Access problems on Mallorca have been much in the news recently. Below is more detailed information about Sector Solarium at Puig de Garrafa which gives some insight into how and why problems have arisen here and what we as climbers can do about it.
Sector Solarium, as its name suggests, is the south-facing walls of the Puig de Garrafa range, also known as Andratx after the closet town. It was developed between 2001 and 2003 with around a dozen routes mostly in the easier grades. This development only touched on the huge expanse of rock that available on the southern slopes of this mountain.
Sector Solarium is located on private land within the Finca Son Fortuny designated as hunting land. This is a different land owner to the rest of the crag which is also on private land. Increased use by climbers at Sector Solarium has caused a conflict with the hunters. In response to this the landowners have now closed this part of the crag to climbers and stated that they will be removing the bolts from the routes. They have erected fences and contacted the Balearic Federation of Mountaineering.
The Federation, and two members of the Balearic Association for Sustainable Climbing, met on 17 January 2014. The land owner expressed his wish to stop climbers and asked the Federation to remove the bolts. The climbers offered a compromise agreement to try and keep access open. This involved offering crag clean-ups, a stile to protect the fence and designated climbing days co-ordinated with the hunters. It became apparent that the damage to the fence was a key issue since the fence is key in keeping the game from escaping the property. The land owner is currently studying the proposal but the climbers were not optimistic about the outcome.
Negotiations also included the adjacent land which covers all the other climbing at Puig de Garrafa. This belongs to a different land owner but there are proposals to extend the hunting area, although it was indicated that this wouldn’t necessarily mean that there would need to be a ban on climbing. As the negotiations progressed it became clear that it may well be in the best interests of climbers to sacrifice Sector Solarium in order to protect the rest of the sectors at Puig de Garrafa, providing that some sort of access guarantee can be obtained.
The negotiations have been civil and good natured. The climbers have acknowledged the problems caused by litter, noise and accidents on the land and are committed to doing all they can to minimise these. Climbers screaming and swearing, dropping litter, and using the woods as their toilet, should be easy problems to solve. The documenting of areas in guidebooks is something that Rockfax and UKC can help with by keeping people informed about the current situation. To this end we have added extra information to the listings on the Rockfax web site and the UKC Logbook database.
There is definitely some hope here for a reasonable resolution that maintains access to the majority of Puig de Garrafa but it is imperative that climbers visiting the area act responsibly.
- DO NOT climb on Sector Solarium
- DO NOT cross fences where there is no stile or gate.
- Pick up your litter
- DO NOT make excessive noise when climbing
- DO NOT climb here in very large groups.
- Park responsibly
- DO NOT shit in the woods.
If there are any changes to the current situation, we will report them here on the Rockfax web site.
Please add your name to the petition on change.org to show your support.