James McHaffie Climbs New Gogarth E8by Duncan Campbell - UKC Nov/2013
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James McHaffie, or Caff as he is better known, has just made the first ascent of an old project on The Red Wall Promontory, at Gogarth in North Wales. Caff named the route Satan's Scream and graded it E8 6c.
The route was an old project of Adam Wainwright's a while back, Adam got close to redpointing the pitch, but a block fell off the crux and Adam never got round to glueing it back in. Before his successful ascent, Caff had been down a couple of times to try the line. First he headed down with George Ullrich, with thoughts of trying it ground-up, but niether of them managed to get more than a metre up the line. He then abbed the line with Pete Robins, but it was too wet to climb, so Tuesday was the first day he was actually able to get on the route properly.
Caff returned on Tuesday with Calum Muskett, Mark Dicken and Ray Wood, and got his first proper look at the route. First he abbed the route to check the gear. Commenting on the gear Caff said:
"I abbed down, checked the gear and grigri-ed/jumared up it a couple of times to check the moves and gear. It looked pretty nails and serious at first and I didnt think it'd go that day. I found a couple of small RPs which made it not quite as daunting. I tied the 2 in-situ pegs off with prussiks which we took off afterwards."
Caff then impressively managed a lead of the route first go, reckoning it to be around 8a in physical difficulty. Caff again:
"The footholds are all quite poor, and it climbs quite gymnastically, a bit like grit; really high steps and laybacking groovelets at the start leading to thin 6c ish moves to just beneath the overlap where you get better gear and the climbing eases a lot.
I nearly slipped off low down on a very high step which seemed to take an age, the last techy moves felt hard as well (partly as I'd done most of the new routes in the beacon the prior day). The gear is small and much of it is tricky to place well on the lead. The climb might well be soft 8a but linking with a rack feels quite tough."
Caff also gave a description for the route which is found on climber's left of the Promontory splitting Red Wall and Red Wall Left-Hand:
Satan's Scream, E8 6c
The last crack before the arete has 2 old pegs and an intense first half.
30m: Reach up and clip the first peg where really hard moves lead up to the next one and just as hard moves lead to the overlap and better protection. Climb a flared crack and reach carefully right to gain the ledge on the arete which is followed even more carefully to the top.
James McHaffie, Calum Muskett, Mark Dicken, Ray Wood
You can read more about Caff making the first ascent of the route, along with a great photo on the DMM Website