McHaffie and Robins - Big Ticks in Welsh Sport Climbingby Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC Aug/2010
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James McHaffie (right) and Pete Robins, still flying the flag for hard climbing in North Wales
UKC News, Aug 2010
© Mark Reeves / Life in the Vertical
Pete balanced his way up the slab nightmare of The Very Big and the Very Small (F8b+) on the Rainbow Slab in the Llanberis slate quarries and James powered his way up Infanticide (F8c) the very steep limestone sport route at Lower Pen Trwyn on the Great Orme at Llandudno.
The Very Big and the Very Small was first climbed by Johnny Dawes and has seen repeats by Steve McClure and James McHaffie. Infanticide was first climbed by Neil Carson back in 1995 and had, until now, only one repeat to date by Pete Robins.
Pete had tried The Very Big... (known locally as 'Biggie Smalls') on several previous occasions, but was thwarted by the extremely sharp nature of the holds. He surprised himself by making short work of it on his re-acquaintance, despite not having brand new rockshoes. He initially thought having brand new shoes would give him the edge (pun intended I'm afraid!), being able to stand better on the tiny holds, but a slightly worn pair turned out to hold better.
Commenting on his ascent, Pete said:
"I am really pleased with this one, as I've not really climbed on slate for a couple of years. My sequence this time was skin-friendly which makes it such a cool route."
McHaffie, known more for his CV of hard trad onsights, has recently focussed more on sport climbing and, unsurprisingly, he's not too bad at it. Fast ascents of some F8b+'s such as Malcolm X at Cheedale in the Peak District have paved the way to his rapid redpoint of Infanticide at LPT.
Extra thanks go to Mark Reeves for the photographs to accompany this piece. Mark is a Mountain Instructor in Llanberis, North Wales and he blogs at Life in the Vertical.