James McHaffie, one of Britain's top climbers, started climbing at his local wall aged 14/15 and really liked the movement. His father, Ray, had always been a climber so took James up a five pitch climb he had done over a thousand times called Troutdale Pinnacle in Borrowdale Valley. From then on he has not had more than a few days off climbing - so hooked is definitely the word!
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James started soloing in his first year of climbing and did lots of soloing and trad routes in the UK, trying to climb the best routes in the area. He climbed his first E7 on first attempt in 2000 and has climbed many more in similar style on many different rock types in the UK. He did the third ascent of Britain's hardest slab at the time, The Very Big and the Very Small, in 2005. He has gone on to do less soloing and more sport climbing in recent years to help try some dream climbs.
Asked about his plans for the future, James said he “just wants to keep climbing lots of great routes. I want to try the direct Longhope route on Hoy (Dave Macleods), a trip to Yosemite to try Muir Wall or Salathe and Southern Belle. I want to try to link Meltdown into a great looking extension. I'd also like to try a trip to Canada to climb at Squamish to try lots of classics such as the Shadow and to see how hard Cobra Crack is”.
James joins the likes of Alex Chabot, Nina Caprez, Josune Bereziartu, Jonathan Siegrist, Will Stanhope and Mina Leslie-Wujastyk as part of the Arc'teryx Climbing Team. To check out all the Arc'teryx athletes click the link below.
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