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Descending rugged cliffs as an escape route

About twenty people, who make up the association Colgados de Formentera, have made rappelling their hobby, descending La Mola cliff or es Fum cave, as well as other enclaves on the island.
NATIV
19/09/2023

The cliff on which La Mola lighthouse is located, in Formentera, is one of the most spectacular spots on the island, where the ground ends to make way for the immensity of the Mediterranean. This iconic place appears in the adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, Héctor Servadac, published in 1877. From the top down to the sea the drop is around 120 metres, a distance that more than one privileged and daring person has managed to descend on several occasions.

These are the members of the Colgados de Formentera collective, made up of more than 20 people who have rappelled down the steep part of La Mola cliff. And not only because of a fondness for this sport, but also for an environment cause: a collaborative effort to clean up the coast.

Colgados de Formentera association, founded in September 2011, came about after one of them got a job at a height which forced him to buy some material to carry out the task. From there, talking to acquaintances, more people who showed an interest in rappelling and descending via ropes with a braking system joined up. And here they are, still crazy about rappelling.

The collective’s treasurer, Javier Alcázar, has been living on the island for 38 years. Even though he is from Cuenca –which is famous for its cliffs– he had never rappelled before. “I started with Colgados de Formentera in 2011,” he explains. “I got into it with a couple of friends, who weren’t friends at the time; we got to know each other later,” he says. For Alcázar, descending cliffs or going into caves on the island allows him to “get rid of all inhibitions; it’s a good stress cure,” he says.

As well as La Mola cliff, Colgados de Formentera also descends 70 meters from es Cap. On these natural walls, rappelling lovers have other magical enclaves where they can test their endurance and the limits of their passion. There is the cave es Fum, one of the biggest and best known, where the drop is 50 metres along with another 20 metres of aerial section, where contact with the wall is lost. There is also the Cueva de ses Mamelles, which can be accessed after walking for about 30 minutes and descending another 30 metres. And the Avenc del Mirador, also known as sima del Mirador.

Thanks to their skills at descending the island’s rugged walls, Colgados de Formentera members have collaborated on several occasions with coastal clean-ups where ropes are needed to be able to remove garbage from the sea, given the difficulty or sheer impossibility of doing so from land.

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