Rock Climbing In Oahu Guide 101

Rock Climbing Oahu

Rock climbing Oahu lets you experience the beauty of nature and, at the same time, hone your skills with its rock climbing spots. It has the best of both worlds. If you’re in Hawaii, you should never miss any opportunity to explore this island’s landmasses as you’re guaranteed a memorable experience.

Oahu is, apparently, blessed with two huge mountain ranges contrary to Arizona. These will treat your eyes with the finest views that Hawaii has to offer. But, did you know that it also provides everyone a great opportunity to explore the beauty of nature and break some sweat through rock climbing?

If you’re into rock climbing and are looking to explore what this island has waiting for you, here are some of the best spots you need to add to your list.

Mokule’ia Wall

Mokule’ia has a total of 66 climbs. However, the majority of it is dedicated to sport climbing. Don’t worry, if you’re not into sport climbing, though. Luckily, this basalt cliff can also offer trad and top-tope climbing.

The downside to this spot, though, is it’s not for beginners. Rather, it’s more for intermediate to pro climbers. This is due to its difficulty that ranges between 5.7 to 5.13c.

Some of the routes in Mokule’ia Wall have difficult ratings printed on top rope sticks. But, never be too complacent as the sticks sometimes get mixed up.

Also, make sure not to leave any valuable items in your car. This is because break-ins can occur. Despite rare, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Mokule’ia Walls’ tallest route is approximately 85 feet. It has 12 bolts. So, if you visit, you can bring at least a 60m and one dozen draws, excluding anchor draws).

Waimea Bay Boulder

You’ve probably heard of Waimea Bay due to its monstrous waves that could reach up to 40 ft. But, did you know that this place isn’t only for surfers?

It turns out, Waimea Bay also has a huge bouldering rock with 25 climbs, with a difficulty rating of V0 to V7, waiting to be explored. However, it’s mostly for boulders. This is because 96.2 percent of it is merely for such a discipline.

But, it has a few top-tope routes too in case your get bored of bouldering.

The best part of choosing Waimea Bay as your next rock climbing Oahu destination is its surrounding views. Once you reach the top of the boulder, you will be treated with the picturesque views of the bay.

Just a little reminder, though, if you decide to climb this area, make sure to check the landing area below the rock. Sometimes, the beach sand provides enough protection for your landing. But, there will be times when it might be too low, requiring you to use some pads.

Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary (Town Boulders)

Yes, you read it right – it’s that place. You might wonder what’s it doing on this list when it’s actually a cemetery. It turns out, the main bouldering rocks are actually located just beside this spot to the Alpena Pool. 

For starters, it mainly offers bouldering. But, it boasts of some of the best problems you can find on the whole island. Some of the locals are exploring it too. Hence, new problems could appear anytime soon. However, you will need lots of crash pads if you climb here.

The rock also has ancient petroglyphs. Hence, you will notice a rebar cage installed on them. So, make sure to take extra care to not disturb the place.

But, before you go, note that the area has access issues as of writing since the boulder is located near Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary, which is a private property.

Little is known about this area. So, to be sure, it’s best to ask the locals about its access issue first.

Jungle Boulders

This crag is quite hard to find as it’s located in a heavily shaded jungle canopy. But, once you find it, you will be treated with a total of 10 climbs to explore. Half of which is for bouldering and the rest is for top-rope climbing.

This 20 to 30-ft gray rock is for intermediate to advanced climbers. This is because it has a difficulty that ranges between 5.8 and V4-5. It has a lot of nice cracks and edges that will make your climb exciting.

This spot is perfect for when you just need to get closer to nature as it’s very secluded. Not to mention, the area is tranquil, thanks to the stream running below the rock and the waterfall nearby that set good background noise.

The rock is located on private property. If you want to explore it, it’s best to contact local climbers instead.

Lowlands

Don’t be fooled by its name. Lowlands is actually not as low as one would expect for a beginner-friendly level. Apparently, this place has a total of nine bouldering climbs with a difficulty rating that ranges between V2-3 and V6-7.

Like the Jungle Boulders, unfortunately, Lowlands is located on a private property. And to get there, it’s best to contact the local climbers instead for complete details on how you can enter the area.

Nevertheless, once you get a chance to explore it, you’ll be treated with exciting problems that will make your rock climbing Oahu experience memorable.

