Offbeat Video

By Chris Jaffray


This heart-stopping footage captures the moment a climber plummeted 50ft down the face of a cliff no one has ever successfully scaled after making it almost to the top.

James McHaffie appeared to be almost to the top of the sheer summit close to Nesscliffe Crag in Shropshire, when he failed to grip onto the rock and took a dramatic tumble to the ground.

PIC FROM Mercury Press

Miraculously mountaineering expert James, 38, from Llanberis, North Wales, escaped unscathed due to his safety equipment and remains determined to conquer the terrifying sheer cliff.

James said: “This cliff has never been climbed before and is the hardest to climb in the UK, but it is a project I have been working on.

“If I had got my left hand down a little bit I would have done it, I had felt confident until then.

“Falling was pretty scary, I didn’t fall in a brilliant position and it did hurt a bit but I escaped with only rope burn and bruises.”

PIC FROM Mercury Press

In the video, filmed by pal Ray Wood, James can be seen  eagerly and patiently trying to get to the top.

He twice reaches for chalk for his hands and looks up for his next move.

But near the end he moves his left hand upwards and fails to connect, meaning he plummets down the wall.

James plans to attempt the feat again when the weather is not too hot, as sunshine can lead to sweaty hands which makes it harder to properly grip the rock.

PIC FROM Mercury Press

One of his motivations for being the first person to successfully scale the cliff is the chance to then name the summit, a tradition among climbers.

James, who works at the British Mountaineering Council, said: “I had planned to call it ‘endarkenment’, which comes from the David Mitchell books The Bone Clouds – it’s from a world where the anti-science crew have taken over. 

“I thought I’d call it that after all the anti-science fake news which has been going around.”