Deep Water Soloing / Psicobloc in Mallorca
Mallorca is the world mecca for this relatively new sport of deep water soloing / Psicobloc. It is all about fun in the sun and is what all of the cool kids will be up to this summer. In short it is basically climbing above the sea totally unencumbered by ropes and the usual climbing safety equipment! In fact the proper way to partake of this sport is to climb the route straight from sea level and fall back into the sea either on reaching the top or by accident if you run out of steam half way up.
Deep water soloing / Psicobloc is incredibly tempting for people fresh into rock climbing. All you need is beach wear and a pair of rock shoes!
It is worth noting that the sport was developed by the best climbers from around the world. Chris Sharma aka Rock God is a regular visitor to the island and a large percentage of the routes in the guidebook are aimed at Chris and his like. In fact it is very hard to find suitable climbs for beginners.
If you are new to climbing or bouldering and want to have a flavour of the sport, join one of out introductory sessions. We have found some great venues not in any guidebooks suitable for giving it a go. If you can climb comfortably at grade 5 then there’s lots to go at or if you are a naturally sporty person up for a challenge. The venues also have problems up to 7a for the stronger climbers.
When to go
It takes a while for the sea to heat up so we like to wait until April/May. September thru to November will give you the perfect combination of warm days and warm seas.
Where to go
Most of the developed deep water soloing areas are over on the East of the Island. For information on these areas you can´t beat the new Rockfax guide “Mallorca: Sports Climbing and deep water soloing” It has 63 pages devoted solely to DWS. It also offers safety grades alongside the technical grades….very important information! These areas in the guidebook offer very little for the people climbing less that 6a. We have made it our mission to find other deep water soloing areas on the island where we can offer a safe and enjoyable introduction to the sport.
There has been problems with people camping at Cala Barques. It is strongly frowned upon by the local council. Please don´t do it. There are plenty of cheep hotels and apartments available on the East coast.
What you will need
A pair of rock shoes that will get repeatedly wet. After the first splash down you spend the rest of the day climbing in wet shoes. You get used to it!
Also you need to find a solution to the wet chalk bag problem. I take liquid chalk which I leave on a convenient ledge. It tends to stay applied for the duration of the route. Or you´ll need a water proof liner to put in your existing chalk bag, a zip lock bag should do it.
Lots of sun tan lotion and a good friend to keep topped up. If you haven´t got a good friend you´ll soon find one. This is the joy of DWS, you can head to the popular spots alone and find buddies along the way. Never solo alone! Bad things can happen at the sea side and when it does you´ll need a friend with you.
The biggest safety tip is to get into this sport slowly. As the Mallorcans would say “poc a poc” (translation “little by little”)
The golden rules to deep water soloing are:
1. You need to be a strong swimmer
2. Never solo alone!
3. Don´t go in rougth seas.
4. Know your exit points from the sea and make sure you can still manage these exits when fatigued. Take a short piece if rope to assist you exist from the water, used for climbing hand over hand where there is not an easy alternative
5. Be totally aware of what falls will entail.
6. build up slowly so that you can learn the best ways to fall into the water. There are a few techniques for keeping your body vertical for entering the water, all take practice.
If you would like to experience DWS on Mallorca, then how about joining one of our weekly deep water solo group sessions.