/ NEWS: James Mchaffie on New-Routeing Spree
Nice one Caff. And nice one again for adding to the message that Extinction Rebellion are putting forward.
We all desperately need to listen!
Caff never ceases to impress with new lines at consistently impressive grades. Also good on him for throwing his weight behind the growing ER movement, an asset to the BMC.
Looking forward to seeing him complete his extreme rock mission - all the best with it and stay safe JM
> Nice one Caff. And nice one again for adding to the message that Extinction Rebellion are putting forward.
> We all desperately need to listen!
The comments are quite revealing.
Caff says: "pretty much everyone has a carbon footprint. Its no excuse for being a lazy shit and not trying to cut down on your own"... as he boards the helicopter to Lundy for a pleasure trip.
He does come off as a bit of a tw*t in the comments section. If everyone on the planet had the same average carbon footprint as professional climbers we would massively accelerate climate change. Yes, the hypocrisy is rife.
I'm injured and ill at the moment but it's still nice to cycle round to my local crag for a couple of hours.
Not that I don't drive a bit at weekends or go abroad but then again if challenged I probably wouldn't start lashing out and calling people punters because they don't live the extreme helicopter lifestyle James Mchaffie does.
Imagine if everyone tried jetting around like their climbing and mountaineering heroes on instagram. This forum has given a lot of flak to the three peaks challenge but lots of sponsored climbers have carbon footprints bigger than any coachload of people driving up to Ben Nevis (and at least they are sharing transport).
I thought so too ;)
I was quite disappointed that he refused to answer questions such as if it would be ok by him if everyone seeking to complete a tick list got a chopper ride to help them out? Clearly he couldn’t be seen to be saying yes, as that flies in the face of what he’s trying to promote and make himself look caring with but alternatively if he said no then he comes across as more deserving when really, he’s not.
I'd be careful with your kabal of smug conclusions here. The 5 minute chopper ride to Lundy I'm sure made you feel very jealous. But the majority of climbing I do is in the UK and extreme rock is a UK ticklist. I choose to principally climb in the UK because I know it is more environmentally friendly, although every month if i wished i could fly to anywhere and enjoy the delights of world climbing. I'v never said I'm a great environmentalist but I've taken time off work to go to the youth climate strikes and write any climate change articles in my own time, trying to point people to good, factual information. The XR group and the youth climate strikes are very much worth supporting and are raising awareness of climate change at the government level. Although you all have very admirable low carbon footprints (much more so than those horrible professional climbers) things definitely have to change and leadership needs to be taken at a government level. I'll be trying to get down Thursday to the protest in London and would urge anyone who can to do so. XR are doing a great job and I generally would n't say that as usually hate hippy types. And a final point is that a general tactic by climate change deniers or their affiliates is to point out the carbon footprint of environmental activists. Now although I'm not an activist, some of your comments smell fishy, especially Phils. But I always need inspiration for route names so thanks you.
> I'd be careful with your kabal of smug conclusions here. The 5 minute chopper ride to Lundy I'm sure made you feel very jealous. But the majority of climbing I do is in the UK and extreme rock is a UK ticklist. I choose to principally climb in the UK because I know it is more environmentally friendly, although every month if i wished I could fly to anywhere..
To be honest James, it hasn't escaped me that the vast majority of your climbing is UK based. You definitely have a relatively small footprint compared to most other sponsored climbers, though to hazard a guess it's probably larger than the general UK public and much larger than the average person living on the planet.
This isn't a crime, and lots of people on the forum are in the same slightly hypocritical boat, but a little bit of honesty and self-reflection does wonders here. Lots of 'ordinary people' on here have wrung their hands, talked about their lifestyle and made changes. There's a great thread on the forum about this very issue which is very good natured.
I'm sure you're well aware of the extensive travelling lots of professional climbers do, and the massive amounts of air miles this entails. We know this because they are not shy of publicising all of this while giving off the impression that such a nomadic jetset lifestyle makes them closer to nature or something...
Naturally the sponsors of these trips will either be selling redbull or the latest season of new, improved, lightweight, and disposable gear shipped in from China. Nevermind, did you really want to be seen in last years colours anyway?
Ultimately, if everyone led the life of the average sponsored climber the planet would deteriorate even more quickly than it already is. I'm sorry, but I'm not sure if an article written to claim some of those sweet sponsor-friendly green credentials is going to offset all those people excitedly jetting off to Yosemite or travelling out of season by helicopter because they want to be as cool as the sponsored athletes seen on instagram.
