James McHaffie Climbs New Gogarth E8

by Duncan Campbell - UKC Nov/2013
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+Caff abseil inspecting Satan's Scream, E8 6c, Red Walls, Gogarth, 83 kb
Caff abseil inspecting Satan's Scream, E8 6c, Red Walls, Gogarth
UKC News, Nov 2013
© Calum Muskett

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 on the first ascent of Satan's Scream, E8 6c, 'featuring sustained 6c climbing'
UKC News, Nov 2013
© Calum Muskett

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

James McHaffie is sponsored by: Arc'teryx, DMM, Five Ten and Sterling Rope

Forums ( Read More... | 8 comments, 18 Nov 2013 )
I think on that kind of route, it's not the kind of place where you can hang around long enough to get rescued. I'd say that bearing in mind caff can climb 9a, he's well within his limits when he's doing an 8a sport...
mattrm - 16 Nov 2013

Thanks. There was a time when having a rescue top-rope system to hand was a controversial practice (Staffs grit, late 70's, anyone). Not that I imagine a cameraman on an ab rope could do a lot for you on this route. ...
johncoxmysteriously - 15 Nov 2013

According to the other post the photo is of Caff on the first ascent, which is good to see. I'm not sure I would see it as being put off by a camera man I would see it as if all goes tits up there is a ready made top...
Macca_7 - 14 Nov 2013

Just interested (not criticising anyone), are the photos of Caff "on the first ascent" posed afterwards, or do people really do badly protected E8 first ascents while being distracted by cameramen?
Coel Hellier - 14 Nov 2013

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