QUESTING IN GOZO

Now that the mysterious Prow Wall Offwidth case has been solved, (see Colin and Tony’s comments on post below:)  Although, not entirely,  we’re still waiting to hear from the original person who put in the anchor on top, and I’m still curious if they’ve been free’d yet or not?  Hmm, I wonder.  But since Colin Moorhead knows more about rock climbing in Squamish than maybe any other person and he has no solid answer, I’d have to go with “probably not”.  Regardless, they are big, bold and beautiful and I think they’ll make for a great ground up approach to the Power of Yesterday, 5.13c.

However, there’s not much sense in thinking about the big Chief right now,  since it’s literally socked in fog and snow.  I wonder if the great granite monolith is even still there, I feel like I haven’t seen it in days.  Either way, I am more excited about my upcoming trip than I am about climbing steep wet offwidths.

A bit of history,  WAY back in 2005, Paul Bride and I were drunk on cheap wine and homemade chocolate chip cookies, randomly searching internet photo’s looking for climbing adventures in random places.  What we found was a photo of the Blue Grotto on the island of Malta.    What?  We booked our tickets IMMEDIATELY based solely on that ONE photograph, without any idea of what the rest of the country may offer.  See the photo below.

Below, Jason Holowach jumps off the Blue Grotto’s famous arch while Nels and I wait patiently in the kayak to pick him up.  Paul Bride Photograph.  What a wild route that was.  Oh wow,  what a route.

When we arrived with team Canada, (Paul Bride, Me, Nels Rosassen, Jason Holowach, Matt Maddaloni) and Katie Brown, (our token American representative) we paddled around the islands with inflatable kayaks and established a heap of new deep water solo’s up to 5.13a.  It was the trip of a lifetime.   We also managed to climb a 5.11 or 5.12 on the underside of this huge arch (above) called “Limestone Cowboy’s”, but we jumped off before topping out as it got too dangerous.  Check out these video clips that Matt and I made when we were just little kids.  Notice my awesome green bathing cap with mohawk.  Pretty funny that we actually pulled off such a rad exploration type adventure.   To see all the video’s, check out Matt’s VIMEO PAGE.

 

Malta DWS part 1 of 3 from Matt Maddaloni on Vimeo.

Malta DWS Part 3 of 3 from Matt Maddaloni on Vimeo.

So,  this time around, (7 years later) I am going back with my friends Tommy Caldwell, Becca Caldwell and Corey Rich.  We want to explore the bigger, more traditional style rock climbs on the south side of Gozo island.  The cliffs range from 300 – 500 feet tall.  Interestingly, the legendary Brit Stevie Haston is there right now, putting up new routes as well, some bolted, some not.  What are the odds?  Actually, Malta is nothing new to the British Climbers, who have been going there for decades, in hopes of finding super scary very difficult extremely severe trad routes in slightly better weather.   I hope we get the chance to bump into Stevie, he’s a bit of a hero of mine, although, I am also slightly intimidated by him, I mean, he’s from the days when Men were Men, and he’s known as THE man, the man who does 1000 pull-ups A DAY,  YIKES.  Can you say…….Burl. See his latest creation below. Click on the image to get to the link.

So, ya, I leave in one week.  If my memory serves me correctly, we’ll encounter some outrageous caves, long runouts between sketchy gear, lots of sunshine and maybe we’ll get to open up some new routes if we’re lucky.  Malta is relatively unknown, and I seriously can’t believe I am going back to this place for my second time.  Although, 2 weeks may not be enough:)  Cool, gotta go,  I hope you’re all out there living your dreams, little by little, day by day.  I know Stevie Haston is,  what a beast.

  • Pat

    Have fun Sonnie, I think when you were referring to Stevie you meant that he did 1000 pullups a day and not 100(which is still really good).
    Cheers

  • Sonnie

    Thanks Pat, I’ll try. Yah, I often forget that last zero, I have that problem when writing rent cheques as well:) ha. Way to go Stevie – I have also done his core workout and could barely walk the next day.

  • Hey Sonny, just came across this post and the news that you and your posse are coming out here is fantastic! Not sure how much you know about the new routing activities going on in Malta right now but this year it has taken off big-time. We have just published a cover article in Climber, the British climbing mag http://www.climbmalta.com/news/mrcc-helps-put-malta-on-the-front-cover-of-climber-magazine-uk.html and another major piece has appeared in Pareti, the Italian climbing mag. I run the MTA-MRCC Bolting Project for the Maltese government and we are helping Stevie’s prolific bolting by supplying bolts, manpower and material for his work. Our own bolting team is hard at work setting up routes from 4 right up to 8a/b, including a new multi-pitch two weeks ago on the West Gozo cliffs which went at 7a+. It will be great to meet up while you guys are here and see what we can get up to together…let’s get in touch.