Here is a small Christmas gift from the MRCC for the whole of the local climbing community, as well as all the keen abseilers who use Xaqqa valley for their activities. Over the last couple of days Roland Sultana, Kurt Caligari and I have installed a rung ladder at Xaqqa Chimney.
Xaqqa Chimney has been a problem for ever. In the past there were piled stones and various other configurations as aids to ascent/descent of the Chimney, all precarious. Most recently someone had placed a pallet against the rock face and this served as an adequate way up and down. However the pallet was just resting there and was liable to move while someone was stepping down onto it. The wood was deteriorating in the sun and would eventually break under someone’s weight. Aside from this it was a bit of an eyesore.
As part of our work to improve access to crags and generally make access safer, we decided that this would be a good improvement to Xaqqa valley, in line with the rung ladder we had installed further down in Cave Pitch a couple of years ago. It was also discussed with other members of the climbing community, and all agreed to it being a necessity.
This is something we have wanted to do for a long time. In fact the rungs were ordered months ago by Andrew Sammut who had kindly taken care of this part of the job. Last Sunday after climbing Roland, Kurt and I had a window of opportunity and headed out there. Naturally the drill ran out of juice just short of completing the job so I headed back there early the following morning – thank god for shut down! – and completed the job before the sun came up!! Now access to Motorcycle slab is much easier and safer. There is one rung still to be installed but it needs to be ordered specially so this will come along later. Thanks go to Hilti our sponsors for providing the drill, the MTA-MRCC Bolting Project for funding the rungs, Andrew Sammut, Roland and Kurt for their work.
As a footnote, Xaqqa Chimney did not always have that boulder choking it. The 1970s guidebook describes it as a bridging descent, chimney style – hence the name. It is probably a blast from the quarry above or perhaps some of the work that went into building the road across the valley that resulted in the chimney being choked by that boulder.
Merry Christmas to the entire climbing community from the MRCC Committee and the MTA-MRCC Bolting Team!