Thursday, July 5, 2012

El Caminito del Rey

Note: although I originally posted this in 2008, it had a different video associated with it. That video eventually disappeared and I replaced it with this one in 2011. The walker/videographer in this video, Daniel Ahnen from Germany, suffered a fatal fall into a Himalayan gorge just a few months after posting this video. RIP, Daniel. 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 Álora in Málaga, Spain. The name is often shortened to El Camino del Rey. Although the path is in Spain, it is rumoured that people from Asia built the path way for the King.


In 1901 it was obvious that the workers of the Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls needed a walkway to cross between the falls, to provide transport of materials, vigilance and maintenance of the channel. Construction of the walkway took four years; it was finished in 1905.
In 1921 the king Alfonso XIII crossed the walkway for the inauguration of the dam Conde del Guadalhorce and it became known by its present name.
In some places the walkway has collapsed
In some places the walkway has collapsed
The walkway has now gone many years without maintenance, and is in a highly deteriorated and dangerous state. It is one meter (3 feet and 3 inches) in width, and is over 200 meters (700 feet) above the river. Nearly all of the path has no handrail. Some parts of the concrete walkway have completely collapsed and all that is remaining is the steel beam originally in place to hold it up and the wire that follows most the path. One can latch onto the wire to keep from falling. Several people have lost their lives on the walkway in recent years; after four people died in two accidents in 1999 and 2000, the local government closed the entrances. However, adventurous tourists still find their way onto the walkway to explore it.
The regional government of Andalusia budgeted in 2006 for a restoration plan[1] estimated at € 7 million.
All text in this post is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.