Johnny Dawes solos new E6 at Għar Ħasan onsight!

Starting with a session at Mellieħa Cave to start getting fit  he repeated the appropriately titled 7a route Crazy Monkey after warming up  on two 6bs and one 6c route, Johnny set off to explore Gozo.  Two days of great climbing and swimming followed when Johnny ticked off a number of classic limestone routes at Mġarr ix-Xini.  These included Dirty Girls 5c and Moral Obligations 6b+ (during the workshop) and Champagne 6b+, Unfinished Business F6c+ and a bolted 6b line right of the trad route Moby Dick.

Back in Malta this afternoon we headed south to Għar Ħasan which we’d visited already on Monday, for a look at the big unclimbed cliff to the right of the descent.   At the end of the traverse into the cave Johnny avoided wetting his rock shoes by taking a dangerous looking line on the overhang above the sea shelf to join the usual traverse line at the corner.  A further 10m got to a sit down. Local Fabien had taken a ramp off right at this point but retreated because of doubts about the rock. Johnny tried an alternative exit up the highest part of the cliff. Up an exciting narrowing  rib, to an open groove layback, taking the choice of blank wall over a shattered bulge.  6a crimping led to a sloping pull into a big isolated  cave high on the cliff. He then set off on a traverse through the slabby rock to its right, the finish bulge rock up 5c, 100ft plus above the sea was not to be  fallen off.  A tenuous piece of route finding on a big gruff cliff. Shake and Bake is the first climb to reach the top of the cliff.  E5/6 6a.

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