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Areas in Belle Isle1

Amphitheatre 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
James River Park System 0 / 0 / 0 / 18 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 18
Quarry 0 / 1 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
RVA Riva Trash Area 0 / 0 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Whale Boulder 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Elevation: 131 ft
GPS: 37.529, -77.455 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 11,731 total, 140/month
Shared By: *^$ on Jan 12, 2011
Admins: Aaron Parlier, Jake Jones, Shawn Heath

Description

15-20 routes in an old granite quarry. One or two bolted routes. There are some routes that could take gear, but it's not recommended. January saw a snowstorm in which the melting then freezing caused a huge flake to break off the crag. If thawing and freezing can cause this, so can expansion of camming devices. But it's up to you. Most routes between 30 and 40 ft. Some of the top anchors are sketchy to get to, a rappel is recommended to set them up.

Getting There

From the interstate take the Fifth Street exit. Follow Fifth until it ends. This will put you on Tredegar Street. Take a right on Tredegar. Park in the lot that's under the railway bridge. Take a foot bridge to Belle Isle. Take the trail on the northern end of the island until you see the quarry on your left. Approach time 15 minutes.

26 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Belle Isle1

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J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Apr 14, 2017
I worked through the Quarry and the Amphitheater a great deal about 10 years ago, when I first started climbing. It was local, but that was about the best thing I could say about it now. The routes aren't great, the rock isn't amazing, it's hot as hell half the year because the sun reflects of the lake and turns the wall into an oven, and you're going to get spectators both above and below the wall. But it's real rock, and it's 90 minutes closer than anything else you're going to find to RVA. I don't have route information, but I can give an overview on a lot of the intricacies.

Setting up Top Ropes: Can be sketchy. There is a trail near the entrance to the Quarry that cuts left and heads up along the top, but on a lot of routes, there's steep terrain and loose dirt that can be really sketchy, as well as chain anchors that hang low and can be difficult to get to. I'd recommend bringing a short rope for a tree rappel, if for no other reason than as a safety. Also, be very aware of where the chains fall. I cut one rope damn near in half my first month climbing because the chain anchors laid against the edge of an arete.

Timing: Fall and early Spring are the best, especially before school lets out. The Quarry is used often by Passages (The local climbing gyms outdoor summer program) which means frequently during the summer you'll find dozens of kids crawling all over the place, and most routes pre-set with the summer camp ropes. At least back in the day, you could usually tell on the hike in because there would be a seperate group of a few dozen kayakers corralled underneath the suspension bridge. If it's swamped out, you can play around on the 3 or 4 routes at the Amphitheater (Rarely used by the summer camp, at least a decade ago) or rock hop to the other side of the river and hit some of the bouldering. It's also worth noting that they rarely used to rope the harder routes further down the wall, so you could work your way past them alot of times. The summer camps also set their top ropes with extension ladders they kept near the entrance, and would sometimes (rarely) let you snag a ladder for a quick, easy setup.

Weather: Super hot in the summer, weeps pretty bad in the rain. Luckily, you're literally a couple hundred yards from the river, so it's quick enough to take a dip.

Parking: Tredegar is the most convenient parking, but especially on weekends and when the weather is nice, it's damn near impossible to find a space. Often it's better to use the parking lot on 22nd and Riverside, on the other side of the James and hike in. This is the summer parking lot you should use to access to the Buttermilk Trail and the James River Park Boulders.

Aside from all that, not much to know. I don't have route names or beta on anything in particular, most of the routes are easy-moderate, maybe a handful above 5.8 on the whole wall. They're short, so you can estimate the grade pretty accurately from the ground. It's also worthy of note that some of the local shops sell, or used to anyway, "Manchester Shorties." These are basically cheap, chopped short ropes specifically because all the roped climbing in Richmond is <60 feet or so, and 60m ropes are way overkill. Oct 12, 2016
David Vogel
Lake Forest, CA
David Vogel   Lake Forest, CA
Some new routes here at amphitheater (with artificial boulder holds) writing this July 2016. Only know this because photos from a few yrs ago show no boulder holds and now there are many. Saw some shiny anchors too. Solo 30 ft of 5.4 to 5.6 (2 artificial hold routes) to set up a TR.

Quarry looked fun considering the limited options for outdoor climbing around RVA.
It was hot in the sun but the amphitheater is super shady all day thanks to trees all around, and the quarry had shady spots too along the main wall. Jul 8, 2016
Matt Gerard
Midlothian, Va
Matt Gerard   Midlothian, Va
Hey all here's a guide for the buttermilk trail boulders from our local climbing gym here in Richmond: Buttermilk Trail Boulders in James River Park Dec 13, 2013
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Perfect! Thanks for all the pictures, posts, and work. Looks really cool! May 25, 2011
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Thats awesome Ryan I'm excited to see some photos! May 25, 2011
I'm heading out there this afternoon to do a little bouldering. I'll try to get some pictures of the major areas like the Ampitheatre and Quarry Pond. Some of the better boulders are back on the bike trails in the James River Park System but I have only passed them on my runs so I'm not sure where the closest parking is (it would be a pretty long hike from the Tredegar St. parking). May 25, 2011
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Grayson:
That would be awesome and much appreciated. Take photos too! A picture is worth a thousand words, and it couldn't be more true on here. It doesn't matter if the bouldering is world class or not because if its all you have at the time, its gonna be great. Thanks!! Apr 12, 2011
I'll start working with a few friends up here in Richmond to get some info about Belle and the JRP boulders. Nothing too exciting overall - Belle has a few between V0-V4 - but it's a lot better than nothing! Apr 12, 2011
Aaron Parlier
Boone, NC
Aaron Parlier   Boone, NC  
Any route information? Photos? Grades? Sounds like an OK area but more info would be awesome. Mar 28, 2011

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