Monday, 12 November 2012

Mallorca, Sa Rateta to Puig L’Ofre – 29 October

A year or two ago we did this route but got the initial ascent horribly wrong – our excuse was that we were accompanying another walker who would be acting a guide the following week for a group from his walking club – he wanted to have a look at this route and seemed, as far as I can recall, to imply that he knew where he was going. He did, in fairly general terms but this particular route is full of hidden subtleties – the cairns are mainly hidden or replaced by wooden stakes and for much of the approach you head in the wrong direction. One guide books is vague, in the most precise sense of the term and is full of detail where it isn’t needed and avoids all detail where it is needed. Another guide book describes in details features that turn out to be impossible to recognise rendering its description as good as that of the first. It was with some trepidation, therefore, that we left the large dirt road by Cuber reservoir to make our way into the elbow of a steep, loose gully we could see on the side of the hill. Below the elbow of the gully “steep and loose” don’t do it justice – it is difficult to understand what is actually stopping the scree from simply sliding down to the bottom of the gully into the river.

 

20121029-ma_12_I-138Looking back down to Port de Soller from Mirador de ses Barqes

20121029-ma_12_I-144Cuber reservoir

20121029-ma_12_I-147-EditAqueduct Tunnel 

We shouldn’t actually have reached the aqueduct tunnel and although there are a number this is the first we had seen. Reaching it also allowed a very good view of the gully below the elbow we sought and the view completely convinced us that we were not on the correct route. Retracing our steps and all pretence of trying to follow the guide books’ instructions we started to look for the natural lines across the ground, first finding the wooden stakes and then the small cairns that led into the gully at the required point.

20121029-ma_12_I-160-EditPuig Major on the left (highest peak) and Puig Massanella on the right (second highest peak)

20121029-ma_12_I-167Wild Goats (“Big Game” according to the local signs)

20121029-ma_12_I-171Forward along our route to Puig L’Ofre (the dark conical peak)

20121029-ma_12_I-182More “Big Game”

20121029-ma_12_I-185-EditPuig Major beyond the pylon

20121029-ma_12_I-189Looking south east from Puig L’Ofre

20121029-ma_12_I-192Looking north west to Soller and The Port

20121029-ma_12_I-3042L’Ofre from Puig L’Ofre

Once in the gully leading up Sa Rateta route finding is straightforward and what remains is a very pleasant ridge walk over Sa Rateta and over Puig Franquera to Puig L’Ofre. Puig L’Ofre is something of a honey-pot - it has a distinctive conical shape and is visible from considerable distances in a number of directions. That it was busy wasn’t a surprise but what was, was the holiday group who felt the need to wave a national flag, erect a giant banner and sing songs having summited before settling down to eat their butties. We were fortunate to narrowly avoid them although there was no hiding from their singing – fortunately at 1098M (3601ft) L’Ofre is a relatively minor peak otherwise who knows what celebrations would have ensued.

20121029-ma_12_I-213-EditThe Tram in Soller

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