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Virgin Islands Climbing


Original Post
T.Ward · · Boulder, CO · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 20

Hello all,

I'm headed to the virgin islands (St. John's) for a friend's wedding this summer, and can't stand the thought of going a week without climbing.

Does anyone have any knowledge of routes or climbing areas in St John's, or any other nearby islands? I'd be happy with anything- trad, sport, bouldering. I've searched MP and SummitPost, with no luck.

Thanks in advance!

rdlennon · · New Hampshire · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 2,215


Unfortunately it's in British VI. Virgin Gorda.
T.Ward · · Boulder, CO · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 20

Looks great, thanks! I'll just take the ferry over.

YDPL8S · · Santa Monica, Ca. · Joined Aug 2003 · Points: 540

I thought this was going to be about grade VI climbing. Oh well, I've been to St Thomas and St Johns, the snorkeling and windsurfing are great!....that's what I'd stick to.

Felix Rigau · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 20

Anybody got anything to add to this post? Looking for information on climbing in the Virgin Islands.

Thanks!

hotlum · · Bend, Oregon · Joined May 2009 · Points: 365

I've been to St. John. The island was formed geologically by plate subduction volcanism, like the pacific region of the US. I stayed on the southeastern side of the island which is in the rain shadow, so it appeared more rocky. Lots of basalt and conglomerate (welded tuff?). Visited a while back before I was into climbing (but into rocks) and a guy I was with, who was a climber, mentioned something about good climbing on a cliff near by.
The snorkeling on that side of the island is fantastic. Lots of rock reefs full of large fish and lobster.

Corey McCarthy · · Redmond, OR · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 95

Virgin Gorda, around the Bath Rocks Beach. There are a lot of granite boulders on that side of the island. Not many developed/cleaned for climbing, but I dinked around on a few of them a couple years ago. Beautiful area. A pad is helpful.

mattm · · TX · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 1,381

I was in the USVI last christmas. St Thomas just south of Charlotte Amalie at the Marriot Complex. There's NOTHING official on either St Thomas or St John but a decent amount of interesting rock. I found some nice, solid basalt like stuff that dropped right into the ocean. Nothing DWS per-se but I could go do a nice long traverse for about 500 or more feet, launch off the top and swim back to the beach. If you'll be in St John I think you're closer to the Ferry to the BVI. There ARE established granite bouldering areas there.

A search for Virgin Gorda Climbing will get you well on your way.

minielle · · Holladay, Utah · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 50

I was in the British Virgin Islands a couple of months ago. If you go from the American Virgin Islands to the British Virgin Islands or visa versa, be prepared to go thru customs. Have your Passport with you.

Peter G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 0

There's a Dr. Topo guide for Virgin Gorda still available here: drtopo.com/submitted/virgin…

Bob Robinson · · Lone Tree, Colorado · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 245

Definitely check out Virgin Gorda. I was there about a month ago, and it is amazing. The Dr. Topo guide is perfect for the area. I recommend the boulders at Spring Bay. Cool 20 foot hand crack over white sand... amazing.

If you search YouTube for "Bouldering Virgin Gorda", you can find a short film I made about the trip. I'd post a link, but I'm at work and don't have access to YouTube

(It's incredible I can get on this site though... so much company time has been wasted here)

Felix Rigau · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 20

Great info... Virgin Gorda looks to be the place. Thanks for posting the topo Peter.

Bob - you V0 sending S.O.B. - I want to know more about that 20ft crack over white sand!!! Wednesday night climbing will be back on soon... see you then..

Thanks everyone!

Simon H · · Oakland, CA · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 195

I'm from St. Croix, and although there may be some lines on the NW coast of the island, there isn't much - as said before, most of the climbing is on the incredible granite boulders of Virgin Gorda.

St. John is the prettiest of the three USVIs. Make sure to go to the smoothee shack to see the tame donkeys, and spend a night at Maho Bay - their food is incredible, the tent-cabins cheap, and beer on tap. Go swimming at their beach at night to see incredible bioluminescent plankton. (its like swimming in a constellation)

That hand crack is out of this world, and probably 5.9 but make sure you bring a pad because the sand doesn't cushion impact well (weird, i know). We brought a Metolius stomp which packs nicely into a 16x16x24 box, which doesn't require an oversize luggage fee.

