Rock Climbing in Hawaii and California: Rocks that rock

Aug 14, 2012 BY AWE365 Team

California and Hawaii already offer so many other great adventure sports that it seems unfair that they also boast such superb rock climbing as well… unless you’re travelling to either of these states of course.

Yosemite is not for the newbie. Image: Flickr/ mariachily

Hawaii’s scenic beauty hides numerous challenges for the climber, from hazardous overhangs to beguiling cracks.

California features a diverse plethora of terrains and obstacles, from limestone canyons to granite-walled national parks, and everything in between. Some of the toughest peaks on Earth are located in the Sunshine State, so care has to be taken.

Pacific Heights

The best bouldering to be had in Hawaii is arguably at Helemano Bug Park, discovered only in 2001. 20-foot walls bloom out of the green valley floor, offering medium to tough routes. That said, other routes lie unexplored.

Try to go during the dry season lest the mosquitoes make a meal out of you.

Top-rope and trad climbers will leap at the chance of conquering all 85 feet of Mokule’ia. The approach isn’t the clearest in the world – you’ll have to hunt out a vague trail through the foliage which leads to the cliff line.

The climb should take no more than 40 minutes, though prepare to be tested by dihedrals, little boulder clusters and arêtes.

The seclusion of the locale means you shouldn’t leave anything valuable in your vehicle while you’re out climbing.

Makapu’u Point is both the most accessible and the most beautiful climb in Hawaii. Its natural handholds and grippy embrasures are easy-going, especially if you use webbing in tandem with the bolted top-rope anchors already installed.

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Unless you plan to live in a tent vacation rentals will give you the perfect base from which to embark on Hawaii’s most thrilling climbs and a place to kickback once you are done.

California Climbin’

With its 3000-foot walls and famously challenging terrain, Yosemite remains the holy grail of Californian – if not American – rock climbing. The glacier-affected surfaces offer few handholds and you’ll need excellent technique rather than strength to progress.

There’s not really such a thing as an easy climb here, but the 3-pitch Munginella trail is regarded as an introduction to the testing granite.

Every year over 100 climbing accidents happen in Yosemite – it’s not for the newbie.

Gettin’ There

San Diego could be your best bet when booking ahead. Still, it’s helpful to remember Oakland International Airport is 3 and a half hours’ drive from Yosemite – drivers should take Highway 120 if coming from the San Francisco Bay Area or 140 if coming from Los Angeles.

California, Hawaii, Maui, North America, United States
Rock Climbing

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