deep water

Deep-water soloing

Deep-water soloing (DWS), also known as psicobloc, is a form of solo rock climbing that relies solely upon the presence of water at the base of a climb to protect against injury. Participants generally seek high difficulty routes usually above high tide. Although this is viewed as a relatively new style of climbing, it probably originated in the late 1960s or early 1970s in Dorset, Southern England or Majorca. Real development of the style began in the mid-late 1990s, and is progressing to this day.

DWS is remarkable for the traditional style of ascent it ensures, while at the same time being viewed as very modern. Participants are stereotypically very relaxed, occasionally to the point of being thought foolhardy or cavalier by other climbers—however, injuries have generally been very rare. Climbers usually consider the mental aspect of DWS to be comparable to the physical component. Additionally, if a climber falls into the sea below the cliff, he or she must then possess enough strength to swim to safety. This added, and obfuscated, consequence has led to at least one death.

This type of climbing is typically practiced on sea cliffs at high tide, most famously on the coasts of Dorset and Devon, but also in the Calanques near Marseille, around the Southern Pembrokeshire coast, parts of Ireland, Sardinia, Majorca, Spain, Greece, and many other climbing areas.

DWS is occasionally known as water bouldering.

Deep-water soloing in Majorca

Although DWS has become popular among Spanish climbers during the last six years, this sport already existed in Majorca in the seventies where some climbers used to practice it especially in summer. It is at the end of the seventies when psicobloc is established as a different discipline than bouldering. Nowadays, Majorca is one of the best-known places to practice it.

Deep-water soloing in Croatia

On Hvar, an island near Split, are several opportunities. The coast from Vira to Hvar to Sveta Nedjelja offers more than 10 locations reachable by boat. There are possibly more than a hundred climbable and unexplored routes, up to 30-40 meters high.{[fact}} Hvar is also famous for its free-climbing routes.

Deep-water soloing in UK

DWS is very common in Dorset, UK, from which it originated. Places of Interest are Lulworth Cove, Stair Hole and Swanage. DWS in Dorset has its own set of gradings, these are applied in addition to the difficulty of the climb undertaken and are listed below:

S0 - Safe solo with a good area of deep water.

S1 - Not completely perfect water, with a little care injury is avoidable. Probably highish and worth going around high tide.

S2 - Dangerous routes, possibly necessitating a well aimed fall. The water might not be that deep, or there may be loose rock. High tide is recommended.

S3 - Very dangerous. You may as well be soloing above land, extreme caution should be exercised.

Therefore a climb which has a high difficulty rating could be performed safely should it have a rating of S0 or S1.

Recent events in the UK has also linked DWS to tombstoning, another extreme sport which has originated from the south of England.

Deep-water soloing in Germany

Deep-water soloing is possible at the Kochelsee Lake in Kochel.

Deep-water soloing in Bulgaria

Deep-water soloing in Bulgaria is mainly practiced on Kamen Bryag (in Bulgarian - Камен Бряг) and Tyulenovo (in Bulgarian - Тюленово), both are on the north Black Sea coast.

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