Sunday, 23 January 2011
So I am back. It was a great trip. Greatness of note including:
9 days climbing in a row. I think that's the most in a row I've done, not hampered by pissy weather or gaylord gf climbing partners "waaah I need a rest day can we do something different for a change?!?" etc etc. I was still as SYKED as ever on the last day, still just loving the climbing. It was important that we kept mixing it up: steep routes, slabs, sport, trad, adventurous routes, rough rock, smooth rock. This kept it FRESH and FUNKY and kept motivation and inspiration high whilst alternating limbs and skin to allow things to heal. Scratches aside I felt invigorated rather than tired by the end of it. I'd be quite interested to base myself in a similarly dry and varied climbing area and see how many....WEEKS I could climb in a row :D.
Did I mention the weather?? OMFG. I'd forgotten what such dryness was like. The forecast kept predicting 20% chance of rain (itself not a huge worry with sunny quick drying crags), which invariably turned into 20% of light cloud of 80% chance of awesomeness. There was a grand total of 1 light shower and one thunderstorm, both overnight. Some good luck at last.
I think I did okay climbing. I kept a fair level of challenge although didn't push that hard, with only a handful of routes that made me go "woah, that was tough". By the end I was keen to ramp up the grade a bit, but there was still too much to explore. I guess I was actually doing pretty well as it was a trip during the "off-season" for trad....but I also think the rock often suited me well, with a good choice of reassuringly positive holds and pretty good gear when you got it (apart from the slabs, which just felt nice in general regardless). It's all good mileage anyway.
Malta was cool for the reasons mentioned before: exotic and intriguing yet fairly convenient and cheap, cool architecture and churches, nice coastlines, a manageable size, and entertainingly lawless driving - the latter I survived more by fitting well into it rather than taking suitable care ;).
Climbing-wise I'd definitely recommend it for a typical British climber. If you want to sit at the bottom of a mega-classic mega-chalked mega-polished 7c rotpunkt for a whole week, or want some epic dolomotic suffer-fests, then forget it. But if you want plentiful mid-grade trad, mixed and sport limestone with a good varied blend of steep accessible outcrops, proper slabs, and proper UK-style sea-cliff face climbing, all with a decent guidebook on a fun island with very good winter temperatures, then it's got to be worth a try.
Next up: Plans for April, plans for the year, Scottish bouldering, sun-trap trad, gym and general climbing training. Woohoo!