Caro Kyllmann recommends the best places for thrill-seekers to go climbing without ropes above deep water
1. Ton Sai Beach, Ao Nang, Thailand
Once a well-kept secret within the climbing world, Ton Sai has become the ultimate destination for deep-water soloing. Its warm weather, tropical sandy beaches and limestone rock faces above inviting, light-blue waters make it the climber’s definition of paradise. With routes up to 100ft high, Ton Sai offers a huge playground for those who crave big thrills. Tides dictate the climbs that are safe to attempt on the day.
2. Cala Barques, Majorca, Spain
Regarded as the birthplace of deep-water soloing, Majorca is still a magnet for those who love this sport. Warm, sandy beaches make way to low caves, making Cala Barques an ideal venue for those who’d rather not climb too high. With over 50 routes ranging in difficulty, this part of the Spanish island has something to offer all climbers. End the day with slacklining and snorkelling in the blue ocean.
3. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Only accessible by boat or kayak, emerald waters surround the cliff faces at Ha Log Bay. Limestone walls with a slight overhang rise up directly from the water, making climbs in this bay perfect for deep-water soloing. Most crags are easily reached from Cat Ba Island and secluded beaches in the labyrinth of islands make this an incredibly scenic location.
4. Black Rock, Kaanapali, Maui
Dark sea cliffs contrast against the clear-blue water on this island in the central Pacific. Routes are set among sharp lava-rock, which makes climbing them a truly unique experience. Often visited by professional climbers, the sea cliffs at Black Rock are formed with endless big holds — which are also great for novices. Deep-water soloing into the transparent ocean takes away any fear of falling into the unknown.
5. Berry Head, Devon, UK
This little spot on the southwest coast of England offers some of the best deep-water soloing routes in the country. The pink and red limestone is covered by iconic climbs, which are usually protected regardless of the tides. The crags vary in difficulty, making Berry Head a great place for first-timers.