Well Roxo. Luckily for you there are few 'professional climbers' from the UK. And they are all really nice people, very much unlike me. The size of someones carbon footprints generally correlates to someones affluence, more money, more footprint, flights, extravagant holidays, coke etc etc. Again this is why your argument, and the smug kabal is weak because most professional climbers earn very little, they fly around yeah, but I know some of them live on bugger all. Most people reading this who own a home will probably have much vaster energy usage than these climbers. So the argument there is poor and comes across as general jealousy. If your kabal is really made of stern environmental stuff join me, come down to london and get arrested. Join me
I think you're exceedingly naive, considering recent opinions and events on climate change, posting pictures of yourself embarking on, what is essentially, a pointless trip, you've just opened yourself up for criticism.
And your response, some drivel about kabals or people are just trolling!
I certainly won't be wasting any of my time reading your, doubtlessly fascinating, articles about environmentalism.
This is such a depressing thread. By the logic applied to Caff pretty much no single individual on the planet would ever be able to comment on the environment: "David Attenborough - shut it, mate, your documentaries are made using cameras, which are built in factories! And how did you even get to the UN to make your speech?"
Fact is, no-one is living an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. I have two kids and dread to think the mountain of disposable nappies I've deposited in my time. We all consume energy, the very fact we are sat here posting on the internet means we're all great demons and should basically castigate ourselves for our sins and never comment on the issue at hand, right?
Or, in fact, as individuals, do we actually have pretty limited agency? Pressure for change comes from below - hence the protests and raising of awareness - but the vast motive force of effective action will always be state led. Caff not getting that helicopter would literally be a drop in the ocean compared to HM Government having a meaningful, effective plan to transition the UK's energy supplies from fossil to nuclear and renewables, or ensuring that all new homes constructed are built to the highest environmental standards of insulation/ solar/ water capture storage etc. through regulation/ subsidy to private contractors or perhaps building new council houses. All this requires a grown up discussion that goes beyond what the political parties are currently offering, the main parties are living in dream world where we can carry on with the current nod to environmentalism but no raised taxes or meaningful action. Individuals need to change, sure, but the biggest thing we have is pressurising the political parties into realising that this issue is a vote winner/loser for the next generation.
>If your kabal is really made of stern environmental stuff join me, come down to london and get arrested. Join me
good exposure eh-get arrested, make good copy- the sponsors will be happy too! Win win ; )
As much as it breaks my heart to lose the readership of lush (as I'm sure we were going to change the world together) I would maintain XR and the youth movements are positive movements people should try to get involved with.
I would question the motives of Phil and the kabal thinking to cry shame publicly as if I'm a member of the 1% when I'm from a working class background, don't own a house and can fit everything i own in a small car. If I do a bit of research into your background and lifestyles I'm sure I'll find things i don't like (this is more than likely) and if you try to then raise the awareness of some good environmental causes I should cry foul? Seems strange to me.
And people so confident about public punditry must have a very clean slate, perhaps you are environmental monks, living on the land somewhere, ready to raise the alarm when the 'pros' try to promote a more than interesting environmental group.
You are more than free to come and hound me on my media channels, but if you don't have very solid evidence to back up your narrative I will do my best to 'see you off'. If you come across as a climate change denier (who work in little 'kabals' too) or their pals then you will do very well to avoid me. Very well
> I'd be careful with your kabal of smug conclusions here. The 5 minute chopper ride to Lundy I'm sure made you feel very jealous.
I wonder if you'd get a different reaction if you made your subsequent points without the opening comment? Same on your blog thing (Instagram?) where you come across pretty poorly to be honest.
And yes, joining the protest would have more impact than going climbing and calling people names on the internet
I agree with most of that, and of course none of us has zero footprint - being born puts paid to that - but the tone with which you deal with challenge is important.
I absolutely agree with the need for government action and that it's going to have a much larger effect than what any single person might do.
There's no hypocrisy from you here because you haven't just been calling people "lazy shits", and lecturing people about individual accountability for climate change when the group you represent generally have much higher carbon outputs than most people whilst relying on consumerism to sustain this lifestyle.
You've held your hands up that you're not perfect as no one is, which is a refreshing change from 'helicopters don't count coz they fly lower', 'me and my mates are proper climbers so need to get around more than you do', and 'I've taken time out of my job to post on my climbing blog'. What? Even more bizarre is the climate change denier kabal stuff and weird threats of seeing people off...
Something like 'fair play, this was a bit of an extravagance, I genuinely try to be frugal and wish we had more low carbon options' would have sufficed and caused no drama at all.
