It was many moons ago that I first went to Mallorca, about the time of the first Rockfax guides in fact. The slender affair that we took with us served us well at the time, but I fear would be rather sparse in comparison with modern guidebook expectations. A conversation with a fellow reviewer yesterday surmised that we don't half expect a lot out of a guide nowadays.
Rockfax's latest offering, a guide dedicated solely to the island of Mallorca, doesn't disappoint. It's trademark photo-topos are excellent and abundant. I particularly like the double page spread at the start of each new crag section. The minimalist images with just the crag names, are reminiscent of old Mountain Magazine front covers, and something all too rare in the logo-driven world that climbing has become. On that note a big thumbs up to Rockfax for keeping the adverts in the book to a minimum. Thumbs up too for putting the orientation map inside the back cover, easy to find quickly.
On the downside I can't help thinking that it would have been a good idea to include more of a mention of the bouldering and at least a passing reference to the deep water soloing potential / venues on the island. On the bouldering front there 45 problems documented in the guide at S'estret, but nothing more. There is undoubtedly a load more of it kicking around and it can make a popular alternative day on a sport climbing trip. Mallorca has one of the premiere DWS venues in the world. Granted Rockfax have produced a downloadable mini-guide on DWS on the island, and there seems little point in going to town on this sub discipline when Mike Robertson is producing a definitive guide, but half a page pointing out some suitable venues would have worked for me. Similarly a short section describing some of the outstanding walking and snorkelling spots would help give some focus to the inevitable rest days.
So what do you get for your money? 175 pages featuring the following crags:
Puig de Garrafa
S'estret (including the only bouldering documented in the book)
Port de Soller
El Calo de Betlem
Ermita de Betlem
Tijuana (aka Santanyi)
You'll see from the above list that there are a bunch of crags in there that haven't featured in previous editions of the Rockfax or Cicerone guides to the island. This in itself has to be enough of an incentive to persuade those who visited the island back in the early 90's when it first became popular, to visit again. Check out Xon Xanquete - if steep, juggy terrain is your thing (it's mine!) then it looks like a whole lot of fun. Let's face it, the feeling of warm Mallorcan air on your face as you step off the plane on a January weekend is worth going back for more of. Rockfax have just made it easier for us to do just that.
Printed 2006. Cost £18.95
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