Bouldering Beta for Virgin Gorda, B.V.I.
The guide I provide is by no means a comprehensive guide. Instead, it gives some information on the general areas and highlights a couple boulders that should not be missed. Half the fun of Virgin Gorda is exploring around and finding problems on your own. Encountering problems with chalk on them is often a rarity, so it feels like you are doing first accents. Ratings in this guide are rough estimations at best, so don't take them too seriously. I only include them to give a general sense of what to expect.
The beta in this guide comes from my trip to Virgin Gorda in Aug. 2003. If you have other questions or beta to share, contact me (Kevin Pugh) at email@example.com.
When to Go
Time of Year: You can go any time of year. There are advantages and disadvantages to any time you go. Winter is the high season in Virgin Gorda, meaning it is the most popular time to go. The advantage is that you get to escape a cold winter climate to enjoy some sun. The disadvantage is that you get to enjoy that sun with more people and for more money (rates are higher during the high season). Cruise ships also stop by Virgin Gorda during the high season and may drop a hundred or so people off at the Baths (see Where to Go). But as I understand it, cruise ship crowds can be avoided by going at the right time of day (see below). Summer is the low season. The advantage is that the rates are lower, there are less people, and there are no cruise ships to worry about. The disadvantage is that the temperature is warmer -- but not by too much. The average temperature doesn't vary more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit between winter and summer. We were there in August and I believe the temperature was around 82 most of the time. The water was perfect.
Time of Day: Obviously, the best time for climbing is early morning and late evening. But you can also climb during the day if you climb the shady side of a boulder and bring plenty of chalk. The beaches at the climbing areas can be quite popular between 9am and 3pm, but I often found them nearly or totally deserted of tourists by 4pm. This is particularly true at the Baths where the vendors shut down at 3pm. My understanding is that the cruise ships also come between 9am and 3pm, but don't quote me on that.
Where to Go
The granite boulders are all located in the south end of Virgin Gorda know as "The Valley." The main climbing areas are found on a series of beaches on the western shoreline. These beaches are Spring Bay, the Baths, and Devils Bay (see map below). Big and Little Trunk Bay (north of Spring Bay) may also have great bouldering, but I didn't get that far. Each beach has its own collection of boulders and the beaches are separated by dense clusters of massive boulders. Each beach may be reached either by boat or by hiking down a short trail. In addition, you can hike from one beach to the other. There is a very fun trail that weaves its way through the boulders between the Baths and Devils Bay. There is no trail through the boulders separating Spring Bay and the Baths -- finding your way through is an adventure unto itself! You can also snorkel between the beaches. Bringing a waterproof bag (for shoes & chalk bag) to take advantage of this option might not be a bad idea. The snorkeling is great.
For a guide to classic boulders in each area, click the links below:
[Virgin Gorda Bouldering Guide Homepage]