Sunday, March 4, 2012

El Caminito del Rey – The World’s Most Dangerous Walkway

El Caminito del Rey or The King’s Little Path, often regarded as the most dangerous walkway in the world, is located along the walls of El Chorro, a gorge in southern Spain near the village of Álora. Construction of the walkway was started in 1901 when it became apparent that workers at the hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls needed a mean to cross between the falls, to provide for transport of materials, and for the inspection and maintenance of the channel. The walkway was completed in 1905, but the inauguration did not take place until 1921 when Spanish King Alfonso XIII crossed it and the walkway’s been called The King’s Pathway since.

The walkway is one meter (3 feet and 3 inches) in width, and rises over 100 meters (350 feet) above the river below. Constructed of concrete resting on steel rails supported by stanchions at around 45 degrees into the rock face, it is currently in a highly deteriorated state and there are numerous sections where part or all of the concrete top has collapsed. The result is large open air gaps that are bridged only by narrow steel beams or other support fixtures. Very few of the original handrails exist but a safety-wire runs the length of the path. This has however turned El Caminito del Rey into an extreme vacations attraction and crossing the whole is an adventure sport for tourists. The walkway is over 3 kilometers long.

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After several fatal accidents, the local government closed the path in 2000. But there are still daring hikers who manage to get around the barriers and make their way across the gorge.

Work is now due to start on an 8.3 million euros project to make the pathway safe again and attract more tourists to the area. It will take three years to re-construct and will see the pathway completely rebuilt with hand rails, protective barriers, lighting and a visitors centre.

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16 comments:

  1. so if i went over there this summer, would there be anything or anyone to stop me?

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  2. Dude, I don't think there would be. Let's go!

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  3. I really want to do this this summer but concerned if we go all the way over and are stopped. There must be more information somewhere!!

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  4. There is nobody there to stop you. No officials or entry gate etc. No fee. You just need your own harness / lines. You can hire a guide from a local climbing centre to show you around though. Try The Olive Branch in El Chorro for example...

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  5. It's not as unsafe as it looks: people hook themselves up to a line on the side of the cliff. You still have to climb back a little distance if you fall tho'. I still would rather wait until it's repaired... And people, remember the advice of the kiddie protector/control freak: don't take your kids there! :)

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  6. Whens the work due to start to make it boring? safe, i mean safe, honest.

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  7. We did it with a group called Barbary Rock Adventures, they were excelent, and made us very safe. Awesome.

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  8. We did the Camino last week and filmed it. Its not in great condition, the rain this winter hasn't helped - we have the wettest winter in 70 years. An Italian climber came off in March of this year (2013), after the safety cable snapped....he miraculously only suffered fractured ribs after an 80m fall!! But if wanting to do it, now is the time...they are closer than ever before to reforming it. As concerns the legality, just don't use the train tracks or try to go through the tunnels, that is where you'll be fined. If you go up the way we did, its no problem. Hope you guys enjoy the video - http://www.spain-holiday.com/Alora/articles/el-caminito-del-rey-malaga

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  9. Hey John. Do you know who made the via ferrata in el camino? And how old it is? I visited el chorro3 times but this summer I ll walk the camino but i want to be prepared.
    BTW i cant open your video

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  10. Totally want to walk it now...doubt I'll ever get there before restorations are complete....it'd be sick!

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  11. Hi guys. I really wanna hike there in this summer but i heard some repairing about the walk way so my question is that can i do it or it is closed until reopened ? Does anybody know something and share it would be nice because i will come from germany by a car. And i dont wanna drive all the way for nothing.

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  12. Just came back from doing it this weekend. Still in bad shape :) and no sign of impending repairs. Accessing is easy. Park car, walk in, kick-start heart, and go for it.

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  13. It's still open ?
    I heard that it's closed for public after few death accidents

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  14. It's closed and if you are caught on it you will be fined a hefty amount.

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  15. I am a guide that takes individuals and groups on El Caminito Del Rey.
    It is not illegal to walk along the Camino Del Rey (CDR).
    Let me explain. Most people either hear this by word of mouth, or look at Wiki and on there see it says it is illegal, this is a myth (uninformed people can contribute to Wiki). The misunderstanding arises from the fact that it is illegal to walk along the railway lines or go through the railway tunnels; there is a big fine for this, €6000. People do get arrested and fined each year for going through the tunnels or walking on the lines. The police are often in attendance during the weekends and I have seen them arresting people for being on the lines; it is a big draw for families at a weekend. No one has been fined for walking on the CDR, I have come off the CDR with a group when the police have been there and the best they manage to say to me is ‘hola’. The reason climbers and guides have access is that most of the good climbs and sectors are only accessible by walking along the CDR, and as the village survives by attracting climbers to it, and spending their money there, they have not made it illegal; it would be suicide for those that live and work in the village to support the climbers. However, the authorities did remove the first part of the path in order to stop sightseers and the public from walking straight on to it. That means that any climber, or guide, will have the right equipment in order to make the traverse to get up on to it. Yes you need the right equipment, and a good guide.
    Final point, yes climbers and walkers die, some in El Chorro. However, in recent times the local papers have taken to headlining with “Climber dies on Camino Del Rey”, or “Walker dies on Camino Del Rey”, when in fact they are not on the thing at all. A climber died last year she was not “on” the CDR, but in fact coming off a climb when she and her partner had an accident. The year before a walker was walking along the top of the cliffs and slipped to his death, the next day it is reported that he died on the CDR; in fact he was not anywhere near it.
    Hope that helps.
    Stay safe.

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  16. Here everything has been described in systematic manner

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