the salacious details. They lump together high-altitude mountaineering with all other forms of climbing and assume that we are all putting ourselves in the same level of risk that someone doing a Himalayan summit push is every time we go climbing. They can't get their heads around solo climbing at all and are eager to pass off all climbers as nutters who dice with death every time they go climbing.

Unless you do that activity then you will never be able to appreciate the subtle differences between the different forms and styles. Non-climbers will always exaggerate the experience since they seem to find the need of putting themselves into the position and imagining how sacred they would be. If we keep telling them that it is really dangerous then that will just confirm and enhance their preconceived ideas.

This has knock-on effects. It took a lot of work for insurance companies to acknowledge there was a difference between an alpine ascent and sport climbing in Spain. Climbing walls find it hard enough to get insurance without the non-climber decision-makers thinking that we are all death-defying psychos. Landowners with crags will think twice at allowing access if the danger level is exaggerated as it surely would be.

Besides all that, I don't personally feel that it is such a dangerous activity when I go out. I know what I am doing and I am careful. I expect most of us feel like that otherwise we probably wouldn't do it.

Alan

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 Sean Kelly 21 May 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

And then we have the John Allen tragedy this last week. Are we ever really all that safe. Risk will always be a part of climbing to a greater or lesser degree. I bet we can all recall some circumstance when we thought , 'hey that was close' but we walked away unscathed. I can understand when trying to explain to a non-climber that we really are quite safe and any risk is minimal. But then again I have lost so many friends. We can never be too careful even when soloing.

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In reply to Sean Kelly:

> And then we have the John Allen tragedy this last week. Are we ever really all that safe. Risk will always be a part of climbing to a greater or lesser degree. I bet we can all recall some circumstance when we thought , 'hey that was close' but we walked away unscathed. I can understand when trying to explain to a non-climber that we really are quite safe and any risk is minimal. But then again I have lost so many friends. We can never be too careful even when soloing.

Absolutely, we can never be too careful as this week's events have tragically illustrated. 

That is a different point though to how we portray the activity to the wider world which is where I maintain we are better off not sensationalising the danger levels.

Alan

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 Tom V 21 May 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I'm all for explaining to outsiders the differences between different aspects of climbing and with that in mind it is useful to differentiate the risk level between trad leading and seconding, or trad leading and sport climbing. It seems false to pretend that the risks are not significantly greater when leading a trad route, whether talking to the man in the street or those in the know.  I don't think that pointing out that trad leading is much more dangerous than seconding is senationalising anything: I would call it a fact and not an opinion.

Yes as a general rule I usually felt things weren't too risky when leading but there are several occasions in my memory when things didn't go as smoothly as planned and I felt I was only a move away from death or serious injury. I assumed that was part of a trad climber's lot.

Post edited at 15:50
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 John2 21 May 2020
In reply to Tom V:

I don't have the exact figures, but I have read a number of items such as this one which states, 'Overall, climbing sports had a lower injury incidence and severity score than many popular sports, including basketball, sailing or soccer'.

 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/45198321_Evaluation_of_Injury_and_Fatality_Risk_in_Rock_and_Ice_Climbing

Alan is quite correct in saying that people assume rock climbing to be dreadfully dangerous to a large extent because they don't know anything about the sport. I recently had a very tedious conversation with someone who would not accept that the reason I go climbing is not because I have a death wish. Rock climbing is also far safer than motor cycling.

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In reply to Tom V:

> I don't think that pointing out that trad leading is much more dangerous than seconding is senationalising anything: I would call it a fact and not an opinion.

Potentially more dangerous. Not necessarily more dangerous. I think it is an important distinction.

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 eroica64 21 May 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Neil Gresham climbing The Sloth blindfolded was simply outstanding. Dufton's lead was gobsmacking; E2 training for the E1 Old Man. Watching him being led down the approach slopes was near-traumatic - no protection against a slip at all; madness. The admiration factor was sky-high. If he can do that with his abilities then why the fcuk am I bumbling about like I am?  Great, great film.

Post edited at 17:48
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 Tom V 21 May 2020
In reply to John2:

I'm sure you are aware that, up until  Challenger , space flight was a safer form of travel than air travel. If you wanted to present the statistics to show it was.

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 Tom V 21 May 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Take soloing as an example  Do you consider it more or less dangerous than top roping or only "potentially" more dangerous, and does the "distinction" only apply if you fall off?

Post edited at 19:22
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 ROFFER 21 May 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> A really good watch that. A bit surprised the Guardian reviewer Rebecca Nicholson only gives it three stars and then goes on to say how good it was in the text.

> Alan

That's because it didn't have Phoebe Waller Bridge in it.

Excellent film and genuinely gripping. As others have said, palms as sweaty as when watching Free Solo.

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 Tom V 24 May 2020
In reply to steveriley:

It was a brilliant piece of film making ,and I'll probably get accused of being churlish for asking,  but why has no-one, as far as i can see, mentioned 25.50?

