Bader Grant Recipient, Jesse Dufton, who is registered blind, takes on the terrifying Old Man of Hoy sea stack.
See the trailer of Climbing Blind, the incredible story of the first blind lead of the Old Man of Hoy, directed & produced by Alastair Lee in association with Montane – 60mins
Jesse Dufton was born with 20% central vision. At four years of age Jesse was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa: a rare genetic disease that breaks down the retinas’ cells. At aged 20 Jesse could no longer read, by the time he was 30 his vision was reduced to just light perception with around 1 or 2 % field of view. As a life long climber, Jesse flies in the face of adversity training for world cup events and leading traditional rock climbs with his sight guide and fiancee Molly. As his sight degenerates his climbing continues to make remarkable progress. Despite his devastating condition Jesse only takes on bigger challenges by attempting to be the first blind person to make a ‘non-sight’ lead of the iconic Old Man of Hoy sea stack in Scotland.
(I’m hoping to get hold of the link to follow up on this literal cliff-hanger so that we’re not all left in suspense…(!) In the meantime we can just watch and be awed. Fantastic achievement, Jesse.)
The Old Man of Hoy
Probably less than 250 years old, The Old Man of Hoy is a 449ft (137m) sea stack on Hoy, part of the Orkney archipelago off the north coast of Scotland. Formed from Old Red Sandstone, it is one of the tallest stacks in the United Kingdom. A painting by William Daniell (around 1817) shows the se stack with an arch forming two legs, and a smaller top section – a formation which gave rise to the name.
Sometime in the early nineteenth century, a storm washed away one of the legs leaving it much as it is today, although erosion continues. By 1992 a 40-metre (130 ft) crack had appeared in the top of the south face, leaving a large overhanging section that will eventually collapse.
Please click on the video link below to see the trailer and prepare to be impressed!