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Sunday, 21 August 2011

Deep Water Soloing In Malta



We’d made contact with the Malta Climbing Club before we left so the first climbing I did in Malta was in the Sliema Scout Hut. They had a small wall, and I mean small. Even though it couldn’t have been bigger than 5 metres up and 10 along, it was actually a decent wall. It wasn’t over hanging but the boulders were set well. They had a lot of easy ones but there were only about 3 hard ones. There were only actually 2 I couldn’t complete but those two were extremely hard.



The next climbing I did was Ghar Hasan; the first deep water solo climbing I’d ever done. It was an easy traverse to start with, and then it got extremely slimy which made it quite pumpy. There are 2 caves on the traverse. Once you start the second cave it gets hard, you have to do an awkward heel hook and everyone that was there fell off at that point.

Next we joined the Malta Climbing Club yacht trip to Comino where we tried some amazing deep water soloing. I started off with an easy traverse to warm up and then lead onto a 7b traverse. I managed to get far along it but then the holds got far too slimy and I jumped to a slopper and found out that it was terrible and slipped off. Then me and 3 of the guys climbed to the top which was 10m up and then we all jumped off: it gave me such an adrenalin rush and is my best memory of the trip.

Back on the boat and we headed to another area of deep water soloing where I tried a hard climb that started off on a rope ladder then made its way up a massive block/stalactite. I fell just under the roof because I got scared as I was almost 7 metres up and I still hadn’t fallen for real. I got a big round of applause from the rest of the group who had all been watching me.

On Tuesday evening we joined in the MCC club night at Wied Babu. I was tired so I only tried one 7a+. It was horrible a 5+ up until 2 hard moves which are reachy and then it’s just like walking until the end.

The next day I went to Red Wall near Blue Grotto where I was with my dad, Fabien (one of the guys I climbed with quite regularly on the trip) and Simon Alden, the president of the Malta Climbing Club. We all abseiled down to the wall then did a traverse to warm up. After that I watched Fabien do a 7b+ trad/sport climb. When he had put one friend in and was about to clip the first bolt the hold he was holding snapped off and the friend he put in snapped out, so he hit the ground. He was alright but the chunks or rock that came out turned out to be bigger than my head. He got back on and then managed to get to the top without harm. I decided not to follow so took an easier route to the top.

Wanting to do a few harder sport routes we headed to Ghar Lapsi on Thursday. Lots of caves set into the hillside. We tried 2 7b’s and I didn’t manage either of them as they were extremely tricky with hard moves. I had also previously split my index finger open and it was incredibly sore to climb on so I just came down after trying the first one a few times and then I finished the second one after falling of 4 times.

Friday, again with Fabien, and back to Ghar Hasan where we went round left this time to the other side of the wall. I managed a full vertical climb which was about 15m up but it was only about 6b. Then we did a traverse that lead to a climb which was also around 15m up and was also about 6b. Fabien then managed to do quite a hard one which went under an overhang then up a slab but I fell of on the lip of the roof after going up and down trying to find the holds for about 15 minutes.

My final day’s climbing was more Deep Water Soloing at the base of Wied Babu this time with the parents so grades had to be much easier. The cove we were in was on the Blue Grotto boat tour routes so we had boats of tourists popping by every few minutes. I don’t think they were expecting to see climbers and quite a lot of photographs were taken.

It was an overall good trip. Deep Water Soloing is exciting but you need to be aware when you fall as water can be hard if you land badly. I want to go back and do more routes, maybe when the weather is cooler. I made some good friends in the Malta Climbing Club and hope to return the favour if they ever come over to Scotland to climb.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Scottish Youth Climbing Championships- 28th May 2011

I went into the Scottish finals really psyched to compete as I have won this before and knew my competition very well. The top 5 climbers from each category in the MCofS Youth Climbing Series are invited along to take part, as are all Scottish GB team members. There is also an open category for 17-19 year olds.

After seeing our routes I was slightly less fired up but still ready and when I heard we were on boulders first I couldn’t wait to begin. I got on the first one and finished it without even feeling the holds properly. I did the same on the second. The third was a bit more difficult and I was on it first. I spent 5 minutes planning it out thoroughly.

When I got on I realised I had little to worry about, the holds were small and quite sloppy but they were my specialty. The only bit that I struggled on was getting my balance right as that was crucial for the sequence. I managed it on my first go and it turns out I was the only one to actually complete it. That got me really excited for the routes. I got on the first one and found it as easy as the boulders. I struggled more on the second route, although I really shouldn’t have. I got the sequence wrong and therefore fell off the route, but I still managed to get the highest up. I did manage to do it first go after the comp. The third route was surprisingly easy compared to the second and I managed it with ease.

Then we went on to do the finals, where I was the last person out of isolation.

I got on the route and fell over half way up. The second I reached the ground I was swarmed by my friends who told me I had got the furthest on the route and therefore won. I was overwhelmed with happiness after a brilliant day.