Mallorca is the place to go if this is a sport you love and it’s the perfect place for all seasons, especially ideal if you need a break from the big chill in northern Europe. With its long stretches of accessible cliffs and a warm Mediterranean climate, it’s difficult to beat. And even better, you don’t need to haul all your ropes and kit there – you won’t need them. That is – you won’t need them if you are there to deep water solo.
Just south of Porto Cristo, Chris Sharma made the ‘La Hostia’ line famous , a terrifying 8a+ – it starts at the back of the cave and makes its way right out over the horizontal roof. There are not many easy lines in this cave, but Porto Cristo itself is probably the mecca of climbing for deep water soloists. Its beautifully pocketed wall.. towers 18 metres above the sea and although many of the lines are 7 and above, there are some lower grade climbs here too.
Cala Marcel is perfect for easier climbing although there are a few challenging lines. This crag rises to about 16m and has, for the most part, easy angled walls, but it’s Cala Barques which draws DWS climbers. To reach it you have about a 15 minute hike along a rocky, tree-lined trail to a pristine white sand beach. And there you find Mallorca’s DWS playground – an area which has a little bit of something for everyone. It has caves, overhanging walls, crags – though not too high, and, if you’ve heard of the famous Tarantino Wall …. this is where you will find it! Actually it’s a cave and it’s guaranteed to supply thrills and many spills. The easiest line is Raticida which is a mere 6b – more of an adventure than true grit DWS, but the rest make up for it. With names like Kill Bill and Big Mama, you can expect the adrenaline to be pumping here with climbs ranging from 7c to 8a+
But there are many others sites on the east coast of Mallorca. Some excellent smaller venues such as Cala Sa Nau, Porto Colom and Cala Mitjana which have a mixture of mid-grade and hard routes. Porto Colom has a few easier routes ideal for beginners. In fact Porto Colom is the DWS equivalent of the bouldering mecca for climbers – short roof climbs in a sheltered cove with the option to extend if you wish. Further south there’s the arch at Es Pontas made famous by Chris Sharma. Certainly not easy. This is indubitably the most difficult DWS route in the world. The arch offers little more than hard, extreme lines, with the créme de la créme of them all being Sharma’s ‘Es Pontas’ at a whopping 9a+ / 9b.
Cala Llombards is more isolated and has steep caves and thin upper walls offering difficult, higher end of the grade lines. It’s pretty difficult – even for the best of climbers!
The largest crag on the island is the golden juggy cliff at Cala Serena which has nearly a hundred lines on a variety of different angled walls. The cliffs rise to about 18m in places, but most of the lines finish at around 16m. Shorter lines tend to finish on ledges. Beware the left side of the cliff. The golden juggy walls turn into sharp grey rock and most people try to avoid this area.
Although the majority of deep water soloing areas in Mallorca are situated on the east side of the island, this is not entirely true. There are new routes to be found near Port de Soller as well. The crag is perched well above the sea, surrounded by pine trees, a beautiful setting, but it’s the main feature of the crag that draws DWS climbers to the area. The huge central cave has some excellent test-pieces for those searching for challenging lines, but if you want something less challenging, it’s the walls on either side where you will be headed. They offer much more friendly-angled climbing with some of the best 6a to 6c routes on the island. Most of the better routes involve steep climbing on huge and weird rock formations giving exposure more usually encountered on steeper pitches.
So. Are you wondering where to go for a weekend break? A long weekend? Or maybe even a bit of a holiday? Look no further…. “Mallorca, here I come!”
Photo courtesy of The Weekender