On-Sight with out Sight: Blind Climber sends an excessive ‘forked lightning’ crack

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This stunning zigzag crack feature is right in this climber’s alley.

Jesse Dufton, a blind paraclimber, has made first ascents in the Arctic, climbed ice in Norway and was the first blind person to climb Scotland’s old man from Hoy. He also holds several medals from national indoor climbing competitions in the UK

This time around, Dufton doesn’t go the highest route or most of the pitches – he climbs to improve his grade. Dufton is together with his wife and climbing partner Molly Dufton in Yorkshire Grit in the British Heptonstall Quarry to conquer a 5.10c, his toughest route to date.

The Fork lightning crack is an E2 5c (5.10c) rated single pitch 24m trading route. It’s tough, but it’s a classic. “Is that the best grit crack in the UK?” The British Mountaineering Council teases in the film commentaries.

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Before climbing, his wife describes the way to him. But climbing is mostly physically – Shift your weight, read the stone, find the handles and know when to save strength. On the wall everything is up to him.

As well as pointing out which number Cam Dufton is holding, Molly Dufton is cool and calm on the ground and occasionally gives out words of encouragement like any other climbing partner. Like any other climber, Dufton uses hand jams and layback techniques, as well as some of his own techniques.

“What an amazing route,” said Dufton at the top.

Filmmaker Alastair Lee produced this video.

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Mary Murphy

From Mary Murphy

Mary is based in GearJunkie’s Denver, CO office. Her outdoor interests range from climbing to landscape photography to pack paddleboarding. If she’s not writing, you can most likely find her on top of a fourteen or at a local bakery.

Topics: climbing, rock

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