New climbing area opens at Sant' Antnin Family Park

The MCC has been very busy over the past few weeks.  Apart from other things, we’ve helped the management of the newly opened Sant’ Antnin Family Park just outside Marsascala create a climbing facility where before there was only crumbly stone at the side of the car park.   Given the short time at our disposal we decided that the best solution would be a hybrid wall, part artificial, part natural rock with both leading and top-roping possibilities.

The result is that there are now three routes, creatively named the red route, the yellow route and the blue route.  The holds are plastic, bolted onto the natural rock.  The routes are meant for beginners but all have one or two tricky moves which require some thought and provide a bit of a challenge. The yellow route’s already established itself as being the “hard” one featuring a hidden jug chipped out of the rock.

The opening on Sunday 24th February was a great success and we had over 100 kids trying out our sport for the very first time. They all loved it without exception! It was amazing to see kids of all ages and sizes queue up to have a go.  The looks on their faces as they stepped up to the bottom of the route and started to climb.  The dogged determination of some contrasted with the quick surrender of others.  Some were quite talented and reached the top with hardly a pause.  Others frantically clawed and kicked and tried to grab everything in sight in an effort to make upward progress.  The latter were hard work for the belayers as we coaxed them up, trying to give them advice about where to place their feet and hands to push and pull on.  Then there were the little ones who, when faced with reaches too long, magically floated up from hold to hold as the belayer below heaved and grunted, pulling hard on the rope to make the child’s dream of “summiting” come true.  It was all about touching the chains at the top.  If the chains weren’t touched, the route wasn’t over.  And so the day progressed, endless queues of eager kids.  Which one will be leading 9b+ in 10 years time?? Who knows, maybe we belayed the future Adam Ondra up his first climb last week.

I would like to thank the following people for making it all possible: Stevie Haston for creating the routes and removing loads of loose rock and vegetation to make the area safe, Kenneth Abela for helping him with all the work, Stephen Farrugia, Andrew Hooper and Kyle Bonnici for belaying an endless line of  excited kids, Michele Fenech Adami for keeping control of the documentation and providing general support, Mars Cutajar for co-ordination and last but not least Ramon Sant Hill for providing some of the equipment. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to make it a success!

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