New Pass and Tremadog E7's by McHaffie

25 March, 2016
Line of Track of the Shadow (E7 6c) in the Llanberis Pass.

James 'Caff' McHaffie clearly has new routes on his mind at the moment. Following on from his recent first ascent of The Gravity Wave (E8 6c) at Trearddur Bay, he has established two more hard trad routes. Each at a popular north Wales crag where you'd think finding an unclimbed line was highly unlikely.

On the first day of spring Caff abseiled down Carreg Wastad to check-out a line that is strikingly obvious looking up from the road in the Llanberis Pass - over the large roof of Shadow Wall (VS) at its left-hand side, and move diagonally rightwards, crossing Zangorilla (E4) to finish up the grey arete.

Returning the next day with Sophie Evitt, determined to nab the route before the weather turned, he made short work of the E7 6c he called Track of the Shadow.

Caff commented: "It's a two star route in a three star position. The crux is the section pulling over the roof and the couple of moves above. It wouldn't be a nice fall from here as your last runner is a well-extended blind placement under the roof."

He added: "It only joins Zangorilla for a couple of moves where you get a good Wallnut three before moving right to make some gritstone like moves up the exposed arete."

A few days later after a tip-off from Elfyn Jones that the old Craig Bwlch y Moch project left of Sheer Resist (E4) might go with a direct start, Caff headed to Tremadog to see if he was right.

Having cleaned the smooth wall and looked at the moves on a Grigri Caff decided it was worth trying on the lead. Pete Robins and Emma Twyford who'd been on the Vector headwall were rounded-up to give him a belay.

Starting just right of the ivy at the far left-hand side of the peg marked wall, a bold crimpy sequence leads to some small wires and an easier middle section, where you can clip a couple of old pegs before the finishing crux moves.

Caff reckoned the Ivy Flame involved 7b+/c climbing and warranted an E7/8 grade as the pro wasn't great with the right-hand peg being particularly poor.


(l-r) James McHaffie on the first ascent of Track of the Shadow (E7 6c) and Ivy Flame (E7/8 6c). © Ray Wood