FRI NIGHT VID: Dawes and Moffatt on 'The Meltdown' 9a

by Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor Jul/2012
This news story has been read 11,929 times
Johnny Dawes attempting The Meltdown in the mid 1980's
© Alun Hughes

James McHaffie, initial forays on The Meltdown back in 2009, 179 kbJames McHaffie, initial forays on The Meltdown back in 2009
Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor, Jul 2012
© Jack Geldard
This Friday we have an awesome video. Johnny Dawes and Jerry Moffatt, two of the most iconic climbers in British climbing history, are seen here attempting 'The Meltdown', a project of Johnny's that was climbed recently by James McHaffie.

This footage comes from Alun Hughes (Thanks Alun!) who told us:

I've just searched under the bed in the spare room and found old footage from the 80's of Johnny Dawes and Jerry Moffatt working 'Meltdown' on a top rope. I just remembered Johnny going on about it and I thought I had filmed something of it, I'd forgotten Jerry was involved.

It's a bit rough but perfectly acceptable quality, with a little flicker etc in parts - but pretty good quality overall, considering. It was shot on S VHS C, now transferred to dvd. It shows just how good Johnny was then at the height of his power. Jerry with his lankier frame has a much harder time on it. The conversation between them is picked up and is understandable and is quite entertaining in parts, e.g. at the end, after the dyno Jerry shouts, "f**king hell man, what a finish!".

The footage was filmed by Alun and edited by his son Llyr Hughes.

James McHaffie's hand drawn topo for The Meltdown, 47 kbJames McHaffie's hand drawn topo for The Meltdown
© James McHaffie
James McHaffie on The Meltdown, 9a, just a couple of days before his successful ascent., 208 kbJames McHaffie on The Meltdown, 9a, just a couple of days before his successful ascent.
Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor, Jul 2012
© Jack Geldard
James McHaffie, who made the first ascent of the line recently (See UKC News) gave us a bit more info on the route:

"It's the best sequence of moves I've ever linked, it's really good fun. What is really interesting about it is that 95% of the holds are sidepulls or undercuts. In 25m of climbing you get very few flat or diagonal edges. It's powerful and I had to climb really quickly between the two 'resting' positions. It's strange, your toes get really tired. I say 'rests' but the other day I went back on the route and I actually fell off one of the rests!

The main thing about this route is that Pete Robins thinks it's 9a! :-)

It's totally Johnny's inspiration, finding the line and bolting it. I mean, I wouldn't have even tried it that way, I'd have tried to follow different features, but this way does actually go. When I first tried the route, I figured out my own sequence, and I could do the moves, but there was no way I could link it. I saw Johnny in the pub, this is 20 years after he had been trying it, and he drew me a diagram on the back of a beer mat. I've still got it. He knows all the moves, and I adopted Johnny's sequence. It worked.

I made my own drawing [see left], but Johnny's is better!"

James McHaffie is sponsored by DMM , Sterling Rope and Red Chili and has a website at

Johnny Dawes is at

And you can see more of Alun Hughes' Films at:


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