Two U.S. Climbers Die in Deep Water Solo Incident in Mallorca

Cliffs and caves, Mallorca, Spain. Photo: David Pastyka/Shutterstock

A pair of American men, aged 25 and 35, perished Tuesday afternoon while psicobloc climbing (deep water soloing) off the coast of Mallorca, near Cala Sanau and Cala Mitjana. No foul play is suspected, but authorities have yet to disclose either man’s identity, and the investigation into their deaths is ongoing. Sources believe that both fatalities likely resulted from hard-impact falls.

We also know that the two men were traveling and climbing together. They arrived in Mallorca from Barcelona only hours beforehand. Swimmers spotted a man floating motionless. A lifeguard attempted to resuscitate the climber. Then the body of the second man was discovered. Witnesses report seeing the two men scouting the Cala Sanau cliffside earlier in the day.

Warnings about shallow water

In an interview following the double fatality, professional climber Eneko Pou said that climbers at Cala Sanau are warned against climbing above 20m because of shallow water beneath the cliff.

A climber deepwater solos in Mallorca. Photo: David Pastyka/Shutterstock

Mallorca is a popular recreational spot for swimmers, cliff divers, and climbers alike. And the region’s southeastern coast is something of a mecca for deep water solo climbing, or “psicobloc”, which marries boulder-style climbing with cliff diving.

Mallorcan native Miquel Riera forged the discipline back in the late 1970s, long before psicobloc reached the world stage. The style is often siloed as a safer form of climbing owing to the low risk of injury — falling, or “decking”, usually results in just a splash. Notable climbing injuries and, moreover, deaths are exceptionally rare for this region.

And that is what makes Tuesday’s tragic event particularly unexpected. Informed speculation suggests that a section of the rock formation may have popped off or collapsed. Whether the two were hiking or climbing when the accident occurred is, as of yet, unknown.

We discussed the incident with lifelong climber and route developer, Clayton Reagan. Notably, Reagan has spent considerable time deep water soloing up and down the Mallorcan coast.

All sports have inherent risk, but that doesn’t make this accident any less tragic. Mallorca is such bold and magical magical place. I can’t help but wonder if something out of the ordinary happened for both climbers to perish.

My condolences to the families. RIP lads.

We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.


About the Author

Jilli Cluff

Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college.
After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing. In 2020, Jilli left her corporate position to pursue an outdoor-oriented life.
She now works as a contributor, an editor, and a gear tester for ExplorersWeb and various other outlets within the AllGear network.
She is based out of Austin, Texas where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.

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Don Paul
Don Paul
4 months ago

Weird. One person falling to their death would be unusual, but two?

4 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Possible rockslide. Terribly unfortunate. Condolences.

Last edited 4 months ago by Daniel