/ NEW ARTICLE: Return to Indian Face by James McHaffie

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UKC Articles - on 09 Sep 2013
James McHaffie Top Trump, 6 kbDespite a near death experience on the wall over a decade prior, when James strayed off route climbing onsight on the E7 Masters' Wall, he was drawn back to this blank slab on Cloggy, making the fastest and least practiced ascent of Indian Face to date.

Here James McHaffie tells his story...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=5736

johncoxmysteriously - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles:

Very good Ė never seen JM writing before, but evidently he can do it. Strange how rare it is to find a truly inarticulate climber, compared to say footballers.

So is this filed-down 6 wire that should be present, but isnít, the one good piece of gear Masters was always supposed to have, then?

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Oh yea, btw, what ever happened to Patch Hammond? You don't hear about him any more.

(and btw I don't think Ryan P did exactly 'onsight multiple grit E8s', did he? If you want to get fussy about what 'onsight' means, I'm not sure he's done any.)

jcm
jamiev on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles:

Harrowing, honest and compelling. A good read.
pasbury on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles:

The climb retains it's bewitching allure.

Where else can you stare death so unblinkingly in the face?
mattwilk - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles:
Best thing I've read in ages, feel physically sick! A truly harrowing read, closest I think I want to get to this route!
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Dave Macleod almost gave the impression that the crucial bits of gear were OK, but then I've got this hunch that he's probably one of the most skilful placers of climbing gear on this planet.
tmawer - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles:

Brilliant article. Loved his openess and honesty about it.
mountain.martin - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles:

This series of articles has been the best stuff I've read on UKC, well done to the authors and UKC.
Adam Long - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously)
>
> Oh yea, btw, what ever happened to Patch Hammond? You don't hear about him any more.

Patch lives in London with a lingerie designer and their son, and works in rope access. He climbs a bit but not seriously.

> (and btw I don't think Ryan P did exactly 'onsight multiple grit E8s', did he? If you want to get fussy about what 'onsight' means, I'm not sure he's done any.)

If you want to 'get fussy' I doubt anyone has ever onsighted a hard grit route. I tend to draw the line where someone has made any effort to get beta on something. Ryan also has a famously bad memory - he forgot he'd done Brad Pit once. By any measure though, his record of hard grit onsights/flashes is unequalled.
Michael Gordon - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to Adam Long:

When James Pearson did End of the Affair he said the hardest thing about it was avoiding beta! I took this as meaning he'd deliberately avoided watching Hard Grit, as others who had watched it just claimed a flash?
Michael Gordon - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles:

Interesting to hear McHaffie's thoughts on the extent to which standards have moved on over the last 30ish years.

I don't think Dawes pre-practiced the upper section of Gaia when he did it - almost an E8 flash?
Misha - on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles:
So, turns out James is looking for a desk job these days. He can have mine for a couple of years if I could get half his climbing ability in return!
cha1n on 09 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles:

Excuse my ignorance, I am not a trad climber but if my life was on the line, I'd be tempted to drop a bag of weights (or similar) onto the gear from a 'worst case scenario' position first to make sure I'd survive a fall.

Is this not cricket?
Jonny2vests - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to cha1n:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
>
> Excuse my ignorance, I am not a trad climber but if my life was on the line, I'd be tempted to drop a bag of weights (or similar) onto the gear from a 'worst case scenario' position first to make sure I'd survive a fall.
>
> Is this not cricket?

People have done it. Seb Grieve did it on Parthian Shot and was criticized because it wasn't the most solid of placements; Will Stanhope decked a couple of years ago on that route because he blew the placement out.

I think Team America drop tested the ballnut on The Promise? But they did it by jumping off onto it!
Michael Gordon - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to cha1n:

If the placements look shit then what's the point? They could hold one fall then blow the next. Better just to make sure you don't fall at all.
Jonny2vests - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
>
> Interesting to hear McHaffie's thoughts on the extent to which standards have moved on over the last 30ish years.
>
> I don't think Dawes pre-practiced the upper section of Gaia when he did it - almost an E8 flash?

