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Death Valley

What do you tell a friend who asks whether it will be safe to hike in the Torrent des Pareis in November? A hard one to answer if you feel in any way responsible.

The track up or down the Torrent des Pareis is a dangerous one at any time of the year. In the rainy season – October to February – I would rather advise against a hike there. But even if it is not raining, there are deep pools of water in the torrent from previous downpours which can only be traversed with neoprene clothing. Even without such obstacles, there will be wet stones, rocks and pebbles, where one’s feet have no safe grip and one can easily stumble. I would suggest that in the wet season one should only attempt a hike there in a group including someone who knows the torrent well and who can give clear guidance and can warn of dangerous segments along the canyon. A climbing rope should be carried and harnessed where necessary.

About six weeks ago, there was one fatality, albeit in a different torrent, when a group of hikers had become separated. Every year, there are dead hikers in Mallorca, and often they stumble in the Pareis.

In November, I would rather suggest a hike from the bottom up, starting from the beach of Sa Calobra with an ascent from the lowest part. Depending on the weather and on any slippery conditions and/or water pools and streams, one may be lucky and manage to traverse the gorge for up to 2 or 3 km, all going well. When conditions worsen, one simply has to turn back and enjoy the dramatic landscape on a halfway measure. But even then this is already an exciting, adventurous and rewarding hike, if somewhat exhausting.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken near Sa Calobra, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 5th, 2008. The time was 16:11:42. The video was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of YouTube and sanmakoki.

Thank you very much, and

muchas gracias.

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October 2011


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