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James McHaffie

  • Born/Age: 31
  • Current Residence: Wales, United Kingdom
  • Website/Blog:
  • Recent Media Coverage: First Ascent of the Meltdown, Britains hardest slab F8c+/9a, UKC and foreign climbing websites/mags. Film currently being made for Kendal film festival UK.
  • First ascent of Tower of Midnight, one of Wales' hardest multi-pitch climbs in the llanberis pass. UKC and Climber magazine.
  • Second and Third ascent of Big Bang, F9a, Wales' hardest sport climb. UKC and Vimeo.

Career accomplishments:

  • First ascent of the Meltdown, one of the worlds hardest slabs. 2012
  • Second ascent of the Big Bang, F9a, 2011
  • Doing Predator, F8b and Unjustified F8c in a day, 2011
  • Third ascent of Vouie Petit,F8b, Grand Capucin in the Alps, 2009
  • Climbing Careless Torque, Font 8a twice in a day (almost 3 times)

James McHaffie started climbing in the climbing wall aged 14/15 and really liked the movement. His father, Ray had always been a climber so took james up a 5 pitch climb he had done over a thousand times called Troutdale Pinnacle in Borrowdale valley. From then on he has not had more than a few days off climbing so hooked is the word.

Started soloing in the first year of climbing and did lots of soloing and trad routes in the UK, trying to climb the best routes in the area. Did first E7 first go in 2000 and have climbed many more in similar style on many different rock types in the UK. Did the 3rd ascent of Britains hardest slab at the time, The Very Big and the Very Small, in 2005. Gone on to do less soloing and more sport climbing in recent years to help try some dream climbs.

Recent accomplishments James can be proud of:

  • Climbing the Meltdown as he didn't know if it was possible for him to link it as it's very precarious and Johnny Dawes is an climbing hero whose project it had been. Dawes recent book and the new Slate guide opened peoples' eyes to the project so felt under pressure to get it done.
  • First ascent of Tower of Midnight. It sits high in the Llanberis Pass on a Noth facing cliff and is super exposed and offers brilliant climbing. Just felt lucky to climb it between the poor weather in the UK this year.

James' plans looking forward:

  • Keep climbing lots of great routes. Try the direct Longhope route on Hoy (Dave Macleods), trip to Yosemite to try Muir Wall or Salathe and Southern Belle. Try to link Meltdown into a great looking extension. A trip to Canada to climb at Squamish to try lots of classics such as the Shadow and to see how hard Cobra Crack is. Lots of other ideas but not enough time to do them.
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