I thought it was some welcome sanity from one that knows. He certainly seems to have silenced I the usual chunterings from old soldiers re standards not improving.
Graham Hoey - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to cha1n)
> [...]
>
Seb Grieve did it on Parthian Shot and was criticized because it wasn't the most solid of placements;

Seb Grieve has stated that he did not drop test the placements, so I'd be interested to know where you have got this information from.

cheers
Graham
johncoxmysteriously - on 10 Sep 2013
In reply to Graham Hoey:

Maybe he's thinking of John Dunne doing it on - er -, whatever JD's grit flick was called, on, er, that slopey thing in Yorkshire somewhere.

It's one thing to do it where you think the gear might come out of a placement in solid rock and/or you want to see how close to the ground the drop test comes. It's another where what is at issue is whether the rock will break. Drop testing the latter is most definitely, as Neil G would say, not tennis.

jcm
Michael Gordon - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

I thought Seb just managed to take repeated falls before topping out?

Also thought the problem may have been Will Stanhope used cams while earlier ascents used nuts?
John Gillott - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

John Dunne thinks Seb drop tested the gear:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3828

I've read about it elsewhere as well, but am struggling to remember.
Peter Walker on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to John Gillott: At the time of Grieve's ascent he was quoted in the mags as saying his drop testing had involved an empty rucksack, just to check the clearance on the fall. He also said it'd be daft to risk ruining the route by using a loaded rucksack.

Dunne was very positive about that ascent at the time, praising Grieve for his persistence. The idea that he thought Grieve had load tested the flake only came up after Will Stanhope's accident.
Peter Walker on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Peter Walker: Oh, and as JCM mentioned it is the same John Dunne seen merrily testing the gear on what became Carmen Picasso at Gorple by dropping a rucksack full of rocks onto it.
Dave Garnett - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Peter Walker:
> He also said it'd be daft to risk ruining the route by using a loaded rucksack.

He also says in Hard Grit that the flake was OK or, at least, much better than many people who hadn't actually looked at it closely assumed.
JLS on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles:

Another good read.

Cheers.
pasbury on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to cha1n:

I don't think it's a good idea to start drop testing the gear on Indian Face. You could easily blow some of the placements (maybe affect some holds too)?
It might create a false sense of security too. Leave the aura intact.
eroica64 - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles: This has been a brilliant set of articles and podcasts about a stupendous route. Inspirational stuff - well done UKC as a previous poster said.
Skyfall - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles:

Excellent article.

It's almost as though James is warning people (eg. Pete, or DJViper..) not to try an onsight.

As someone in my (late) 40's, I have no inclination (or talent!).

But seriously, a brilliant and funny look at the motivations and desires associated with such an iconic and bold route.
Jonny2vests - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Graham Hoey:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
> [...]
> Seb Grieve has stated that he did not drop test the placements, so I'd be interested to know where you have got this information from.
>
> cheers
> Graham

I read it in an article which Jack Geldard wrote which quotes John Dunne:

"When Seb selfishly loaded bags and drop tested the gear that he had pre-placed in the flake, for me that showed a real lack of respect for the route and for the flake, which could have ripped off - leaving a defunct route."

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3828

Apologies to Seb if it's bollocks.
Graham Hoey - on 11 Sep 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

Thanks Jon,
I suspected that was the source, but wondered if there was another source.

Graham
ads.ukclimbing.com
Sean Kelly - on 25 Sep 2013
In reply to UKC Articles: Wonderful article. Well written and thought provoking. How can 'Sport' ever compare to 'Trad'? The only other climb that has captured the climbing publics' imagination to such a similar extent, is probably after the original ascent of Cenotaph Corner, when all the early repeats were documented, but after 21 years it was being climbed by all and sundry....not so Indian Face. But then, you're not going to die on the Corner if you cock it up!
The other climb that waited years for a repeat (10 years in fact) was the Orion Face route on Ben Nevis, and that was because of the dramatic change in ice-climbing technique. To quote Clough's guide..."Formidable and unrepeated!" I am sure others will quickly add more climbs that took years for a repeat ascent, but did they generate such aura and excitement within the climbing community?
mark20 - on 25 Sep 2013
In reply to Sean Kelly:
Hubble
Sean Kelly - on 25 Sep 2013
In reply to mark20: Sport climb!
Tyler - on 25 Sep 2013
In reply to Sean Kelly:

Big Bang, Northen Exposure, Overshadow, Rainshadow, Mutation

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