Spain: Mallorca Guidebook Rockfax
I lose track of whether this is the third or fourth edition of Rockfax’s Mallorca guide (actually, I just looked it up and discovered that it’s no less than the 7th!) such is the popularity of the island. I had a trip there last month and counted back to discover that it was my tenth visit to the place. I’ve run, biked, canyoned, walked, camped, and climbed there over the years, but climbing has always been the one constant. The last edition of the guide really introduced the Deep Water Soloing potential of the place, dedicating a whole section of the guide to the genre. It had previously been consigned to a PDF guide. This one is no exception, with over 100 of the 376 pages dedicated to a plethora of amazing crags. Truth be told I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more, but I suppose that this is a selected guide and not a definitive one. One point that is not really conveyed in the guide, or in any guide to DWS that I have seen to date, is that you really don’t need full colour topos and evidence of development to enjoy the sport. Many of my best DWS experiences have come about simply by exploring and coasteering off the beaten tracks and beaches, obviously being careful to mind my landings, and climbing well within my grade and comfort zone. In fact I’d say that there’s an argument that a large proportion of the climbing community are actually put off by the notion of DWS and are missing out by virtue of the fact that the guides highlight the developed crags which require a skill level beyond many. On the recent trip I was traveling with a mixed bunch of companions, some of whom don’t climb, but who nevertheless enjoyed scrambling around on the rocks pretty much wherever we hit the coast.
Getting back to the point this edition it covers 34 sport crags and 16 DWS crags making a grand total of 50. Not bad for an island of its size! It’s been produced by Alan James, Mark Glaister, and Damon Beail (DWS aficionado). The crag topos are of the usual standard, but I would like to have seen more of the amazing scenery highlighted as in the double page spread on page 196/197. I’d also like to see a section in the guide listing other stuff to do on Mallorca. There are some world class walks, canyons and coasteering trips to be had if you do a little googling, not to mention some of the best road cycling in the world. It’s easy to criticise a climbing guide for not including information on such things, but half a page would be enough to point visitors in the right direction and could easily be justified as rest-day activities.
In a nutshell Mallorca is one of the best places I have ever visited. It’s compact, crammed full of climbing and other exciting things to do. It’s affordable, has a decent cultural offering if you get away from the hoards. The sun generally shines and the water is that beautiful turquoise. The Rockfax guide is a perfect companion.
If you’re of a younger generation and have embraced the world of smartphones and tablets then Rockfax have a pretty cool App which covers most of their guides. I’ve downloaded and tested it and am pretty impressed. You can either buy the whole book equivalent, or you can buy individual crags, much like you would buy a single track or a whole album on iTunes or similar. Once you’ve downloaded what you want it is stored on your phone, complete with off line maps good enough to get you to the crag, and interactive photo-topos that zoom nicely. At the moment there is a free sample to each book, to give you an idea of what you are signing up to, but I would like to see the free bit being more of a general info about the area, perhaps with a description of the crags, their respective crags etc, to enable me to pick and choose what I would like. There is also clearly great potential for links to other activities, accommodation etc. The App feels like it’s in its early days, but is a superb early foray. Well done Rockfax!
Buy the guide direct from Rockfax.
Previous Mallorca guide review (2011)