As an aside about Mr. Attenborough, he's reached out to millions and millions of people, met with heads of state and government executives to actively promote environmentalism. The man has genuine credibility and sincerity and his net effect is massively positive. I know you're well aware of all of this and were joking but he's a bit of a special case really.
More generally, by cutting down on personal carbon footprint and being more enviro-conscious we can each achieve a microscopic benefit. By actively campaigning for government or inter-government change we have the potential to achieve a hugely greater benefit.
Of course, we can't guarantee that any such efforts will achieve anything at all, but the idea that nobody should go out of their way at all in the process of highlighting the need for change and pressing for it on a much bigger scale, for fear of being accused of double standards, is frankly absurd.
Thing is Caff, I would genuinely like someone to pull me up on any of my environmental follies. It’s easy to become complacent and think you’re doing your bit. I post some of my climbing pics which shows just how far I travel for ticks - usually 20 miles tops. Just waiting for someone to ask if I could cycle it, instead. I wouldn’t be branded them trolls, or kabals, or whatever.
My question still stands though, would it be ok by you, XR and the youth movements if everyone wanting to finish off a tick list got a 5 minute chopper flight to help them with a route? It’s nothing to do with jealousy. Not to mention the drive down to the south west etc - I’ll assume you didn’t fly/take the train/coach.
Also, I’m still waiting for a reply to my Jesus post ;-)
Heaven forbid that we should have to apologise for going climbing.
Indeed we shouldn’t, but if we’re freely taking the position of public speaker then we should accept that we leave ourselves open to public criticism. Branding those who do trolls is immature and shows there is no better debate to be had.
The Attenborough comment was absolutely being facetious, the guy is a legend. I was just illustrating the logic of picking apart people’s personal actions to denigrate the overall message.
I do agree that tone is important and Caff comes across as a bit combative, probably because he feels on the defensive. If he were media savvy and PR trained I am sure he would be a lot smoother in his message delivery, hence why this strikes me more as someone who is genuinely concerned and just trying to convey his feelings. He could have been more reflective and considered, but if you have a pop at someone it’s fair to expect a bit of a reaction.
I don’t really see it as a debate on personal actions to be honest. The guy likes climbing, goes climbing, climbs for a living (?), consumes products to do with climbing and has a platform of interest in his climbing which he can use. On the other hand he doesn’t have kids (?), doesn’t own a Mitsubishi evo, doesn’t go on long haul flights every week, buy new clothes etc. He is not beyond reproach but can be concerned about the environment, same as I can be despite having two kids and a car and all that jazz.
It’s a tough one, the heart of the real debate here is whether we all need to change - fundamentally - the way we live, or is there a way through collective action of managing our impact as a society?
For a little perspective, from this link (first google hit) helicopter CO2 use is approx. 3-5 times that of a car. So it would seem that a 30 mile trip to Lundy (or whatever it is) is going have used significantly less CO2 than a Londoner heading to Yorkshire for the weekend (for example).
> For a little perspective, from this link (first google hit) helicopter CO2 use is approx. 3-5 times that of a car. So it would seem that a 30 mile trip to Lundy (or whatever it is) is going have used significantly less CO2 than a Londoner heading to Yorkshire for the weekend (for example).
Isn't it CO2 production? Whatever, I wonder how much more the heli produces in its 7 minute flight compared with the boat's 2 hours?
Thing is, if he'd gone on the ferry no doubt someone would be pointing out that marine diesel is hardly renowned for being really clean...
Plus the travelling to the south west. Plus the fact the helicopter did four journeys to ferry him out there and back. Plus it probably wasn’t (happy to be corrected) based at the pick up point so there’d be a transit from it’s home airfield. It’s more than just a 5 minute flight.
So what solution are you putting forward? Are you saying Caff shouldn't have gone to Lundy?
This wasn't a planet saving publicity stunt but a Caff profile raising publicity stunt designed to make easy copy. There's nowt wrong in this time and place trying to fix the world a bit while accepting the limitations of the present day but to turn the debate on to those that have pointed out the dissonance is daft (and bad business and it was business stunt after all).
All of this isn’t going to put the total carbon expenditure over a trip to the highlands for most of the population. In your view should climbers not travel within the UK to go climbing now?
Some years ago when Es took the Skye ridge record I believe he cycled there too.
If caff is ticking off extreme rock, only going by foot, bike or kayak would be unique and send a positive message. It's lacks the fast paced instant gratification sponsors desire though. But a change of sponsor might view it differently.
Keep on trying Caff. At the very least you're thinking in the right direction and being openly critical of your own choices.
As an aside, XR was started by local acquaintances here in Stroud. Who'd have thought?
