As a mountaineer, the golden rule is ‘don’t fall off’. The stakes are high. When you work as a leader in the mountains you spend a lot of time in control, demanding disciplined focus and effort from yourself and your team. Measured action and clear thought processes are the order of the day. You want to be successful, but you must be safe. Falling is often not an option.
The day I did fall in I was warming up. Crossing a roof, I suddenly realised I was probably slightly off line, but couldn’t reverse. I jumped over the lip of the roof expecting a decent finger edge, but got a terrible sloper, and that was it: no way down, no way up. I actually started laughing before falling into the sea.
And honestly, after that first ‘splashdown’, I relaxed and climbed so much better for the remainder of the trip. I even enjoyed falling in. I mainly decided to fall in advance, that way I had the chance to get into a good ‘pencil’ position, avoiding the stinging belly flop.
The beaches on the east coast of Mallorca are stunning. The rock is made for climbing and the early autumn sea temperature was perfect. The wine and food weren’t bad either.
There are risks of course. Most DWS guidebooks have tips on staying safe. Here are a few of mine.
To get used to it you might want to jump in the water a couple of times before climbing, from a height you are comfortable with.
Make sure the water below the climb is DEEP.
Practise entering the water straight – like a pencil.
Exits – Make sure you know the exit point. And can swim well, the exit point may be away from the climb.
Always check tides & avoid big swell days.
Extra chalk-bags. And rock shoes useful. Simple unlined chalk-bags are best: they dry quicker. Dry bag can be useful.
Go in a group and stay insight of the other folk.
If you are strong swimmer you will be more confident. It can be useful to have a boat/inflatable around in case assistance is needed, even a basic kid’s one.