Watch the World’s Best Blind Climber ‘Non-Sight’ Hard Routes in the UK

What’s ‘non-sighting’? Literally climbing blind. And Jesse Dufton onsights hard British trad climbs without the use of his eyes.

Trad climbing is hard enough for sighted people. Spotting nuances like constrictions in cracks for good jams, abrasive spots to paste your feet on the wall, and glancing up at the terrain to see what’s coming up next are all vital advantages. That’s not to mention fussing with gear — have you ever tried to tell whether a cam will hold a fall just by touching it?

Jesse Dufton does all that and more, overcoming a genetic condition that eventually left him unable to see his hand in front of his face. During a consistent career, he’s sent up to British trad grade E3, which can mean runout climbing up to 5.11. He’s even done first ascents in Greenland, and he competes worldwide for the British national team.

Culann O’Brien’s Climbers Crag features Dufton in a recent video. Check out his technique; speaking for myself, I could learn a thing or two from his footwork.

Curious to see more? Watch Dufton climb the iconic “Old Man of Hoy” in the award-winning documentary “Climbing Blind,” available for $4 on Dufton’s website.

Runtime: 8 minutes

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Sam Anderson
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Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.

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