Dominican Republic Rock Climbing
|GPS:||18.979, -70.225 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
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|Shared By:||Marcus Floyd on Apr 10, 2013 · Updates|
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti. By area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba), with 48,442 square kilometres (18,704 sq mi) and an estimated 10 million people. The Dominican Republic has the highest peaks of the West Indies and mountains show a direction northwest-southeast. The mountains are separated by valleys with the same general direction. Cordillera Septentrional (in English, "Northern Range"). It runs parallel to the north coast, with extensions to the northwest, the Tortuga Island, and to the southeast, the Samaná Peninsula (with its Sierra de Samaná). Its highest mountain is Diego de Ocampo, close to Santiago, with 1,249 m. The Cibao Valley (Dominican Republic) is the largest and the most important valley of the country. This long valley stretches from North Haiti, where is called Plaine du Nord, to Samaná Bay.
The Dominican Republic contains perhaps some of the best rock for climbing in the Caribbean and in North America. The country has the potential to be a world-class climbing destination, but is presently sparsely developed. Dominated by carbonate rocks, most areas consist of some combination of limestone, dolomite, coral, and marble of varying quality. There are somewhere between 150-200 established sport and trad routes in the country, with the majority of the routes set within five popular climbing areas. These areas include:
1) the well developed "urban crag" at Parque MIrador del Sur in the Capital city of Santo Domingo
2) a small canyon called Conde de Mana near the city of San Cristobal, a sparsely developed crag with big potential
3) a beautiful deep water soloing spot called Bahia San Lorenzo near Sabana del Mar
4) a small, well-developed sport crag called Bayahibe near the city of La Romana, and
5) the crown jewel of DR climbing -- the epic seaside crags of Playa Fronton and vicinity near the town of Las Galeras on the Samana Peninsula.
There are also many other remote, undeveloped cliffs that have yet to be explored for climbing (e.g., Cabo Cabron on the Samana Peninsula).
There is a small but very active local community of climbers predominantly based in Santo Domingo who gather on most weekends at Parque Mirador del Sur to climb and socialize, and these folks are extremely welcoming to visitors from afar. If you are visiting the country and have the opportunity to stop by Parque Mirador on a weekend, it is a great way to meet the locals, make some contacts, get some beta, find belay partners, and maybe make lifelong friendships!
The country is frequented by traveling climbers mainly from the US, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Many of the routes in the country have been developed by climbers visiting from these places, and the country generally welcomes new development from outsiders into the future.
The tropical maritime climate throughout much of the nation brings with it the challenges of rapidly corroding fixed hardware. In general, the crags in close proximity to the sea suffer the greatest threat of corrosion, although stress corrosion cracking of steel hardware can happen anywhere in the country. The most popular crags (such as Parque Mirador and Bayahibe) see enough traffic that stainless steel hardware is generally maintained and replaced as needed to keep the crags safe, but less traveled (and thus less maintained) crags may pose more of a a danger. Many of the seaside crags are undergoing rebolting with titanium hardware to withstand the corrosive forces far into the future. Educate yourself on inspecting hardware and use discretion before deciding if a route is safe to climb or potentially dangerous.
From the United States, you can find plenty of cheap flights from major airports. There are direct flights from the various states on the Atlantic coast and from Texas. You can also fly in from Canada, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and various Caribbean islands. From Europe, you can fly direct from (or connect in) Madrid, Paris, Frankfurt, and Moscow. See https://www.flightsfrom.com/SDQ, https://www.flightsfrom.com/STI, and https://www.flightsfrom.com/POP.
Getting There: One option submitted by a climber-
"We rented a car for a day (cost us about $75.00 USD) and did the super easy drive to Bayahibe. If you don't have international service (which we did not) we downloaded our maps from google when we had wifi and used them to guide us the rest of the way there. If you are traveling from Punta Cana note that highway 3 is toll road (both directions), In total we spend 1200 Dominican Pesos on the toll road. After an hour of driving, we pulled off the paved road and headed down a dirt road (left turn when coming off from highway 3). 5 minutes in we hit a gate where we had to pay 20 Dominican Pesos per person. Another 15-20 minutes of driving we found a large parking area. A person who was there helped guide us the 5 minutes up the road and trail to the cliffs."
"Whoever has been establishing the climbing is doing a great job with developing the area!!! The rock is solid and so unclimbed that the limestone is still fairly sharp. The bolt/slung voids are adequately spaced. The anchors we came across on various routes left a little to be desired (e.g., really thin trees slung, worn gear hung for rappelling down) but not so uncomfortable that we stopped climbing. For a lot of the anchors I pulled the rope through and rappelled down rather than getting lowered, just to avoid unneeded wear on the gear that was there (and my rope)."
"From the same parking area you can take a 20 minute hike to a really amazing swimming hole/cave, I am highly suggesting that you do this! If you do go to the cave pack a flashlight or even better a waterproof light. After climbing, hiking and swimming we asked around for some places to go to grab some food. A local suggested we head into Los Melones for food, the suggestion did not disappoint! The town is a cool spot known for its access to great snorkeling and diving sites, so it has a bustling port shuttling ocean goers. We ended up getting amazing seafood and cold beers at Restaurante Dona Carla, I would suggest checking out the restaurant and town if you have time."
Classic Climbing Routes at Dominican Republic
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