The climbing is brutally hot, if you are trying to push yourself, you'll really only be able to around dawn or after 8pm by headlamp after the rocks have cooled down. That topo is a good one though.

Make sure to bring a mask and snorkel, as there is incredible snorkeling. Cool underwater passageways under submerged granite boulders, incredibly large self assured fish, and the largest lobster I've ever seen.

Ferry schedules are here
vinow.com/general_usvi/inte…

Take the ferry into Town "The Valley" from Cruz Bay St. John, buy a Ting (grapefruit soda) at Buck's market, then walk 2 mi or take a taxi south to the baths.

Camping at the baths themselves is against the rules, but you won't get caught as the place clears out by 5-6pm.

...that hand crack

main boulder, especially cool 20'+ highball in center

Jonathon Wasser · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 0
Bob Robinson wrote:Definitely check out Virgin Gorda. I was there about a month ago, and it is amazing. The Dr. Topo guide is perfect for the area. I recommend the boulders at Spring Bay. Cool 20 foot hand crack over white sand... amazing. If you search YouTube for "Bouldering Virgin Gorda", you can find a short film I made about the trip. I'd post a link, but I'm at work and don't have access to YouTube (It's incredible I can get on this site though... so much company time has been wasted here)
you're too kind,

Since that guide was put out in 2008, there has been much development. Myself and Rich Crowder were tasked by a publishing company to put together a professional guidebook on the area. Currently there are 450 boulder problems.

Come help develop the already established bouldering scene on the island by naming and documenting new boulder problems, locating new areas, and enjoying the beautiful Caribbean weather. The concentration of the dates for this event will be between June 2-June 22.

Contact Jonathon Wasser at wasserj@gwu.edu
or
Rich Crowder at Rich@richcrowder.com

for details.
Monty · · Golden, CO · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 3,270

Steve Zissou and Rob Frost... Meet Bob Robinson!
Fun video Bob.

youtube.com/watch?v=YJ5ruxc…

Bob Robinson · · Lone Tree, Colorado · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 245

Thanks Monty! I'm glad you got the tone I was going for

Kyle Coleman · · St Thomas, VI · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 25

Contrary to what has been posted here, there is climbing here in St Thomas. There is a cliff about 80 ft or so above the university that is worth checking out. Also a few spots on outlying islands that a boat is needed and some bushwacking, but awesome climbing. Hull Bay point has some easy DPW soloing, 60 ft or so. Yes, the rock isnt the best quality so all the climbing I've done so far has been TP.

Harry Marinakis · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 235

RE: British Virgin Isands

Hey Simon!

Here's "...that hand crack..." back nearly 25 years ago

"...that hand crack..."

And a few other photos from the Baths area nearly 25 years ago...



A particularly hard problem at the Baths

More bouldering at the Baths

Sarah Silverstein · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 0

I'm taking a catamaran down there this Nov. anyone know about mooring/anchoring in the area? Would it be too exposed in Spring Bay to moor for the night? I had read that it can get quite rough in there.
What would be the next best idea if were planning for a couple days of climbing? Mooring in North Sound then taking a taxi?

Thanks!

Jason Haas · · G1 Climbing + Fitness · Joined Oct 2005 · Points: 1,300

I don't know about the mooring, but there's a new guidebook to the area: fixedpin.com/British_Virgin…

ClimbVI · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 60

Hi, Sarah,

moorings at The Baths are for day use only, although anchoring is permitted assuming you have enough rode for the deeper water offshore of the moorings.

There are a few overnight moorings available at the entrance to Spanish Town, which is a short motor away from Spring Bay, Baths, and Devil's Bay. This might be your best bet. Of course, you can always moor for the night in Trellis Bay or Marina Cay, which aren't too far from The Baths.

Mooring in Gorda Sound will be too long a trip unless you plan to take a taxi down. Keep in mind also that anytime that there is a north swell, it can be tricky or dangerous to take a dinghy into The Baths. Your best bet then would be to pick up a mooring in Spanish Town and take a taxi.

Hope this helps. If you're ever interested in a sailing charter catering to climbers, please let me know.

Capt. Charles
www.ClimbVI.com

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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