Deep water soloing or psicobloc
Look away now if you don't like heights! An article in today's local paper alerted me to a 'sporting' activity that I wasn't aware existed at all, but has brought fame to Mallorca amongst its aficionados because of the multitude of areas where it can be practised.
It's called psicobloc in Mallorca and deep water soloing (DWS) in the rest of the world and consists of rock climbing in its purest, stripped back form – that is totally without any special equipment bar only a swimming cossie, shoes and some water proof chalk. Out go ropes, crampons, harnesses, helmets, carabiners, belay devices and safety nets so pretty much deserving of the epithet 'extreme!'
The idea is to scale vertiginous, cliffs, overhangs, rocky outcrops and arches using only human ingenuity combined with strength, agility and against a continuous struggle against gravity and exhaustion. Psicoblocistas expect to fall many times, hence the choice of climbs where deep water is the safety net.
As I mentioned, the rugged coastline of Mallorca provides ample locations for the sport and its climate makes it ideal right through from May until November when the water starts to get a bit too chilly for lots of immersions from a great height!
There are books on the subject which list the venues, which are graded in terms of safety, difficulty and danger, and if you fancy giving it a go, Rock and Ride, climbing specialists for Mallorca have introductory courses aimed at people who have some climbing experience and a good level of fitness.
Thankfully, that exonerates me from giving it a go – I'll stick to danging my toes in the water.
Photo from Wkimedia - Olaf Tausch