El Camino del Rey. When Walking = Unadulterated Madness.

From Wikipedia: “El Caminito del Rey (English: The King’s pathway) is a walkway or via ferrata, now fallen into disrepair, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Alora in Málaga, Spain. The name is often shortened to El Camino del Rey.”

Sounds innocent enough. Now watch this and tell me just how long it takes for your palms to start sweating!

37 thoughts on “El Camino del Rey. When Walking = Unadulterated Madness.

  1. Graeme

    It makes the Ruta del Cares seem like a walk in the park. I might be able to do the first 50 metres, although I’m not convinced about it, the rest I’ll leave for the King.

  2. Bella

    Oh my god! I got scared just watching that! It looks terrifying! It’s amazing what some people get up to, just one foot wrong and you could fall to your death!

  3. Tom P.

    Wow! The view is amazing, but I don’t know if I could do it. Maybe if I could strap myself onto those cords like that one guy was doing, but still. Looks like quite the exhilarating experience!!

  4. Ben Post author

    @Tom, yes, I’d strap myself in too, like the only guy with a brain was doing! Actually, I still wouldn’t do it!

  5. Graham Tappenden

    I was doing OK, until it got to the point where the path was gone and there was just an iron bar.

    It reminded me of crossing this bridge [http://tinyurl.com/3ucsx7] in the middle of the Bolivian rain forest having just recovered from a spell of diarrhoea and not really having a clear head for such things.

    There is a similar path in Germany called the Elfenley in Oberwesel, which leads downhill from the youth hostel to the town itself [http://tinyurl.com/26vkcu] – at some points you walk along the rock path without anything to hold on to and a large drop down on one side.

    What I would like to know is: how on earth did they manage to take such a steady picture? Especially when there is no path left, just an iron bar to tight-rope-walk across!

  6. Ken

    Not for me I’m afraid. I get dizzy standing on the pavement looking into the gutter.

    Wow! Judging by the speed of the walk and the lack of pauses the cameraman was not using the safety guide ropes.

  7. Mark

    Thanks for that Ben!. I enjoyed it in a strange kind of way.

    I wouldn’t do it unless I was strapped to something secure and I consider myself quite daring and with a head for heights.

    I used to fly paragliders and have launched off many a precipice in my time. However, I had received training and was using flying equipment that had passed various stringent tests. For me it was always about being in a natural environment and enjoying the view. Most of that looks ready to fall to the valley floor. I value my life too much to risk such a thing!!

  8. MrMark

    Wow, looks like something out of a Steven Spielberg film. I don’t know whether I’d sooner go bungee-jumping or do this. I’d certainly use the safety straps, that’s for sure!

  9. Dohg

    Reminds me of a place in Utah, USA, in Zion National Park. There is a hike called “Angel’s Landing”. The understanding being that everyone who ever taken a wrong step there was immediately converted into an angel. Sadly, it happens at least once a year.

  10. frank

    Been there many times, but never felt tempted to do that walk! Now even more convinced, I made the right decision.

  11. keith

    so where is health and safety when you need them? I was half expecting a giant eagle to swoop down and drag them over the edge…

  12. Mark

    @ Dohg

    I hiked "Angels’ Landing” back in 1999. It’s a great hike! A few difficult parts on the way up but very enjoyable. I did sadly see a few tributes to people who had fallen carved into the rock though!

  13. Morao

    Ben tienes unas pelotas que no te entran en el pantalon, ya me gustaria ver al rey andando por su “caminito”.
    Muy buen video y muy buena web.

  14. Petrichor

    The scariest parts were when he walked on the narrow iron beams: a twist of the ankle or a gust of wind and he would have been history. I am terrified of heights so I would not even dream of doing it (but maybe in a nightmare).

    @ Graham: I was thinking the same thing… maybe he was wearing a helmet – mounted camera.

