Five of the World’s Most Epic Deep Water Soloing Crags

Free solo­ing is a con­tro­ver­sial sub­ject in the world of rock climb­ing, with a lot of great argu­ments to be made for and against it. It’s dan­ger­ous, sure, but a lot of climbers point out that the dan­gers can be sub­stan­tial­ly low­ered by climb­ing over water. It pro­vides a (most­ly) safer place to fall in the event you lose your grip while also pro­vid­ing quite an adren­a­line rush. If you’re think­ing of giv­ing it a try here are some of the best spots in the world for deep water soloing.

Majorca, SpainMajor­ca, Spain
The birth­place of deep-water solo­ing, or psi­cobloc as the locals call it, is still seen as one of the pre­mier DWS sites in the world. First estab­lished in the 1970s, Major­ca hous­es some of the most famous climbs around and is a favorite of vet­er­an climber Chris Shar­ma. Por­to Cristo, Cala Mar­cal, and Cova del Dia­blo remain some of the most beloved crags in all of climb­ing and hun­dreds of folks flock here every year to test their skills and nerve. Major­ca is loaded with prime climb­ing spots and hosts many com­pe­ti­tions through­out the year.

Railay, ThailandRailay, Thai­land
Anoth­er pop­u­lar DWS spot, Railay has one thing that puts all oth­er crags to shame: utter­ly breath­tak­ing scenery. Peo­ple spend as much time sit­ting and star­ing at the views here as they do climb­ing. The waters are warm year-round and there are dozens of climbs of vary­ing dif­fi­cul­ty to choose from. It’s become some­thing of a tourist trap with many locals offer­ing kayak trips to the crags even, so you might have to fight for a spot, but it’s def­i­nite­ly one of the most pris­tine climb­ing areas in all the world.

Azores, PortugalAzores, Por­tu­gal
The coast­line of Azores in Por­tu­gal is dot­ted with prime climb­ing crags made up of vol­canic residue. The sea walls here are pop­u­lar among cliff divers, but it’s also an increas­ing­ly preva­lent draw for those who love to climb with­out a rope. The horse­shoe-shaped bay is just one of many rea­sons out­door enthu­si­asts flock to the area; there are ample oppor­tu­ni­ties for climb­ing, hik­ing, bik­ing, and water sports all around. You’ll have to rent a raft to reach most of the climbs here and pay close atten­tion to the tides, but dur­ing the sum­mer months, it’s a great des­ti­na­tion for DWS.

Ka’anapali, MauiKa’anapali, Maui
Hon­est­ly, you real­ly can’t go wrong when it comes to find­ing great spots around Hawaii for deep-water solo­ing. Most of the islands have at least one out­crop­ping suit­able for climb­ing, but Maui might just have the best. The lava rocks off the coast around Ka’anapali at Black Rock are vis­it­ed often by pro­fes­sion­al climbers, but there are also great options in the area for those new to the sport. The waters are pret­ty clear so you know exact­ly what you might be falling into and they’re almost always deep enough for you to safe­ly climb.

Pembroke CoastPem­broke, UK
On the coast of Pem­broke lies what is often described as one of the most fright­en­ing DWS climbs in the world, affec­tion­ate­ly called The Abyss. It tow­ers 50 meters above the water and has some fair­ly sketchy tides that often slink away to reveal hordes of sharp rocks ready to crack your skull open if you’re dar­ing enough to climb above them. The routes here aver­age around S3 and it’s def­i­nite­ly not ide­al for new­bies. The only down­side to this epic night­mare of a climb is that being in the UK, the weath­er is only good enough to let you climb it for about three months out of the year.