Malta - January 1st-8th 2002

This was my 4th visit to Malta and I've been fairly lucky with the weather. The locals are very friendly to 'Brits' with the climbing being just as friendly and there are many good routes. The island is quite small and you're always pretty close to a crag!

On the first day I usually head off in the cheap hired car to Ghar Lapsi
since I find it the easiest of the crags to locate.

The tiny fishing village of Ghar Lapsi is a popular spot for the locals and it has a handy car park and a big cafe. The crag is 20-30m high, set back from the coastline and is only a short walk away. Less than 50 routes have been recorded on this huge cliff - there is scope for many more of all grades!

It also looks like it would be a good spot to start a coastal walk from.


Deirdre on: Bronwen Buttress

Andy on a new route: Norman Nose

Deirdre on:Commando Ratlines


You actually pass by Xaqqa as you approach Ghar Lapsi,

Xaqqa is in a westward facing ravine that the road has to go around... but it is below road
level and your eyes are glued to your first sight of the distant cliff of Ghar Lapsi.
You can park on the road right by it, but closer access has been closed off to
deter the locals from 'flytipping' their larger items there.

It is an extensive slab at an amenable angle with plenty of horizontal and
vertical cracks. As you walk down the ravine the height of the cliff increases
down from road level to sea level and is about 300' high at the far end.

The slabby cliff continues out over the sea - the horizontal cracks serve it well with
traverse lines - but despite it's size less than 50 routes have been recorded here!


Looking Eastwards from the Ghar Lapsi cliff you can see the Hamrija Tower
on the top of the distant cliff, down below this at sea level are the HT slabs.

These are best approached from the car park of the Hagar Qim prehistoric temples


The jewel of these is the 100 Yards Slab:

The 100 Yards Slab is a huge slab with less than a dozen lines on it...
There is much scope for new routes of all grades.

Deirdre on the classic: 100 Yds Traverse

Deirdre abseiling down the 100yds Slab

Andy climbing carefully on the slab next to Chilli Wind


An equally good (just smaller) area is
the HT Sea Slab which has a number of excellent routes.

There are several other small slabs nearby on which I have not had time to climb.


A little further east is the valley of Wied Babu. This is one of my favourite areas.
It's sheltered from any wind and has lots of routes of all grades in it.

Where the Wied Babu meets the sea is a fabulous view out over the 'Blue Grotto'
which tourists view via a coastal boat ride.

The flat wall on the left of the picture which is where the route
'Hello Boys' (E2) is situated, this is the only route on this wall so far...


From the seaward end of Wied Babu, up on the eastward side, you can walk over some
seaward facing slabs to find the superb 300' route Continuation Wall, E1 5b
This really should be climbed if possible, historically it's the route of the island.


Further round the coast are the Ghar Hassan Caves. During the siege of Malta (WW2)
families lived in these caves and there are many similar areas all over the island.

From the entrance you can look up the coast and see the rock pinnacle of
the Old Man of Mixta which has a number of climbs on and around it

It is well worth a visit to the Inland Sea of Gozo, just for the scenery if nothing else.
There is a 'countryside' feel to Gozo. The Inland Sea is a tourist destination so there is a
cafe there and you can hire a boat to take you through the cliff tunnel to the open sea from the lagoon.

1

There are a dozen routes on the righthand side and four on the lefthandside


To the left (south) of the Inland Sea is the photogenic 'Azure Window',
this can be found on many postcards, I've even seen one where
the sea was breaking over the top of it during a storm!

This is a view from the top of the route 'Phoenicia' looking west over
Dwejra Bay to the Azure Window and the Inland Sea.
'Phoenica' is a 240' E1 5a/b which has an interesting abseil approach.


Another area I've climbed is Victoria Lines which is a limestone ridge running diagonally across the island. This has about 100 recorded routes on it.
- but there is masses of climbing in Malta - and that's not even counting the new route possibilities...


Guidebooks & Information about Malta:

The latest guidebook is now available (September 2007)  Lm12.24 (28.50 euros) plus P&P

     Click on the guidebook picture for more information                  (To view the map better: Right-Click and "Save picture as..." - then view it from your computer)

 Or visit the 'Malta Rockclimbing' website for more information about climbing in Malta

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