Rock climbing is all about forgetting the problems of everyday life and focusing on the simple joy of moving slowly, carefully and attentively. It’s all about diving headlong into a challenge, rather than backing away. It’s about strength, technique, skill and a healthy state of mind. Above all, it’s about that addictive adrenaline rush.
It’s a common misconception that you have to be young and in superb physical condition to rock climb. However, being healthy and fit will definitely help. Technique, not strength, is what makes a climber a successful one. Mental strength, physical practice and control are necessary in learning how to rock climb.
Climbing is cheaper than many other extreme sports, such as skiing. As with most outdoor activity, you can spend more by getting the latest gear and equipment and jetting off to popular climbing destinations around the world however you can keep it very economical by climbing locally. On the Maltese islands there is a lot of interesting climbing crags, including Wied Babu in Zurrieq, Ghar Lapsi, Mosta Valley, Mtahleb, Victoria Lines, Fawarra, Fomm ir-Rih, and in Gozo, Mgarr ix-Xini, Dwejra and Xlendi Valley.
Beginners must be accompanied by a climbing guide or at least by a local experienced climber with several years of climbing experience who knows is the area very well and is familiar with safety procedures and basic principles.
One will find various disciplines in this sport. Climbing divides itself in top-roping, leading, bouldering, deep water soloing, free climbing and indoor artificial wall climbing which is usually performed in gyms.
People may ask themselves “Isn’t climbing dangerous?”. Any outdoor sports involves some element of risk but if you are ready to follow established safety procedures, then the risk factor is minimized. While rock climbing is considered to be an extreme sport, modern techniques and equipment have greatly improved the level of safety.
While some climbers may take some risks, rock climbing can be safe, challenging and enjoyable at any level of difficulty.
Kurt Vella Haber