MCC meet at Wied Qirda

A Day out in the Sun (by Stephen Farrugia)

Following last year’s successful clean-up I returned to Wied Qirda in late October to retrobolt some of the partially bolted routes on Sphinx Buttress. This brought the complement of sport climbing routes in Wied Qirda to seven, offering a nice range of moderate climbs. A big thank you goes out to Carmen for belaying me on one of the bolting outings.

A sunny Saturday morning saw the return of the MCC climbing meet to Wied Qirda to try out the newly bolted routes. Starting on the far right of Sphinx Buttress the group warmed up on Cleopatra’s Jugs F5b, an easy route I had bolted at the start of the summer. With muscles limbered up the group turned its attention to the more involving climbs on the actual buttress: Curse of the Mummy and Inscrutable Smile (both F6b). The former is at the soft end of the grade, and can be downgraded to a 6a/+ route if the initial overhang is avoided by stepping left.

Anthony Martinelli on the crux move of Sphinx's Right Hand
Anthony Martinelli on the crux move of Sphinx’s Right Hand
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Sean Cassar on Inscrutable Smile F6b

While at Sphinx Buttress the group also tried Sphinx’s RH on toprope, and with some encouragement from Andy Hooper I roped up and led Tutenkamun. I made it to the top by the skin of my teeth, and my initial assessment is that it is a soft 7a, possibly easier for people with a long reach (like me 😉 ). Andy Hooper followed on lead, and Vroni Still and Sean Cassar gave the route a good run for its money later in the day.

Andy Hooper with Greta Muscat Azzopardi and Gayle Murphy enjoying the winter sun below the Sphinx block
Andy Hooper with Greta Muscat Azzopardi and Gayle Murphy enjoying the winter sun below the Sphinx block

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Many thanks to the people who showed up and made this a memorable day at the crag!  Hopefully now that there are several sport routes to try out, Wied Qirda will see more climbing traffic and the bamboo and brambles will be kept at bay!

The Sport routes at Wied Qirda are:
Tutenkamun 7a / 6c+
Curse of the Mummy 6b
Inscrutable Smile 6b
Cleopatra’s Jugs 5b
Cobra Brothers 6b+
Familia Tilerin 6a+
Highlife 7a

A note about the old bolts on the routes:   please note that while installing the new bolts on Tutenkamun, Curse of the Mummy and Inscrutable Smile I could not remove the old, dangerous protection bolts. The flat head bolts on Curse of the Mummy and Inscrutable Smile seem to have fused, and wouldn’t budge under my spanner; whereas the rusty piton on Tutenkamun seems to have been hammered home very well!  Please do not use the old/rusty bolts – the new resin bolts are within 15-20cm of the old bolts. The club would appreciate if anyone with a battery powered grinder would get in touch to lend us the equipment, or do the job of removing the old bolts and piton!

 

Check out the routes in the new Sport Climbing Guide which will be available on the 22nd November.

 

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