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.
Monkey See, Monkey Do from HotAches
The latest release from the multi-award winning Hot Aches Productions, the makers of E11 and Committed. This collection of four films features world class climbing from the UK, Canada and Madagascar.
Slate Monkeys (15 mins)Set in the post industrial landscape of disused Welsh slate quarries, three very different climbers battle their way up some unusual climbing. Matt Segal, Hazel Findlay and Johnny Dawes take it in turn to crimp, palm, squirm and wriggle their way up the esoteric route, Gin Palace. But whose technique will prove successful?
Single-Handed (20 mins)Kevin Shields is known as the 'one handed climber'. Despite being born with most of his left hand missing Kevin has shocked the climbing world with some daring and inspirational ascents. The film exposes Kevin's motivations and follows his progression through the climbing grades, culminating in a gripping and palm-sweating attempt to solo E6 in Glen Nevis.
Little Big-Walling in Madagascar (20 mins)The West Face of Karimbony in the Tsaranoro Massif is home to one of the world's hardest big-wall free climbs, “Tough Enough?”. James McHaffie and a team of top UK climbers head to Madagascar to find out if this route is indeed tough enough...
Hey Presto (8 mins)World class climber Sonnie Trotter teams up with world class belayer Cory Richards to take on the Squamish classic, 'Presto'. The film examines what it takes to belay on some the world's hardest climbs.