Finally, I challenge anyone on here to have a better carbon footprint than me, and I have three kids and drive 10K+/yr. :D
Most of the population don’t go to the highlands.
Have a thumbs up.
Not at all. See summo’s post about doing the tick list by bike/kayak/on foot. He’s a professional adventurer, it shouldn’t be beyond him - might just take a while longer. But there’d be few who could question his commitment to the cause.
> Thing is Caff, I would genuinely like someone to pull me up on any of my environmental follies. It’s easy to become complacent and think you’re doing your bit.
how is driving to local crags doing your bit?- esp with your ticklist...
Often car share, for a start. Anyone who’s climbed with me is well versed in the ‘I’m off to work now’ signal to the end of the day, as I’ll often climb on the way to/from work. Luckily my geography and profession play together nicely here. Tomorrow for example I’m working in Bury at 3, so will climb somewhere between home and there. However now that summer is here and weather is favourable I am also going to dig the bike out of the shed and spend more time climbing even more local esoteric crap instead of driving the 20 miles to Stanage. I also average 60mpg in my 10 year old vehicle when I do drive.. which I believe isn’t too shabby.
The best way to effect major change is through government or inter-government regulation, such as air fuel tax or greener energy generation. A government without a commitment to a greener world will be laughing if the middle class population all gets the idea that all that is needed is for the middle classes to not drive so far or to use different vehicles, so that they bicker among themselves over relative insignificances. These things will often marginally help but may well be a very convenient distraction from the real imperatives that such distraction allows to continue not happening.
So are you really saying that he should have cycled down from N Wales towing a kayak, then paddled across to Lundy? And back? Really? You seem to be living in some parallel universe to most other folk here.
Maybe one day someone will do all 82 4000m alpine peaks in 62 days by bicycle by living in this apparent parallel universe..
Here's a question for you, then. Would you have taken up arms against him if he'd taken the boat? Is it just the helicopter that's got you riled?
> The Attenborough comment was absolutely being facetious, the guy is a legend. I was just illustrating the logic of picking apart people’s personal actions to denigrate the overall message.
> I do agree that tone is important and Caff comes across as a bit combative, probably because he feels on the defensive. If he were media savvy and PR trained I am sure he would be a lot smoother in his message delivery, hence why this strikes me more as someone who is genuinely concerned and just trying to convey his feelings. He could have been more reflective and considered, but if you have a pop at someone it’s fair to expect a bit of a reaction.
> I don’t really see it as a debate on personal actions to be honest. The guy likes climbing, goes climbing, climbs for a living (?), consumes products to do with climbing and has a platform of interest in his climbing which he can use. On the other hand he doesn’t have kids (?), doesn’t own a Mitsubishi evo, doesn’t go on long haul flights every week, buy new clothes etc. He is not beyond reproach but can be concerned about the environment, same as I can be despite having two kids and a car and all that jazz.
> It’s a tough one, the heart of the real debate here is whether we all need to change - fundamentally - the way we live, or is there a way through collective action of managing our impact as a society?
I don't disagree with a word of this, and you've done really well to represent someone who's been... combative to use your words. Perhaps you have had media training? Anyway, thanks for adding weight to the argument that it's possible to be a reasonable person on the internet.
I couldn’t care less that he’s taken a helicopter. The original point to my argument, that’s obviously been lost in the fall out, was that if he wants to be taken seriously in his petitioning for climate action then he probably shouldn’t be taking helicopters. That was it. I asked, and still haven’t received a reply to, if it would be ok by him/XR/youth movements that everyone got one chopper ride at their convenience to help them finish their tick list as that would only be fair, right? I suspect he means well and would want to say ‘no’, but he can’t do that as it’d make him out to be more self deserving.
My argument was purely questioning his commitment to what he was writing, and getting behind his way of thinking. He admitted he didn’t need to go to Lundy, but he wanted to for selfish reasons (completing his tick list).. that and his demand for climate action just didn’t sit well together.
It’s funny isn’t it, only on UKC could you get dislikes for suggesting that someone could do even more to help save the world..
> It’s funny isn’t it, only on UKC could you get dislikes for suggesting that someone could do even more to help save the world..
Well not really. I'm guessing you got those dislikes for...
> He admitted he didn’t need to go to Lundy
... which implies that only really essential climbing should be tolerated
No, just that there’s plenty of less carbon intensive options available
Out of interest I took a look at the 2019 competition circuit for someone travelling from Sheffield. I was pretty reasonable, no flights between France / Switzerland etc. and used the lower figure for radiative forcing. Also for the entire season none these people get to go home or fly anywhere else, they simply fly from one to competition to the next (not sure how realistic this is). The CO2 produced for the flights alone is around 8 tonnes per person. Average aviation emissions for a person in the UK is 0.9 tonnes whilst the average total CO2 produced per person is 6.5 tonnes.