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 Ridge 24 May 2020
In reply to Tom V:

> It was a brilliant piece of film making ,and I'll probably get accused of being churlish for asking,  but why has no-one, as far as i can see, mentioned 25.50?

25 and a half what?

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 Neil Foster Global Crag Moderator UKC Supporter UKC Supporter 24 May 2020
In reply to Tom V:

> ...but why has no-one, as far as i can see, mentioned 25.50?

Oh yeah! I noticed that.

I couldn’t believe it either.  Imagine being blind and setting off up The Sloth with just the one piece of pre-placed gear.

Outrageous...

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 Tom V 24 May 2020
In reply to Ridge:

25.50 seconds in shows Jesse on the crux of the Sloth. 

Later on in the film Alistair Lee talks about the moral dilemma of film makers: whether they should get involved and, for instance in Jesse's case, point out an obvious runner placement or handhold that might have been missed or give a warning when straying too far off route.

What he doesn't mention is the pre-placing of gear .  I'm puzzled as to why it was thought invalid to  pre-place a good runner somewhere in the coffin pitch on the Old Man or on that horribly run out slabby section after, yet OK to have a big cam in situ for him to clip when tackling the crack on the lip of the Sloth's roof. i've just watched it again and wasn't imagining things.

None of this should be seen as a detraction from Jesse's fantastic achievement: I just wonder why he needed a bit of help on one route but not elsewhere.

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 Tom V 24 May 2020
In reply to Neil Foster:

 Sarcasm noted.

Not outrageous at all , eminently sensible, Why not do the same on the OLd Man, where the risks seemed at least as bad on some sections?

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 Rob Parsons 24 May 2020
In reply to Tom V:

I noticed exactly the same thing, but have been worried about mentioning it here for fear of being thought churlish.

I really enjoyed the film, and have huge respect for the overall efforts of the people involved - but still am curious about this detail.

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 Rob Parsons 24 May 2020
In reply to Neil Foster:

> Oh yeah! I noticed that.

> I couldn’t believe it either.  Imagine being blind and setting off up The Sloth with just the one piece of pre-placed gear.

Hang on, Neil. This is really just a question of telling it like it really is. The achievement of climbing the thing blind is not in doubt.

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 cragtyke 24 May 2020
In reply to Tom V:

Tom, not sure when it was filmed but there was a stuck cam there for a while last summer.

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 Jamie Wakeham 24 May 2020
In reply to Tom V:

I'm not at all sure if it was pre-placed, or if the film simply didn't show him placing it? He seemed pretty competent at placing cams.  I wonder if it just took him a while to fiddle it in and they edited it out.

On a tangent, is he seen placing anything apart from a cam at all? I get why he'd favour them.

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 Tom V 24 May 2020
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Cragtyke is probably on the mark: stuck cam from a different time so Jesses clips it as advised by  Molly.

It's in shot while he is quite a few feet below it. (25.05)

Post edited at 21:35
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 Jesse Dufton 24 May 2020
In reply to Tom V:

You are spot on...the cam was in-situ when we arrived at the crag. Molly spotted it from below and obviously I clipped it on the way past... If it hadn't of been there, I would have placed my own cam. I've never had gear pre-placed for me.

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 Tom V 24 May 2020
In reply to Jesse Dufton:

No slight intended, Jesse, as I said before. It seemed odd to have pre-placed gear there but not in even more hairy situations. All makes sense now.

To be honest I was most on edge watching you on the descent.

Spectacular television in every way.

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 Rob Parsons 24 May 2020
In reply to Jesse Dufton:

Thanks for the clarification. I very much enjoyed the film. All the best to you.

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 steve taylor 25 May 2020
In reply to UKC News:

I was gripped through most of the programme -  more so that Free Solo, even though we all know the outcome of both adventures.

What made it more gripping is that we can all relate to what Jesse was doing as these routes have been climbed by many of us. When he was walking to the base of The Rasp I was dumbfounded and was then willing him on with every move. As someone has already mentioned - it's bad enough when you can see the route from the base. Imagine stepping onto it only knowing it's "a bit steep"!!! Neil Gresham clearly struggled on The Sloth and visibly relaxed when he removed the blindfold. He also looked like a complete punter on the little boulder at the start of the piece (sorry Neil). For both of these climbs Neil also had the benefit of seeing them before being blindfolded - Jesse doesn't even get that.

The scramble to the base of the Old Man was gripping too - Leo recommended a short-rope, but Jesse just got on with it and got to the base seemingly as quickly as most sighted people. As for doing the route itself - has to be one of the best climbing achievements ever!

Well done Alastair Lee - you must have been as gripped as the team filming Honnold. But most of all, what an astounding achievement for Jesse and Molly - what a team!

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 michaelb1 26 May 2020
In reply to UKC News:

An inspirational film, and a tribute to Jesse's  determination and courage and the calm support of Molly.

IMO however Leo Houldings indoor inverted baseball cap was utterly unjustifiable. 

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