British (dry)Tooling Series 2017


As the dates for the 21017 DTS were announced we caught up with all round climber and Ice/Dry tooling athlete Kev Shields to learn more about it as I know for some its not something you know much about or might want to know more.. especially if you think DryTooling sounds .. well.. just wrong…

McL:So Kev for those who don’t know what is Drytooling?

KS: “Dry tooling (in the comp sense) is using ice axes on resin holds.”

McL: What is the Drytooling series?

KS: “It’s 3 competitions in total s and all accumulated points won being added together at the end of the series to give an overall score.”

Joe Saunders competing in 2016 at Ice Factor (Kinlochleven)

McL:What are the dates and venues?

KS: “28th Oct at King Kong (Keswick) . 11th Nov at Rope Race Stockport 25th Nov at Ice Factor (Kinlochleven nr. Glencoe) (And my spiritual home for indoor ice – Ed)” . All details can be found at their website

McL: How can I sign up?

KS: “Booking ahead by calling the walls is the best way or you can take a chance and turn up on the day but be ware they can get very busy and you cold miss out.”

McL: Do I need to be some sort of mutant strongman to be able to drytool?

KS:  “Not at all. We have everyone turning up from total beginners through to GB Ice Climbing team members and sponsored climbers but it’s all about the banter and having fun. Beginners can learn a lot and everyone is really helpful and encouraging.”

McL :How would I train for it?

KS: “That depends, if you’re serious about trying to get on the podium you should probably be putting in the mileage on a homemade tooling specific training wall but when I first did comps I was only doing ice axe pull ups etc.”

Kev training on a home wall

McL: How did you get into it?

KS: “I was in Tiso many moons ago when I just started climbing and I saw a poster for the first DT comp in the UK, it looked cool and the guys there put me in touch with Scott Muir who was organising it and it all snowballed for me from there.”

McL: Who will be there ?

KS: “Haha, that depends on quite a few things, mostly what conditions are like on the hill. As I say though we have the full spectrum of the climbing world turning up every year.”

McL: Who won last year?

KS: “Adam Willison won the Men’s and Emma Powell won the Women’s. Both of whom are exceptionally strong and talented youngsters.”

McL:What’s in it for spectators?

KS: “There’s always some good falls (nice!)  to see and it’s just generally a cool day to hang out chatting to others. Sponsors have stands showing the latest gear and there’s always the party upstairs after the final at Ice Factor .. (below pic may either encourage or dissuade you but I can personally testify to the banter and laughs!.. also.. I’ll have what he’s having!)


Where can I find out more?

British Tooling Series have their own site, social media etc but you could always call any of the host walls. See you all there.


Kevin Shields is a Scottish based all-round climber, well known for his solo climbing over the past decade with routes up to E7 and M10+, all done with one hand and epilepsy. Kev continues to push his grades in all aspects of his climbing and now, being based back in Fort William he has the perfect playground right on his doorstep.

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