James McHaffie or ‘Caff’ as he is usually referred to is well know as one of Britain’s best rock climbers. With 60+ E7/8s climbed onsight or flash and ticks of iconic sport routes such as The Big Bang 9a – you can see why! He grew up in Keswick and started climbing under the guidance of his Dad, Ray McHaffie.
In the summer of 2014 Caff soloed 100 Lake District Extreme climbs, racking up an incredible total of 160 E points and 2,976m of rock climbing, making it one of the biggest and most impressive days out in British climbing.
We asked Caff to choose his favourite route from the Lakeland Revival list. This is what he choose and why:
Illusion, HVS, Lower Falcon Crag
“They are all great routes on the list so it is tricky to choose but I’d probably go for Illusion on Lower Falcon Crag. It was one of my first few outdoor climbs, I did it with my dad and although seconding it is quite traversy and felt like a big deal at the time. The cliff has great views over derwent water and is just a stunning place to hangout in the evening light.
It’s also where I started soloing as Hocking didn’t meet me after he’d promised, so I went up Spin Up and Funeral Way, as it was one of the closest cliffs to Keswick I used to go there a lot. I think the last climb I did with Dad was his route Interloper around 2003 40 years or so after he’d first done it.”
Watch Caff in action soloing White Noise (E3 5c) and Guillotine (E3 5c) at Reecastle below.