DMM Climbing Day with James McHaffie

DMM Climbing Day with James McHaffie

We travelled up to North Wales for my DMM climbing day with James McHaffie which was my prize for winning the BMC Youth Climbing Series. I was really looking forward to this as it was the first time I had been outdoor climbing with ropes.
The night before the climbing day I stayed in the Pizza and Pint hotel with my mum. Then next morning we got up early for breakfast and went to Pete’s Eats cafe to meet up with James and the rest of the prizewinners.
James told us we were climbing in a slate quarry in Llanberis first and that we may go bouldering afterwards in Llanberis pass. We got in our cars and followed James to the quarry.

We waited for everyone to arrive and then grabbed our kit and climbed over two styles before walking along a slatey path to some slate cliffs.

We put on our gear and James explained to us about trad and sport climbing. He made it really easy to understand and gave us some nuts to shove into some cracks in the rock. I found a crack for the nuts and managed to get them in properly. Meanwhile, James was putting up top ropes for us to try.

When he was ready we gave them a go. I managed to do both of them because they were easy and just to get our fingers warmed up. James put up another top rope which was harder and more crimpy. I fell off quite a few times, but I managed to complete the route in sections. This was my favourite route so far – a bit tricky but really fun.

While I was climbing James was putting up yet another top rope next to me. This route looked really hard but I was looking forward to it. I couldn’t do the start, but I moved onto the middle and that was easier. The top was hard, but not as hard as the start. Apart from one moved at the start I topped it.


I had another attempt at the third climb – but didn’t do as well this time. By this time it was 2 o’clock so we moved onto bouldering in Llanberis pass.

We walked to the bouldering area and tried a crimpy problem. I didn’t top it because I couldn’t see the holds initially. After a few attempts I could see the holds, but still couldn’t do the problem. I needed to get my feet to be higher but I couldn’t because I couldn’t hold onto the other holds.

After this we moved onto the overhang and I managed to do this on the second attempt, only using my right foot for heal hooks. We went along to the next section and tried another overhang. This was much harder than the other overhang because it was more reachy and more overhanging. I had quite a few goes but I only managed a quarter of the climb.

It was getting late and we had run over time slightly so my mum and I decided to head back to the car park.

We had really good fun bouldering and top roping in North Wales even though I wasn’t as good as I had hoped to be. If I want to be an outdoor climber I need to practise a lot more.

Thanks to James McHaffie and DMM for a great day. I learnt a lot and look forward to going outdoor climbing again very soon.

Comments are closed.