New 7b Sport Route at Honey Buttress – Virgin Bolter!

What a fantastic day for climbing yesterday, after the dreary weather we’ve had. The MRCC gang made the most of it with a great crowd of people turning up to enjoy the sunshine. The beauty of Honey Buttress is that it has trad and sport climbs, both easy and difficult. While I warmed up on a few trad leads on the left side including Fly With Me, Honey Bee and Qagħaq tal-Għasel, our new hot-shot clubbie Michael from Germany warmed up on A Taste of Honey 7a!! The rest of the climbs there all got plenty of attention, including Honey and Cream E2 5c, almost completed on sight by Dino, fresh from his launch of GoClimbMalta the night before (and a little the worse for wear).

After flashing ATOH (dirty-bit variation) Michael then calmly led up The Bee’s Knees ‘Direct’ 7a+, a strangely bolted climb that traverses a good 4m across the face, including death-fall potential after the first (manky) bolt and the last bolt. I have only ever seen two people climb this route since its creation in 1997! Michael cruised it with only one rest at the corroded first bolt (which I was sure would pop, but it didn’t).

Not happy with the route’s meandering, we all got to working a more direct version of the direct line of TBK. Nicola (from Italy) suggested a fresh start line, he and Michael and Kurt and Roland worked it and found that it was doable (we had toproped this line years earlier with Jeff). Then I felt that Michael had not done his worst yet, so I asked him to scope a new line in between TBK and ATOH. Sure enough he found a line and top-roped it with a few rests and plenty of encouragement from below. With that, the course of the afternoon was set.

Once the gang had worn themselves out and most drifted off to lunch and family affairs, Nicola, Michael, Arno and I got to work. It was clear that The Bee’s Knees’ Super Direct yearned to be equipped, and the run out at the top needed to be made safe. Michael’s new line could not go unbolted. So using the rest of the daylight to good effect, we put in the hard grind and left the crag with a fantastic – and safe – new variation on the excellent The Bee’s Knees – Super Direct 7a+ and a brand new line, still to be led which so far has the working title Virgin Bolter 7b (name to be confirmed later).

Now tell me this, how many of us can say that the first route we ever bolted was a 7b…Michael is the only person I know who can!!

Andrew Warrington

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