A 55-meter Roof at 55 Years Old
Stevie Haston is one of those climbers whose achievements will instantly humble your project. The 55-year-old Brit sent a 55-meter-long roof April 8 on the island of Gozo in the Maltese archipelago. He calls the route King of Kings (5.13d), which might be the longest roof climb in the world. (Haston is no stranger to hard roof routes; in 2009, he made a quick ascent of the roof crack Greenspit in northern Italy. He's also climbed up to 5.14d sport routes.)
Haston set out to Gozo for two and a half months of climbing in early March, and put up more than 40 new pitches throughout the island. “We have done some great grade 5s, some great 6s, some joyous righteous 7s, and a few tough 8s,” writes Haston in his blog. “I think they are some of the best routes I have done in over 40 years of opening routes.”
But King of Kings stands out among all his new routes. “There is one thing that shines: King of Kings—best new route, totally world-class.” The route winds along the roof of a cave known as the Underworld, pausing at a cleared ledge before continuing to a steep cliff face. See photos at Haston's blog or maltaclimbingclub.com.
The route is unrepeated as of yet, but several climbers are working on it. Climbing at 55 and continuing to put up world-class routes, Stevie Haston is still a certified badass.