McHaffie new route spree continues

16 May, 2016
James McHaffie on the balancy crux of his new Dinas Mot route, Dark Religion. © Tim Neill

James McHaffie didn't let Friday 13th deter him from trying and successfully completing what is likely to be the hardest pitch of climbing in the Llanberis Pass.

The slabby face high up on The Nose of Dinas Mot, between the top pitch of Direct Route and Crosstie, has been a well-eyed line for many years, looked at by the likes of Johnny Dawes.

McHaffie was reluctant to commit to a grade but felt it was technically a lot harder than House of Talons, the E9 6c he climbed across the valley on Dinas Cromlech last month.

He said: "It's intimidating climbing. I wasn't sure where I'd end up if you fell off and had considered throwing off a rucsac to test the fall. It has an amazing, quite long, nose grinding crux sequence, involving pebble hopping with your feet and a crucial two finger drag in a pocket."

McHaffie added: "E8 would be mean, and it's probably English 7a, so around E9 7a. The moves felt sketchy even though it was my style of climbing."

"On the day I felt a bit tired and I wasn't sure about leading it but I knew it was going to turn cold so thought I should give it a go."

As yet James is still mulling over a name for the new route [Ed. He has since named it Dark Religion]. It starts up Direct Route for a couple of moves, before traversing left away from the gear to the arete, followed by some hard moves up to the next kit in some flakes. It's E7 6c to get here and if you fell off before then you'd take a swinging fall into the corner.

Calum Muskett who belayed McHaffie on the ascent, was suitably impressed and wrote on Twitter: "One of the best leads I've seen and a contender for the hardest in Wales."

Asking Caff if he had more new routes in mind, he replied: "There's a couple but this and House of Talons were the two main ones in the Pass."