Guest post by Matt Ventures! Check out his awesome adventure blog here!
When it comes to rock climbing, the Maltese Islands have a lot to offer. With over 1300 climbing routes around Malta, Gozo, and Comino, the islands are perfect for anyone interested in the sport, be it first-timers or seasoned pros.
The fact that there are so many climbs to choose from means that getting started can be slightly intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. The first thing you’ll need to do is pick the type of climbing you’re interested in:
- Sport-climbing on pre-bolted routes,
- Traditional (trad) climbing which involves finding and creating your own safety points on a natural rock face, or
- Bouldering which either involves climbing big rocks of up to 3-6m in height or traversing, which involves moving sideways as opposed to upwards.
For beginners, sport climbing is the easiest (and safest) to get into until you are confident on the rock, and even after that most people stick to it as their main type of climbing.
Once you’ve chosen a type of climbing it’s time to find a friend or a group, to go climbing with since for any climb to be safe you will need a minimum of two people; the climber on the wall, and the belayer who is holding the rope from below to minimize the danger of a fall (plus everything is way more fun with friends). If you don’t know anyone who climbs there are a number of climbing clubs and groups locally which you can join too.
Next up is picking a location. In Malta, most of the climbing sites are surrounded by stunning scenery such as valleys, cliffs, or caves… When picking a site it’s good to know the difficulty of the routes to make sure that they are attainable, especially when just starting out. The French rating system used in Malta starts from a 4a and goes all the way up to 9c with each number having a, b, and c. A route between 4a and 5a is ideal for beginners. The best way to see all the sites and climbing routes in Malta and Gozo is to get yourself a copy of “Sport Climbing in Malta & Gozo (2013)” which is the latest edition of the book.
The final step before heading to the crag is to get yourself a bit of gear. For your first time, it might be fine to borrow but after that, it’s good to have at least a pair of well-fitted shoes and a personal harness. There is way more to a climbing kit, including rope, quick-draws, carabiners, slings, and much more but you will generally be climbing with someone who has a full set of their own… That is until you realize you love the sport so much it’s time to invest in a full personal kit!
Once you get to your preferred site, kit up, and apply the ever-so-important chalk layer to your hands, it’s time to climb. There is truly nothing like the feeling of pushing through a problem to make your way to the top of the route, only to look down and see what you have conquered. The satisfaction is amazing, the view from the top stunning, and you’ve just done a full body workout, what more could you want!
Need more inspiration to go climbing? Check out Matt Venture's personal list of 9 reasons to take up rock climbing as your favorite sport!
Beginner Climbing Shoes: SCARPA Velocity
Beginner Harness: Climbing Technology ON-SIGHT harness
Beginner Belay Device: Climbing Technology CLICK-UP