Thursday, 11 December 2014

Mallorca Deep Water solo trip

Well, what an absolute blast of a trip I’ve just been on to the beautiful Mediterranean island of Mallorca! I remember one of the first ever climbing films that I bought over 10 years ago called Dosage II. It documented a wide range of climbing all over the world and the episode that really caught my attention was shot on the island of Mallorca showing a load of strong guys Deep Water Soloing on amazing looking cliffs above the sea.  Ever since I saw that clip I knew I just had to visit the place and try it out for myself.

DWS Team: Me, Ed and Al

Your damn right!

Over the last couple of summers I’ve got more and more excited about this weird and wonderful sport of Deep water soloing (DWS), doing a number of small trips down to the south Coast of England to try it out, such as Lulworth Cove, Swanage, Ansteys and every time I come away I want more! Its an amazing experience to be climbing free, with no ropes or harness with the ocean to catch you if you fall.

So I knew that Mallorca is the undisputed capital of DWS in the world so with time on my hands and two other partners in crime Ed and Alistair Corbett we booked our cheap Ryanair flights and off we went on a cold, wet November afternoon. After an uncomfortable two and a half hour flight across Europe we landed at the capital of the island Palma. It was dark and we picked up our bag and car hire and drove east across the island to the small town of Sa Coma on the East coast.
The following day we were greeted by beautiful sunshine and it was about 20 degrees! We coudnt get back in the car quick enough and drove the long 10minute drive down the coast to where the main cliff for DWS is on the Island called Cova del Diablo. This is the Holy Grail for DWS in the world! A pristine piece of rock architecture over 100meters in length, 18meters high and around 7-10 meters water depth. The first view of it was utterly inspiring and I quickly got my boots on and got involved! I took it fairly steady to start off with some nice easy traverses just above the ocean and then started heading upwards.  The routes felt amazing, super steep and pumpy but with huge holds all over the place for your hands and feet. Each time I reached the top of the wall I couldn’t stop smiling with excitement. It was awesome!

Highlights from Diablo: Every route! But in particular...
 In the night, every cat is black 8a, Ejector Seat 7c, Afroman 7b+, Surfin bird 7b, Iguanodon 7b, Superwomen 7a+, The Lobster 6c+, Surfin Dead 6c+, Blue Tuna 6c+.

Cova del Diablo

First day psyche

Ed on camera duty 

Our plush apartment in Sa Coma

Home from home

Basecampo at el Diablo

Corbett senior on Surfer Dead 6c+

Hamer Junior on Surfer Dead 

Freezing temps in the Med!

Me on The Lobster 6c+

Abseil swing 

Ed on the crux slap of Ejector Seat 7c

Me on the same move

So along with Diablo we also spent much time at the less intimating but stunning Cala Barques further down the coast. Here were beautiful coves and beaches with slightly smaller limestone caves and cliffs to climb on. A great place to really push yourself without being too scared of falling off! The rock was covered in amazing formations of Stalactites and tuffas designed for climbing on and some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen. So the next two weeks we threw ourselves at as many routes as possible climbing some incredible lines and taking some BIG falls all with a soft landing.

Highlights from Cala Barques:
Smash it in! 8a (flash), Bandito 7c, Strangers in Paradise 7b+, Metrosexual 7a+, Big XXL 7a, The Might of the Stalactite 7a

Al on Metrosexual 7a+

Drop Shadow Diseases 6c+

Transversal 7a

Bandito 7c

Transexual 7b

Strangers in Paradise 7b+


We also managed to drag ourselves away from the sea cliffs and have a day up in the hills above Palma, checking out the premier sport crag on the island Fraguel. It did not disappoint! A clean limestone wall covered in amazing formations and with out a doubt one of the best cliffs I’ve been to in Europe. You could definitely have a great trip here just sport climbing.

All in all it was a fantastic trip and a great time to visit the island due to it being out of season and so very few tourists and even by late November the climate was still perfect being in the mid 20’s each day. Could not recommend a trip more!

Here's a couple of videos from our time out there...enjoy