The Arch

The Arch

If you’ll travel to the west side of the island, you’ll see The Arch. This huge overhung arch-shaped rock is home to a total of six climbs that are mostly for boulders. The rest of the routes, though, are for top-rope climbing.

Despite only having six climbs, this place never runs out of challenge as its problems are not for newbies. With a difficulty rating of V4-5 to V10-11.

Before you go, though, make sure to check the calendar first. The best time of the year to climb The Arch is during Spring or Fall. This is when the tide is low and the area is climbable.

And if it rains, it’s better to find another climbing spot instead. Unfortunately, The Arch gets dangerous when it’s wet as you might break holds off. The rock doesn’t dry off easily too. So, it’s best to let it dry for a few days since it doesn’t receive enough sun exposure to dry fast.

Oz

Nope, this isn’t that magical country introduced in the children’s novel. But, this place can offer you some of the best boulder problems on the island of Oahu.

Here, you have a total of four climbs to explore. All of them are for bouldering. The routes here have a difficulty range of V2-3 to V8-9.

If you’re not into bouldering, you’re better off finding another location. If you’re not a pro at the discipline, this isn’t the place for you either.

Oz is yet another fragile property on this list. It’s actually located on government property in Oahu. So, if you want to see what it has to offer, it’s best to ask the local climbers for more details on how you can get there and the requirements you need to fulfill if there are any.

Yi Wall

Yi Wall is like the Waimea Bay boulder – it’s also located near the beach. But, the Yi Wall is located at the end of Pounders Beach, which is also known for its huge waves.

What makes it different, though, is that it only has a total of four climbs. And all of them are only for bouldering. And its difficulty is around V2-3. So, if you’re looking for easier climbs, that this, the Yi Wall isn’t for you.

But, the difficulty of its climbs is worth it. Just like in Waimea Bay, the Yi Wall will treat you to a picturesque view of the beach and the surrounding area.

The best part of it is that you won’t need to bring a lot of crash pads. Fortunately, the sand in Pounders Beach and its waters are enough to cushion you when you fall.

However, be extra careful and make sure not to head too far south of the rock. The waves in this area can be very rough It could also pound you into the rock.

Nevertheless, it’s a great rock climbing spot you wouldn’t want to miss.

Makapu’u Point

Makapu’u Point is rather a small crag situated near the Makapu’u lughthouse. But, don’t be fooled by its size.

Apparently, Makapu’u Point is probably the most beginner-friendly outdoor rock climbing spot in Oahu. It has a difficulty of 5.6 at a minimum, which beginners to intermediate climbers can climb.

If you’re looking for more challenge, its 5.10 climbs are likely for you. It’s the maximum difficulty that the climbing spot has.

What’s also good about Makapu’u Point is that it has more climbs to choose from. For starters, it has a total of 16 climbs. 48.3 percent of which is for top-rope climbing, 41.1 percent is for sport, and the rest is for trad. The best part of it is that all of the site’s routes can be top-roped.

The area can be a bit windy at times, though. So, if you plan to climb Makapu’u Point, make sure to bring a jacket.

The climbing spot is also more public, compared to other sites on this list. So, expect to see some hikers passing by. If you’re not comfortable with people observing you as you climb, this place isn’t for you.

HiClimb (Gym)

HiClimb

The outdoor rock climbing options in Oahu can only be counted on hand. Unfortunately, a few of them were permanently closed to the public, like the Sacreds. Others, on the other hand, are still waiting to be discovered.

The good news, though, is the island has plenty of indoor sites to offer to give your adrenaline cravings a fix. One of them is HiClimb.

This gym has a 14,000 sq. ft facility that provides various options for beginners and advanced climbers alike. Whether you want to master bouldering, top-roping, lead climbing, auto belaying, etc., this gym nearly has everything you could ask for.

At HiClimb, you can hone your skills or give its challenging walls a try. Don’t worry if you have zero climbing knowledge yet. The gym’s professional instructors can help you with your climbing journey.

And if you need to come strengthening – for both your mind and body – HiClimb provides yoga classes too. No wonder it’s one of the highest-rated gyms on the island.

It’s one of the best places in Hawaii that you should go to, especially if you’re new to the sport.

Oahu is one of the islands in the US that has plenty of adventures to offer. Aside from surfing, rock climbing Oahu is also one of the activities you should give a try when you visit the island.

About Carla Mesina

I'm a journalist passionate about extreme sports. I love writing and reading stories about those brave people that are going beyond the limit of their physical capabilities.

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