It’s a double feature today, as I thought it would be rather silly to share these separately. I’m also happy to say that I have some new photography to work on from this weekend, but that will have to wait until I find the time to process them. Meanwhile I’ll be sharing some photos (like these) that I took over the Christmas period. These holidays I took the opportunity to catch up on my wood working, and as the weather collaborated, also enjoyed more than my fair share of climbing. It’s one of the good things of living within 30 mins of most crags on the island, so it would have been a crime to do otherwise.
As it turned out, my friends Ken & Nina were intent on spending lots of time at the crags too, so I joined them on a few outings. In the one where I took these photos, on Christmas eve, we planned to do a lovely 93m multi-pitch at Xaqqa called Klin Selvaġġ. This is an easy slab (hardest pitch at 5a, yeah you read that right) in fantastic surroundings. With Mediterranean blue below and views of the surrounding cliffs as you ascend, there’s little to complain about. Oh and there’s also the aroma of wild herbs, from the eponymous Rosemary (Klin in Maltese), to the ever-present Thyme (Sagħtar, if you’re keeping track of the Maltese names).
As there were three of us, there was more than the usual rope management to work out. I had done this route before (leading the second pitch), so we set up with me leading the first pitch (technically the first two pitches, following the current guidebook) on two ropes. Once I made myself safe at the stance, I’d take in the slack on each rope, and Ken & Nina would separately second the first pitch. Before starting I also set up my Mobius to shoot video, hoping to have a few stills that would be worth keeping. I knew from previous experience that the footage would be little use otherwise.
So this is where the photos are from – separate stills from an HD video sequence. And it also explains how I could take the photos and safely belay my friends up. Sadly, the battery gave up before we were all at the first stance, so that’s the last of the photos from this day. Thankfully, Nina had her phone with her, so at least we also have something more than memories of the place. Otherwise, all the photos needed was some minor selective curves adjustments to balance out the exposure. The trickiest bit was finding the right frame to extract.