Tuesday 25 September 2007

Kevin Shields interview

I asked Kevin some questions for this blog after his solo of Fast & Furious:

You are really into soloing – what’s its appeal above roped climbing? Has it changed as you’ve gained experience as a soloist?

The appeal of soloing for me is pretty simple in that I find doing dangerous stuff very cathartic, its all about exorcising the demons.....:) It has changed me a lot for the better, if I hadn't found climbing such a release I dread to think where my life could've went!!

Do you feel that the solo of Fast & Furious is your hardest piece of climbing to date? (if not what was?)

I think technically it is one of the hardest things I've soloed but I've felt way more at risk soloing some of my new routes, also End Game E3 at Longhaven felt quite out there in the conditions we climbed it in.

How do you feel about your disability in your climbing? Do you feel it’s important that the difference is recognised when you climb a given grade or level, or do you prefer that it’s not part of the story?

My disability really annoys me sometimes but I've began to cope better with it now, though it took a long time to accept the limitations. In an ideal world it wouldn't need to be mentioned but I think it helps when people understand that there is a lot of extra effort goes into climbing when you have any digits or limbs missing.

How well does your left tool work for you compared to your right?

It works just well enough to do the job, the guys at Strathclyde Uni prosthetics have been great over the last 8 years in helping to develop and build my axes. I cant do things like swap axes etc and stein pulls hurt like hell and put me at risk of snapping my arm which has nearly happened a couple of times.....

What was going through your mind during the F&F solo?

During solos I try keep my mind as still and empty as possible (which isn't hard) but I find It’s what I try think of before solos which will gets me in the right frame of mind to go for it....

I know some climbers have given you the impression they think your soloing is pretty dangerous. What do you think of that?

I know what I do is dangerous and as one very accomplished Scottish climber told me "it’s a numbers game". Recently I've tried to calm down with the amount of soloing etc that I do but I cant seem to walk away from it just yet, there’s just too much I want to do.

What are your climbing ambitions coming up?

I have my eye on a few things that if I manage them will hopefully make it easier to stop taking as many risks.

More about Kev's climbing on the hotaches site under Kev's tag

1 comment:

  1. Dave

    Firstly Hi.

    I watched with great interest the great climb last night. I have met you in person at GCC and have to say that it never ceases to amaze me the ability that you have.

    I would like to comment by saying that I would have edited the program differently, although it was the first that I have seen shot in this way.
    Personally I feel that it did not give the full extent of just how difficult the climb you were attempting was. Other that to reiterate through speech how hard it was and that you may kill yourself if you had fallen. To a novice or untrained eye then it would not have held much suspense.

    This said I enjoyed the program and only wish that there were more like it to advance the sport.

    Regards and continued success
    Iain Chalmers