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After being away from the UK trad climbing scene for a couple of years, where he mainly sport climbed, James wanted to go back to his specialty and decided to attempt to flash for the first time an E10 route, Pembroke’s Muy Caliente.
Considering the dangerous aspects of trad climbing, James’ intention was to sharpen his trad skills with training on other on-sight climbs in Pembroke before attempting Muy Caliente. He started with the on-sight ascent of Point Blank (E8), 19th April 2011, a long and sustained wall climb with good spaced gear and big air potential. Then the next step was to flash Daddy Cool (E8), a bold slab on Carreg y Barcud in North Pembroke. The third ascent was a route in the narrow zawn of Huntsman’s Leap, From Dusk Till Dawn (E8). Following this, James was introduced to his current favourite route in Pembroke, the project wall that would become the new route: Do you know where your children are? (E9).
It was time for James to finally flash Muy Caliente and the first stage of the process involved watching his friends climbing on the route and trying to remember as much information as possible. Unfortunately the flash attempt failed at the last move: “That empty feeling in my belly told me I was falling. I screamed and swore. The dream was dead” – James explained.
Less than twenty four hours later he was back at Stennis Ford, ready to try again. ‘The run-out was fine, and I arrived at the gear pretty fresh. The rest holds before the crux were soon in my hands. This time there was no hesitation, my body locked the position, my hand reached up to the edge, it was finished!’ – commented James.
The initial project of James turned into something else: while he focused on flashing Muy Caliente, he completed the route on his second attempt ‘ground-up’ and made four different hard routes and even opened a new one.