A Guide to Deep Water Soloing in Sunny Mallorca

Mallorca is not only the largest Balearic Island in the Mediterranean Sea, this sunny Spanish sanctuary also offers some of the most extreme deep water soloing anywhere in the world. Mallorca transformed from a traditional climbing locale into a deep water soloing oasis, when, in 2005, American climber Chris Sharma made his breath-taking inaugural ascent of the Deep Water Solo (DWS) line of Es Pontas, which is rumoured to be a 9a+, but has not been repeated at the time of writing.

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Deep water soloing – the practice of solo climbing above the sea – has been around since
the 1970s, but has exploded in popularity in recent years because most climbers love the purity of the climbing style. There is no need for gear, no need for belayers, a spotter, or cumbersome ropes. Deep water soloing consists of only the climber and the limestone. The seawater is the safety net, which, as many experienced solo-ers will tell you is often more forgiving than a five-inch mat of foam.

To successfully deep-water solo in Mallorca, some equipment is needed. I would recommend taking two pairs of climbing boots – one to climb with, while the other is drying in the sun at your Spanish villa. Switch the pairs over the next day. On long climbs, powdered chalk proves invaluable, as does a hand towel, which might be necessary should you choose to climb lines that start in Mallorca’s many shaded caves.

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Many deep solo climbers are of course drawn to Mallorca by the Es Pontas line, but, thankfully, the Spanish island offers a number of other exhilarating climbing opportunities. Cala Barques is such an opportunity. The first in a cluster of caves features dazzling stalactites that are dripping with moisture. Climb “The Might of the Stalactite” (7a) if you choose to climb here, because it leads to more advanced climbs, such as Toni Lamprecht’s “Big XXL,” another 7a. Just over the hill from this first cave are two smaller caves that both lead to a grotto. The most famous wall at Cala Barques, though, the Tarantino Wall, is perfect for the efficient, experienced, and in-shape solo climber.

Other Mallorca solo hotspots include Cova Del Diablo, considered by many to be the DWS “jewel” of the Mediterranean because of its perfectly spaced crimps, jugs, and tufas. Porto Colom, Cala Marcal, Cala Sa Nau and Cala Mitjana are favourites of deep water rock climbers. The landscape at Cala Sa Nau is dwarfed by a huge cave that promises excellent roof climbs. Klem Lockots “Hupolup Kempf” (8b) and Chris Sharma’s “Weather man” (8a) are also located here.

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The best time to deep-water solo in Mallorca is usually in September or October, when the water is still warm but the temperature does not get too hot. Later in the year, winter winds cause rough sea conditions and an increased chance of rain. Avoid July and August, as the sun hangs high in the sky during those months and the rock faces grow blisteringly hot. The best way to explore Mallorca is to book a last minute deal via Direct Line Holidays where you will find great offers on flights and package holidays.

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