Jesse Dufton in action on the Old Man of Hoy

Jesse Dufton in action on the Old Man of Hoy

The Orcadian sea stack the Old Man of Hoy has been a climbing magnet for decades, since Chris Bonington, Rusty Baillie and Tom Patey made the first ascent in 1966.

Sir Chris Bonington returned to the 137m (449ft) sandstone tower to mark his 80th birthday with a climb, accompanied by Leo Houlding.

Catherine Destivelle posted the first solo ascent of the stack while four months pregnant and in 1967 Bonington returned to climb the distinctive coastal feature in a live televised broadcast with Patey, along with Joe Brown, Ian McNaught-Davis, Pete Crew and Dougal Haston.

Now television viewers will have the opportunity to see another remarkable ascent of the Old Man, by blind climber Jesse Dufton.

BBC Four will screen Al Lee’s film Climbing Blind at 9pm on Wednesday.

The inspirational movie documents the first lead climb of the stack by a blind rock-climber.

Montane-sponsored athlete Dufton was born with just 20 percent central vision and at four years old was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that breaks down the retina’s cells.

By the age of 20 he could no longer read, and at 30 years old his vision was reduced to just light perception with around one or two percent field of view.

Montane said: “A lifelong climber, Jesse flies in the face of adversity, and as his sight degenerates his climbing continues to make remarkable progress.”

A member of the GB Para-climbing Team, he trains for World Cup events and leads traditional rock-climbs with his sight guide and fiancée – now wife – Molly.

Jesse Dufton said: “Climbing Blind documents some of the hardest and most iconic ascents of my climbing career to date.

“I am thrilled that it will be reaching a broader audience as the story engages non-climbers and climbers alike. I hope it will motivate people to chase down challenges of their own.”

Matt Hickman, the marketing manager at outdoors brand Montane, said: “Jesse is an inspiration to all of us and his endeavour to literally feel his way up the Old Man of Hoy is the embodiment of Montane’s brand philosophy, Go Further. Faster.”

London househusband Red Széll became the first blind man to climb the Old May of Hoy in 2013, at the age of 41. He was supported in his successful ascent of the stack by climbers Martin Moran and Nick Carter.

But Jesse Dufton’s ascent was the first by a blind man leading the route, feeling his way for holds as he made his way up the stack.

Climbing Blind won the grand prize at last year’s Kendal Mountain Film Festival last year.

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