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Belle Isle1

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Amphitheatre 
James River Park System  
Quarry 
RVA Riva Trash Area 
Whale Boulder 

Belle Isle1 Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 37.52882, -77.45455 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 7,738
Administrators: Jake Jones, Shawn Heath, Aaron Parlier, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: *^$ on Jan 12, 2011
Forecast:
Tonight

39°
Tuesday

45° | 40°
Wednesday

56° | 37°
Thursday

50° | 28°
Friday

41° | 24°
Saturday

42° | 25°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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BETA PHOTO: close up map

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.

Climbing Season

For the Richmond/Central VA area.

Weather station 6.7 miles from here

29 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',8],['2 Stars',14],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',2],['5.7',1],['5.8',1],['5.9',1],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',2],['V2-3',6],['V4-5',8],['V6-7',4],['V8-9',2],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',2],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Belle Isle1

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Belle Isle1:
Jurassic park arête    V4+ 6B+     Boulder, 15'   James River Park System
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Belle Isle1

Featured Route For Belle Isle1
Rock Climbing Photo: awesome egg

Jurassic park arête V4+ 6B+  VA : Richmond/Central VA : ... : James River Park System
Sit start on shelf and left hand on arete left foot on incut, move into a heel hook and bump hand further up arete with right thumb catch. next move right hand to sloper and left out to shelf, double mantle and top out left of previously established problems. awesome...[more]   Browse More Classics in VA

Photos of Belle Isle1 Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Rocks on the backside of the island. Possibly a fe...
BETA PHOTO: Rocks on the backside of the island. Possibly a fe...
Rock Climbing Photo: a spot to park, and trail map
BETA PHOTO: a spot to park, and trail map
Rock Climbing Photo: Crossing the suspension bridge to Belle Isle.  Ori...
BETA PHOTO: Crossing the suspension bridge to Belle Isle. Ori...
Rock Climbing Photo: More Quarry.  Originally posted by: *^$
BETA PHOTO: More Quarry. Originally posted by: *^$
Rock Climbing Photo: Yep.  More quarry.
Yep. More quarry.
Rock Climbing Photo: More cowbell.
More cowbell.
Rock Climbing Photo: More quarry.
More quarry.
Rock Climbing Photo: Quarry
Quarry
Rock Climbing Photo: Quarry
Quarry
Rock Climbing Photo: Jake checking the place out; first time there.
Jake checking the place out; first time there.
Rock Climbing Photo: More rocks in the river.
More rocks in the river.
Rock Climbing Photo: The river on the backside of the island is full of...
The river on the backside of the island is full of...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rocks on the backside of the island. Possibly a fe...
Rocks on the backside of the island. Possibly a fe...
Rock Climbing Photo: View of the James from the suspension bridge.
View of the James from the suspension bridge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Crossing the suspension bridge to Belle Isle.
Crossing the suspension bridge to Belle Isle.

Comments on Belle Isle1 Add Comment
Show which comments
By Aaron Parlier
Administrator
From: Boone, NC / Grayson, VA
Mar 28, 2011
Any route information? Photos? Grades? Sounds like an OK area but more info would be awesome.
By Grayson Bedolli
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!
By Aaron Parlier
Administrator
From: Boone, NC / Grayson, VA
Apr 12, 2011
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!!
By RyanBram
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).
By Aaron Parlier
Administrator
From: Boone, NC / Grayson, VA
May 25, 2011
Thats awesome Ryan I'm excited to see some photos!
By Aaron Parlier
Administrator
From: Boone, NC / Grayson, VA
May 25, 2011
Perfect! Thanks for all the pictures, posts, and work. Looks really cool!
By Matt Gerard
From: Midlothian, Va
Dec 13, 2013
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
By Ranivorous Troglodyte
From: Lake Forest, CA
Jul 8, 2016
I think with updates there are now more than 25 routes (best guess).

Some new routes here (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.

I updated some pics and beta info for amphitheater area. Wish I snapped pics of quarry pond area, only had a minute to be there.

Quarry looked fun considering the limited options for outdoor climbing around RVA. Lots of TR (be sure to tie off to a tree before setting up TR). Wish I saw the sport routes, apparently there are a few at the Quarry pond.

If it's been dry for a few days there looks to be some fun trad. I am sure there is loose rock but a lot of the rock looked solid to place pro. Wish I had my gear with me.

Bugs didn't bother me down there today. It was hot in the sun but amphitheater is super shady all day, perfect for summer climbing, and quarry had lots of shade too along the main wall. Some routes at the Quarry had some water leaking out, nothing too bad.

If anyone is at the Quarry area snap some pics and post them here on MP real quick and add a little beta, that would really help others!
By Lindsay Siegfried
Oct 12, 2016
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.