The new year came in with a spell of bright sunshine and unseasonable high temperatures accompanied by strong winds – just the ticket for winter climbing. Not many climbing destinations can boast of having climbers basking in the sun in short sleeves in January. The spell of good weather brought the send train into town with three climbers sending their projects over a weekend.
On Saturday morning Jacob Grech managed to close off Blood Meridian (7b), a John Moulding classic that he’d been working on since late November. This is a remarkable comeback from serious injury for Jacob, who was hospitalised after a ground fall in April 2017.
Here’s Jacob’s take on the route: “The first time I visited McCarthy’s Cave in 2016 this line immediately caught my attention. It starts with a colonette, has a traversing middle section with tufas and it finishes off with a crux boulder in the roof of the cave. It’s a battle all the way. Back then I thought OK, if I work hard enough I could possibly manage to do it. However, after my spinal injury I was not sure whether I could achieve this goal. Luckily I recovered well and am pleased to have sent this route.”
Jacob said that moving onwards he’ll be working on some more 7b lines in Mellieħa Cave and in Spooky Cave before moving on to projecting harder grades. “I would like to see more Maltese climbers, both male and females, so we can work hard together and inspire each other. For me climbing is not just a sport, it’s also a community and I am grateful for the friendships I am able to create along the way.”
Later that same day James Herrera linked another John Moulding route when he got to the chains of Malta’s first 8a, The Crossing. This hard wo/man’s route takes a direct line up the middle of McCarthy’s cave into a gaping horizontal roof slot that gradually narrows down to a foot sized crack.
Sunday was not a rest day – whilst the club was busy with its beginners Club Meet at Twin Caves, Hungarian climber Arpad Vas made his way to Terry’s Cave to work on Dancing on the Moon, the hardest route in that cave at grade 7c. Dancing on the Moon is Arpi’s second route at this grade and he worked on it for a couple of weeks.
“I would say it is my style because the route is short and bouldery. My height was also an advantage. I struggle much more on longer routes like Muesli Yogi, which was the first 7c I climbed. Thanks Rael Saez for bolting, Diogo Lapa for giving beta, Kasia Sarosiek and Bence Rottar for supporting! Now finally I want to finish my longest project ever Tufa Tirtoghod in Garden of Eden!”