Docs warn one-handed climber Kevin to quit the sport or risk being unable to walk.. but he’s still reaching for new heights

Posted: May 2, 2014 by kirisyko in Climbing, Rock Climbing
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A British daredevil has become one of the country’s best rock climbers – despite being born with only one hand and suffering from epilepsy.

A DAREDEVIL with one hand has become one of the country’s best rock climbers despite being told to stop by doctors.

Kevin Shields has scaled some of Britain’s toughest routes and was given the honour of lighting the flame on top of Ben Nevis in the run-up to the 2012 Paralympic Games.

The 35-year-old, who is from Ayrshire and now lives in Fort William, was born with a partially formed left hand and suffers from epilepsy but has refused to let it hold him back.

It has not been an easy journey and in January 2010 he was nearly killed when he fell 20 feet while grappling his way up a frozen waterfall.

His expeditions have also left his hand deeply scarred by frostbite and he has arthritis in his ankles.

Kevin said: “Doctors have told me that I should stop climbing as my injuries are getting worse, but it’s not just a sport, it’s a way of life.

“My fall in 2010 was really bad. I fell around 20 feet straight on to my ankles and carried on rolling another 20 feet. My friends thought I was dead.

“But I was up and about in no time and a few weeks after, I was back climbing again.”

He credits much of his success to his dad, a mountain walker who ­encouraged him to pursue his interests.

Kevin wanted to join the Army but was told he couldn’t. When he finally got a chance to join the TA at the age of 21, he developed epilepsy.

He then channelled what he called his “negative energy” into rock climbing, which he has done alone for 10 years.

He even had a partially-formed digit on his left hand removed to better fit his ­prosthetic ice axe.

Kevin has plenty of ­ambitions left, although he plans less risky climbs.

He said: “I’m not ­interested in difficult climbs any more. I’d rather put my name to discovering new routes.”

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