Man becomes first blind person to climb famous commando ridge in Cornwall

Credit: Lauren Bean

A rock climber has become the first blind person to scale the famous commando ridge in Cornwall.

John Churcher has a condition called Usher Syndrome which has caused his eyesight to deteriorate to about 3% vision.

John also became the first blind person to lead the climb, meaning he was at the front putting the safety measures in place.

John and his climbing partner and friend, Lauren Bean began the climb at around 11am on Monday 31 August. Credit: Lauren Bean

John and his climbing partner and friend, Lauren Bean began the climb at around 11am on Monday 31 August.

They reached the summit just after 8pm as light was fading.

It was such an awkward route for a blind person to climb but I’m proud I made it to the top.

John
John also became the first blind person to lead the climb, meaning he was at the front putting the safety measures in place. Credit: Lauren Bean

Lauren says, "The nature of the route meant that John was out of my sight as he climbed.

"He was on his own, with boulders to hop across, holds to find and protection to place. Despite fading light, we pushed on to reach the summit at just after 8pm.

"I’m super proud of what John has achieved. Commando ridge is not a route that lends itself well to a blind ascent."