Rock Climbing in Hawaii | Top-Rope, Sport Climbing & Bouldering

27th July 2021

Hawaii is a natural haven, boasting lush greenery, scenic hiking trails, incredible landscapes, and rock formations spread across all its islands. These rocks lend themselves as perfect crags for all types of rock climbing in Hawaii. This includes free, top-rope, aid, lead climbing, and bouldering. There are also a few indoor climbing gyms in Hawaii if you’re looking for a safer climbing environment.

rock climbing in hawaii

Unfortunately, some of these spots aren’t easy to find for many reasons. Some are hidden treasures, nestled deep into the wilderness, and others are undocumented. Still, it’s a worthy trip to make, considering the rewarding views each route offers.

To be best equipped for climbing in Hawaii, grab your gear – as in a helmet, shoes, a good quality climbing harness, and everything in between – and read this article. Get armed with only the best beta, and you’ll be ready to go in no time.


Where to go Rock Climbing in Hawaii

woman rock climbing

As stated above, there are several outdoor and indoor spots to visit when climbing in Hawaii, notably in Oahu, Maui, and more. Plus, there’s a crag with a grading fit for everyone – from beginner to experienced.

Oahu

Oahu has the highest number of documented crags of all Hawaiian islands with over 100 climbable rocks. However, that’s not to say rock climbing in Oahu is abundant – many scalable stones are fit for bouldering. Still, the spots you can climb offer trad, sport, and top-rope climbing with several routes.

The most prominent areas for rock climbing in Hawaii’s Oahu are the Mokule’ia and Makapu’u crags. They were once closed for a long time due to safety concerns, but they’re now open to the public. Although, you must pick up a free Hawaii Climbing Commission membership to climb legally.

The routes in Oahu range from 5.6 to 5.13+, so there’s a route for casual climbers or those seeking a challenge. Climb the Makupu’u Point crag’s Route 10 to enjoy scenic ocean views. Or visit Oahu Bouldering, a rock climbing gym in Oahu, for a safer climb. Go wild and search for more; who knows, you may discover a new route or spot.

Maui

climbing

Maui is the second-best region to go Hawaii rock climbing in terms of the number of routes available to you. Much like Oahu, there are more bouldering areas than rock climbing spots. However, there are over 50 bolted sport routes to scale; save yourself time searching for them by getting in touch with Maui Rock Climbing and plan your adventure to the T.

Most of the (documented) routes in Maui are top-rope climbs and range from 5.8 to 5.11c in difficulty. So the area is more suitable for experienced climbers and isn’t beginner-friendly. Visit Venus Pool or the Backside near Black Rock to do some trad climbing near beautiful and tranquil waters.

Due to the low population of climbers in the area, there isn’t an indoor gym to do rock climbing in Maui. Note that weather changes frequently and it can be extremely rainy, windy, or hot on any given day. The rocks are also less sturdy than in Oahu, so be extra careful if you opt for Maui.

Other places for Hawaii climbing

indoor climbing

Apart from Oahu and Maui, there are several spots to visit if you want to scale Hawaiin walls. Some are outdoors, and some are indoors, ranging from low difficulty to great difficulty.

For the outdoors, Kauai has you covered with over ten sport and trad routes offered at Kalalea Mountain, which is also known as “King Kong.” Because the Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides film was shot in Kauai, many of the routes have been named after the movie. The routes range from easy climbs like “Bootstrap Bill” to the hardest “The Flying Dutchman,” on three different crags.

Getting to the Kauai crags can be tricky and requires a long hike from Anahola Kauai. The climb is also not good because the mountain is covered in vegetation and features poor rock quality.

While you can’t go outdoor rock climbing in Honolulu, there’s a way to scratch the climbing itch. Visit HiClimb, a 14 000 square foot facility that is an indoor rock climbing gym in Honolulu. It features top-rope and lead climbs that range from beginner to experienced.


Bouldering in Hawaii

bouldering in hawaii

Bouldering fun is aplenty in Hawaii, with large rocks found in every corner of the island. Unlike crags for rope climbing, these rocks are easy to find, and you’ll often find that chalk is visible.

In Kauai, visit Glass Beach for boulders between 10 and 25 feet and rated from VB to V3. Or Mokolea Point for problems ranging from V2 to V5 and going as high as 50 feet.

In Oahu, near Mokuleia Wall, is The Arch, boasting problems as easy as V3 and as tricky as V11. Or opt for the easier Waimea Boulders that go no higher than 16 feet and are graded between V0 and V7. Also, visit sandy Waimea Bay, which features several highballs with several routes, ranging from V0 – V4.

For the best Maui bouldering experience, visit the famous Black Rock for its deep water solo opportunities graded as high as V3. Pay a visit to Mcgregor Point to enjoy problems as high as 20 feet and V6. On the greater Hawaii island, visit Kua Bay, Papakolea Beach, South Point, and more for more bouldering problems.

Just remember to bring a bouldering pad.


Ready to Conquer the Hawaiin Crags?

bouldering outdoor

Having acquired the above beta on the best spots to go rock climbing in Hawaii, you should be ready to scale your way up the island’s crags. Whether you’re looking for top-rope or sport climbing, bouldering, or deep water soloing, you’ll find it in Hawaii. Plus, the rocks offer various grades and are fit for beginners or highly experienced climbers.

Go to Oahu and scale Makupu’u Point for a picturesque view, visit an indoor climbing gym for a safe climb or try Maui’s bouldering problems. Whichever you choose to do, remember to bring all the equipment you need.

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