Caminito del Rey

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El Caminito del Rey (English: The King's little 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 the district of Málaga, Spain. The name is often shortened to Camino del Rey. In 1901 it became obvious that workers at the hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls needed a walkway to cross between the falls, to provide for transport of materials, and for the inspection and maintenance of the channel. Construction of the walkway took four years and it was finished in 1905. In 1921 King Alfonso XIII crossed the walkway for the inauguration of the dam Conde del Guadalhorce and it became known by its present name. 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 100 meters (350 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. One can latch onto a modern steel safety-wire to keep from falling, though it can't hold much weight. 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. To this day it remains illegal to cross. However policing is extremely minimal and many adventurous tourists still find their way onto the walkway to explore it. Some travelers choose to begin by walking through the train tunnel to the dam, and then walking back towards El Chorro. Most climb across a series of dilapidated stanchions and then up a well-protected chimney on the cliff face to reach the Caminito del Rey. A cable runs the length of the path, giving people a method of securing themselves throughout the duration of the path. However, the stability of the cable is unknown. It would be wise to have space (more than 10 meters) between travelers. That way, if a section breaks, the cable will only be holding the weight of one person. The regional government of Andalusia budgeted in 2006 for a restoration plan estimated at € 7 million. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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