  15. Maria S.

    I am a bit acrophobic and not a thrill-seeker. It got me anxious just to watch this clip, but still enjoyed it as it was safe right here on my chair.
    It is said that 30% of the world’s population is born with this thrill-seeking gene, hence the passion for dangerous sports and activities as the one shown. This gene does not afflict physical thrill-seekers only, but also goes for mental thrills. I think I fall into this category:))

  16. Margot

    whew….2 unrelated thoughts:
    1) And then…… there was an earthquake
    2) How many of those chaps began the trek as a couple?
    Nope! Definitely not for me!

  17. frank

    “I have to ask – who built that path? And why…?”

    Camino del Rey is named so because Alfonso XIII reputedly walked it in 1921, when he opened the dams and reservoirs above the gorge wich supply much of Málaga province’s water. The camino has been in a state of alarming disrepair for years and has been officially closed since 1992 but there’s nothing to stop adventurous folk with a head for heights from using parts of it. When you arrive by car you must pass the water by way of a dam, shortly before you reach the end of the lake. Turn left right after the dam and park you car. The rest of the way is on foot, following the right side of the lake.

  18. Jonk

    That looks seriously amazing. It’d be tempting to take the risk to see the awesome views but I was so scared even watching the video!

    However if that rope went the whole way and it seems like it does, sure thing I would do it. But only with the rope! I’ll bookmark this for my trip.

  19. Joe

    The answer to why the video is so smooth is that he was using a device called a Steadi-Cam Jr., or GlideCam, or something similar. Basically a handheld tripod that counterweights the camera and removes most of the shakiness inherent in a handheld shot.

  20. Graham Tappenden

    @Joe: I originally thought about a Steadi-Cam, but having seen them in use locally I didn’t think you’d really want to have the extra weight on that walk.

    Doesn’t the counter-weight go off to one side? You’d either have it between you and the wall, or worse, hanging over the edge!

  21. Jonk

    Imagine walking that path with a cam like that

    I thought it was smooth because he sped the video up, irons out the bumps

  22. Suze

    Wow memories !!! Great filmclip. We did the walk aswell and we abseiled down from the walkway which was scary but fab!! The area is well known for rockclimbing. The only way to get to the routes is by the camino or by sneaking through the traintunnel which I thought was MUCH scarier than doing the camino del rey !!!
    (some great routes by the way !!)

  23. Peter

    I have walked levada do norte on Madeira and thought it was dangerous walk, but this is really something. I wonder if they are going to restaur this route some day. If i ever go to malaga i will go to check this out!

  24. Hayes1111

    A safety harness clipped here and there would make this as safe as crossing some streets. Good stuff

  25. Anthea

    Where exactly do you live, Hayes1111?

    I wouldn’t do it with 2 safety harnesses strapped to the back of Chris Bonnington!

    Gosh, there are some brave people out there!

  26. Andy

    I used to take gas samples from the top of a 330 foot tall concrete stack that would sway 4 foot either side of vertical when windy…… that walkway is over twice as high and falling apart, and how secure is that safety wire? Plus what did they know about making concrete 107 years ago.

    Superb video, fantastic views….. but not for me, I think I’ll stick to watching the video thank you…!!

  27. Charlton

    W-O-W!

    That’s amazing. Would love to do it but doubt I’ve the head for those heights. I imagine the camera is just a very good one – many cams these days have professional image-stabilisation built in and almost anybody with a reasonably steady hand could shoot footage like that. He’s not hurrying along.

    I doubt it’s a head-mount as the level of the camera as he passes others shows it’s too low. Sony do a hand-held semi-pro cam that could shoot that without any trouble, it’s about the size of camcorders from ten years ago.

    Amazing trek though, well done to whoever shot that, cheers for making my hair stand on end!!

  28. rudolf

    wow..great video…i just want to ask if somebody of you can tell me if it’s easy to get there without trouble…somewhere i was reading that the pathway is closed…but is no security there,you just go on your own risk,isn’t it so?…

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