To be honest, I thought the 8 tonnes might be a little higher since they travel to Europe - Asia - Europe - USA - Asia. Before anyone asks, no one's saying they should sail or cycle there, and no - I'm not aware of any competition climbers writing articles stating that other people really need to tighten their belts either.
Nice one caff - You're a total inspiration! Awesome!
Straight back at you, always nice to have a constructive chat with someone. I’d never thought of trying to quantify the CO2 emissions: quite a shocking amount for air travel around a competition circuit, isn’t it really. I guess it’s the nature of the beast at the moment, a globalised economy but without the globalised conception of or response to sustainability.
I stand by the idea that Caff is being made a bit of a sacred cow to be slaughtered here, in the sense that of course a helicopter ride to tick off an extreme rock list (amazing achievement by the way) is a luxury but is really not that big of a deal compared to being a daily commuter from a dormitory town into a city centre for example. Still, this thread has made me think about my own behaviour more, i’m going to get leave 10 minutes earlier and bike into work through the summer term!
> It’s funny isn’t it, only on UKC could you get dislikes for suggesting that someone could do even more to help save the world..
No disrespect to UKC, which is great, but most sensible forums don't have dislikes. Once you put them in, there will always be those who follow the shoe not the gourd.
I am never quite sure whether it means 'dislike' or 'disagree'
I also suspect the potential for getting a load of forum-flak might put off some climbers from submitting articles.
> of course a helicopter ride to tick off an extreme rock list (...) is a luxury
Well yes and no. The boat doesn’t run during the winter months, during which the helicopter service replaces it. It’s not like it was a private charter. Important to keep this in perspective I feel.
I have to say Id half assumed it was a regular service - I'd assumed some people from the Landmark Trust live/work on Lundy all year and that if the boat isn't running in the winter then the chopper is what keeps them fed. Anyone know?
Either way this whole thing has turned into a bit of an undignified squabble and I'm not sure I see the merits of continuing it from anyone's side...
I have a pretty balanced view of this thread, I don't think taking a short helicopter flight should stop Caff from trying to encourage people to lower their own ecological impact. But I can also see the 'do as I say, not as I do' argument. However, I'm a bit confused by the suggestion that people who "own homes" automatically have a large carbon footprint. I own a house but am very ecologically aware and have taken the decision to not fly this year for environmental reasons. So I'm finding that particular comment pretty hard to swallow. can you explain?
Ahhhh so this helicopter flight was multi purpose and not just for the climbers? Kind of a different story all together.
Any climate change education has to be a good thing and I expect we all do things that could be a tad hypocritacal.
From what I recall the ferry wasn't running then and yes the helicopter would have been going anyway.
We all climb and buy pointless stuff. We all contribute to environmental degradation, some more than others, some in work and some in pleasure activities. We are all dicks and are destroying the planet. Buy less, travel less, consume less and be nicer, I dare you
I am the only person reading this thread who had to Google Kabal - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabal_(Mortal_Kombat) ? I'll be honest if this dude is enforcing environmentalism I'll be the first to volunteer to swim to Lundy rather than take the chopper 😁
What is apparent above is a lot of looking at the optics and nitpicking. Let's look at the figures:
Bideford to Lundy straight line is 35.3km.
Helicopter is 3x – 5x more emissions than a car (heli efficiency, occupancy plus many more factors to consider) . Let's Assume 5x.
35.3km x 5 = 176.5km
Llanberis to Windermere = 173 miles
So the heli ride to Lundy was approximately the same as him driving to the Lakes which no one would have commented on.
Optically it doesn't look good to go big press on climate change and then fairly aggressively defend flying on a helicopter to facilitate a climbing trip. That's just optics though........... Guess the motto is think before you post to social media if you are high visibility and don't continue to dig your own hole when called out.
> What is apparent above is a lot of looking at the optics and nitpicking.
Well as you say, it is mostly about optics. One person's contribution to global emissions amounts to about a gnat's fart in a hurricane, unless you happen to be the guy who invented Bitcoin.
It's more about what one person can do to influence others - like David Attenborough as mentioned above. A helicopter ride to Lundy might not amount to much in real terms, but it doesn't look good when you're trying to influence others to lead a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.
Anyway, keep doing more of that climbing stuff, James.
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