A welcome change of scene at Argentier

The MRCC made the best of a cloudless day last Sunday and headed to Argentier, in the limits of Xemxija to re-discover the numerous routes at their disposal and try out new ones. Beginner climbers were up for numerous personal challenges, pushing the grades as they tried out climbs from English 4b up to French 6b, including the fully bolted dynamic route ‘Jackie Chan’ 6b. This starts to the right of the corner climb on the white crumbly looking rock, ascends leftwards then diagonally right to reach the harder crux with better quality rock and up left from the crack to finish.

The other test piece for the relative newcomers was the corner crack with it’s awkward jamming and spanning, and delicate but pumpy finish. The gang acquitted themselves admirably and almost all made it to the ring at the top. Meanwhile, around the corner others were exploring the pin-sharp holds on the short but interesting routes that start off the roof of an ancient animal shelter, then follow the quirkily protected lines that Richie Abela installed with in-situ threads from top to bottom. These are sport routes without bolts and all you need to climb them are quick-draws. Amazingly, the routes all have natural threads at regular intervals, almost as if some divine intervention made these to order…

Jeff’s routes – the mega-overhanging, muscle-ripping bolt masterpieces were the only lines not attempted on this jaunt. John Codling’s 7a wall received attention of another sort, with the loose bolts being tightened and restored to their full usefulness.

All in all it was a day to remember…well over 30 people attended, climbed, ate, drank and made merry. Even the farmer was pleased to join us for a little chat later in the day and the stragglers only made it out after the sun had set…

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