We had picked the location for the annual spring climbing even before I went to Chamonix in winter – it was Malta, a small Mediterranean island. It is measured to around 300,000 square kilometers and has about 400,000 inhabitants.
While the plane was descending we were – in vain – searching for some bigger pieces of rock between the bushes and trees. The first question after the landing was: “Where are we going to climb here?” We slept in a spacious house near the shore, some 15 kilometers away from Valletta, the capital of Malta. With a rented Renault 5, for which we paid 200 Euros for 10 days of our stay, we visited most of the important climbing areas in the island and found out that Malta has more than enough smaller and bigger walls with good rock. The overhanging cliffs near the sea are predominating along with some karst holes in the hinterland. The sector Il-Latinia is a good example of that – the walls are as overhanging as they are high. The routes are rather under-evaluated than over-evaluated. It’s obvious the old-school climber Stevie Haston was present when the routes were being made. We climbed some beautiful and difficult lines. We mostly cooked the dinners ourselves on the terrace with a big barbecue, since the fish market nearby had a great supply of fresh fish every day – one day we even prepared swordfish. We took three days for rest and used them for the touristic exploration of the island, which is full of churches, fortresses and other historically significant buildings. We, of course, visited the Saint Julian’s quarter in the late-night hours.
The 10 days we spent in Malta ensured us a great new climbing experience and lots of fun.