VIDEO: James McHaffie 'Tom Cruises' Mission Impossibleby Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC Jun/2009
This news story has been read 12,041 times
The line, first climbed by sport climbing super-star Neil Carson in the mid-nineties is renowned for being the physically hardest trad route in Wales.
McHaffie top roped the line on two previous occasions before climbing it on his first attempt on the sharp end.
"It is totally safe" commented McHaffie, "but it still feels scary!"
The route was originally graded E8/9 7a (F8b) by an on-form Neil Carson, who was climbing F9a on bolts at the time of his ascent. It is unclear whether Carson placed the gear as he climbed or if he opted to climb the route in a more sporty style with preplaced runners.
James placed all gear on lead as he climbed. The route is adequately protected by old pegs interspersed with good, but small runners. The crucial placement is a size 0 cam which protects the 20ft crux sequence. It is possible to take a 45ft fall on to this cam, which is backed up a few feet below by two tied-off pegs.
"It's more like F8a+," said James, "and either hard E8 or E9, but the pegs are only going to get worse."
Even without the pegs, the grade of the route wouldn't bump up any higher than E9, as the natural protection is adequate, if very hard to place on lead. James elected to skip the peg that would protect the crux as it is in very poor condition and isn't worth clipping.
The route went smoothly, but James did struggle for a moment on a one finger jam with his right hand high on the route, you can see him work his finger-tip into the slot in the video below.
Thanks go to Dave Pickford for the photographs.
The UK's funniest climber Andy Kirkpatrick has just released the DVD of one of his 2007 live shows on Youtube. We've... Read more
A couple of months ago, Andy Gullsten became the first to flash King of limbs, ~8B/+, at Roadside in Rocklands, South... Read more
Jordan Buys has made the first ground-up ascent of Tim Emmett's E9 6c at . Having spent a week in... Read more
Steve McClure has made the first repeat of Neil Mawson's route E10 (8b+) at Flimston Bay in Pembroke. Its grade of... Read more