Having spent the past month sport climbing in Spain, James McHaffie has wasted no time in switching to adventurous trad mode, with the first ascent of Nightmare Inauguration (E8 6b), at Porth Dafarch South on Anglesey.
The route lies in a zawn reached with an easy five-minute walk to the south of Porth Dafarch beach; a couple of headlands beyond The Flakes of Wrath wall.
James McHaffie making the first ascent of Nightmare Inauguration (E8 6b), Porth Dafarch. © Ray Wood
The 22-metre route's main feature is a striking left-to-right hanging ramp; followed in an 'out-there' position across the overhanging back wall of the zawn. James McHaffie had a hazy recollection of spotting the line from a previous visit to Porth Dafarch and a tip-off from either Goerge Smith or Twid Turner, but it turned out to be more involved and better than he'd first thought.
After checking out the route with some strenuous and technical back-aiding, McHaffie had less time than he'd have liked for a lead attempt. With the winter sun dropping quickly Mchaffie had to make the first go count. Starting just right of Brewing and Nothingness (E5 6a) a shallow corner leads with care to the foot of the ramp and some gear placed off a knee-bar.
"One of the cams seemed ok but in dodgy sounding rock and then you have to commit to the ramp with plenty of heel hook action to reach some good cams, sizes 2, 2.5 and 3. It's important to take care to extend the kit over the edge of the ramp to stop the rope running across it if you fell," says James.
"On the lead you'd be unlikely to spot the bits of fiddly gear after the good cams if you didn't know it was there. The route has a brilliant finish with good guppies, a good wire and a huge finishing jug," he added.
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