Walking and Scrambling in the Tramuntana mountains, Mallorca

Scrambling in Mallorca

Scrambling in Mallorca

The Tramuntana mountains of Mallorca are an ideal walking and scrambling destination for those mountain lovers wanting wild mountain scenery, dramatic views and adventurous challenges.

Mallorca was my first introduction to Spanish walking. I first went there in the early 1990’s and was amazed at the scope and variety on offer. I revisited and took walking groups there until the delights of mainland Spain and in particular the Sierra Nevada took over. Last week I returned after a 10 year absence and renewed my acquaintance with the glories of this Mediterranean island.

I believe the best base to be at Puerto Pollensa in the north. This gives easy access to some of the finest walking and scrambling spots. Accommodation is plentiful and reasonably priced, outside the summer and busy times. We can recommend some accommodation there if you are planning your own visit.

Suggested guide book is the excellent “Walking In Mallorca” by June Parker (Cicerone Press). Here are some of our own favourite walks and scrambles:

The Cavell Bernat ridge

On the Cavell Bernat ridge

On the Cavell Bernat ridge

Quite simply the finest ridge on the island. Similar to the best Skye has to offer yet only 352m above sea level and accessible in under an hour from the outskirts of Puerto Pollensa. No car necessary. Imagine if you could reach the Skye ridge in 45 minutes!

The ridge is for experienced scramblers or rock climbers only. You need a good head for heights and some route finding ability. The rock is sound and sharp but makes for very arduous and slow going. Dramatic views in all directions and especially vertically down to the sea below!

From north to south we usually take a short rope to safeguard  the tricky descent of the double tower (see slideshow below). The crossing of the “window” ledge is spectacular and the initial climb up to the first tower much easier than it looks from the col below.

Much more description is unnecessary. Follow the crest as far as your courage and/or ability will allow. 5hrs. The full ridge from north to south is strictly for suitably equipped rock climbers.

Massanella (1367m)

Looking towards Cuber s.face Massanella

Looking towards Cuber s.face Massanella

The highest accessible point in Mallorca. A fine peak but better ascended by the quieter route in from Almallutx near Cuber to the south. Long approach gives access to a small col that requires some easy scrambling and then the magnificent south face of the mountain. Few others are seen on this route.

Here you can choose the standard you wish to climb or scramble at (see slideshow below). Make your way up various rock slabs and walls to the summit ridge and the south peak. There is a way to the right for those who find it all a bit unnerving. A short walk and you reach the main summit point.

Descend via the notch some 30m south of the summit. Steep and exposed but feels secure within a crack system (see slideshow below). A rope may be helpful for the nervous here. After that an exposed traverse and short gully lead to easy slopes above the Col des Prat. Return south and rejoin the ascent route after a fine but long mountain day. 6hrs.

Tomir (1103m)

A personal favourite and a fine, friendly mountain. Easy access and a short steep ascent mean the summit can be reached in just a hour 15 minutes after parking the car at Binifaldo. Great expansive views northward towards the Formentor peninsular.

We normally descend NE towards the Col del Puig de Ca and then round via Aucanella. About 5hrs.

Torrente de Pareis

The Torrente de Pareis gorge

The Torrente de Pareis gorge

To vary your scrambling holiday try this gorge walk/scramble. Start at Sa Colobra and and at Escorca. Great if two cars or a friendly driver available, but the latest bus times do not easily mean a return can be made to Sa Colobra. If not possible then ascend and descend the gorge the same way. Twice the fun!

Dramatic scenery. Good scrambling in places. Do not attempt after rain!

About 4 to 5 hours return trip up and down the gorge

Guided Scrambling and Walking

Spanish Highs Mountain Guides run walking and scrambling holidays to Mallorca on demand.

A note on Birdwatching in Mallorca

Marsh Harrier at SAlburfera

Marsh Harrier at S'Alburfera

During our week’s wanderings we came across some fantastic bird life. Highlights included:
Tomir – Black Vultures
Massanella – Black vultures, Griffon Vultures
Cavell Bernat – Eleonoras Falcon
S’Alberfura – Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Hen Harrier

Any good bird guide will suggest Mallorca as an ideal birdwatching venue.

Birdwatch Alpujarras are running birdwatching excursions and holidays to Mallorca.

Photos

A slideshow of our latest trip includes some of the main scrambling areas and the descent route off the double tower on the Cavell Bernat which can be hard to locate. Also photo of the south face and descent from the notch on Massanella.

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