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British rock climber James McHaffie
Photo by Simon Panton
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The Meltdown, the video of James McHaffie and Johnny Dawes

01.08.2013 by Planetmountain

The documentary of The Meltdown in the Dinorwig quarries in Wales, an old Johnny Dawes project freed by James McHaffie in summer 2012.

The Meltdown is undoubtedly one of Great Britain's biggest routes of the new millennium, freed in 2012 by James McHaffie in the Dinorwig slate quarry above the small village of Llanberis in Wales. A superbly technical rebus in the deepest mine of them all, almost solved by the creative genius of Johnny Dawes over a quarter century ago and finally freed by McHaffie after more than 50 attempts. This documentary offers interesting insight into the history of a climb which is much more than an "ordinary" 9a.

Llanberis Slate

At its peak during the second half of the 19th century, the slate mining industry dominated the economy in North Wales, employing almost 17000 men at quarries dotted around the country including the immense sites at Blaenau Ffestiniog, Bethesda and Llanberis. Entire hillsides were transformed irreversibly as Welsh slate was exported worldwide, but with the advent of cheap roofing tiles the industry showed the first signs of decline at the turn of the century, and then collapsed after the Second World War.

The Dinorwic quarry above Llanberis was the second largest mine in North Wales and when it closed definitively in 1969 it left behind a wasteland of vast proportions. The entire area was abandoned for years and it wasn't until the early 1980's that climbers ventured into the complex system of mines to explore this vertical Eden, discovering fantastic crags such as Vivian Quarry, the Seamstress slab, Bus Stop Quarry and of course Rainbow Slab.

Rock climbing in Wales - a choice selection
- Dinas Cromlech - some of the best extreme rock climbs in the entire UK.
- Cloggy - Clogwyn Du'r Arddu- the shrine of British rcok climbing.
- Vivian Quarry - the most popular slate crag in Wales
- Rainbow Slab - arguably the jewel in the crown of Llanberis slate.
- Gogarth - one of the best sea cliffs in Britain. Fullstop.
- Lower Pen Trwyn - simply the best sport crag in North Wales.
- Huntsman's Leap- one of the most popular sea cliffs in Pembroke, South Wales.

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