Kev is based in Fort William reckoning the quality of climbing in the West Highlands is worth putting up with the terrible weather. He works in Nevisport part time and lives in an old school climbers doss. He is an all rounder and lives for climbing at any time of the year. Having spent the last decade soloing he reached his lifetime ambitions of soloing E7 and M10+. Now he has changed focus a bit to using ropes but still on bold lines as that is what he finds most satisfying. He has also won the Scottish Mixed Masters competition and was ranked 52nd in the world after his one and only entrance to the Ice World Cup. One of his passions is new routing having done so on Scottish rock, English chalk and Italian ice and he has a notebook full of potential things to do here and abroad. Perhaps it should be mentioned that all this is done with one hand, epilepsy and chronic arthritis of his foot.
"Since I climbed 'Frustration' E5 6a out past Glenfinnan back in Nov 2010 I've been wondering about doing a direct finish to the route, straight up the slab! Today that eventually became a reality. We left the Fort at 7 this morning to get in before the rock got too warm and it worked out well. I've been on the route a few times since moving back up the other week and I knew it was time to get back on the serious sharp end if I want to climb E8 before my next operation.
The first time I top roped it today felt a bit iffy so I was having slight reservations but got on a second time and it felt as good as these things do. I knew on the route there were a few moves that I couldn't afford to make any mistakes, I suppose that's why it appealed to me. I decided the best course of action was to just go for it. I listened to 3 tunes on my ipod, got into my headspace, tied in and set off.
I climbed up to where the E5 goes left, took a few seconds and committed to getting to the only gear placement as I knew I could bottle it there in relative safety. I placed the wire and the semi good cam, no need to think too much, this is all I want in life. Climbing up past the first crux felt great, better than on top rope, I've really missed that feeling of utter focus and commitment. The tiny holds are just enough for me to balance my way up, into fingertip hand holds and toe smears but it feels easy in comparison with what's ahead.
I reach the real 'on/off' crux and move quickly so as not to let the fear build, right toe on a tiny smear, part of left hand pushing down on a sloper I become totally enveloped by the climb. I reach slowly and carefully high with my right hand and get the small but positive hold.Not far to go, relax, for god sake hope my left hand doesn't sweat in the growing heat.
Reaching the last section I chillout and chalk up, pull up, switch feet on another smear using small hand holds, get the 2 finger nails on and go for the final hold, get it and feel totally alive."[gallery link="file"]
Photos by Glenda Anderson.