Bouldering in Hawaii: The North Shore of Oahu

Nicholas Hernandez Bouldering in Hawaii at Waimea BayBeautiful beaches, green lushous mountains, breath-taking waterfalls, paradise has many meanings and forms. Ask anyone where is paradise and there is a good chance they say Hawaii. The iconic North Shore of Oahu known for its epic waves has another treasure being discovered by climbers!

North Shore of Oahu

known for its massive waves and amazing surfing conditions. Surfers from around the globe come to the North Shore of Oahu to take on these world class waves! But, unknown to many, Waimea Bay holds another feature that only the locals have been enjoying or if you are a climber will notice. Some of Oahu’s most beautiful volcanic rock cliffs & boulders  live along this shoreline making it one of the premier spots for bouldering in Hawaii.

Steven Ciaccio putting on shoes while bouldering in HawaiiWith the sound of the massive ocean waves crashing behind you and 20+feet rock standing in front of you cant help but get stoked about where you are! So throw on the shoes and start touching some volcanic rock!  You are about to go bouldering in Hawaii!

Steven Ciaccio bouldering the North shore of Oahu

A gem to locals of the island, many make the trip up from the Honolulu area and enjoy a day of bouldering these rocks. The sand here at the base of many climbs is quite deep and surprisingly soft offering you decent protection. We still highly recommended using a crash pad, there are some problems that traverse over areas where the sand is shallow and/or has rock extent outward into the landing. The sand is not evenly compact and should not be assumed so. A crashpad will help keep an even landing to help reduce the chances of twisting an ankle.

Nicholas Hernandez Bouldering in Hawaii at Waimea BayThe rock quality here is exceptional! This carbon black volcanic rock is quite strong and has a unique texture to it that makes it very enjoyable. It is very cool to look at actually. You will find everything from monos, half hand jugs, underclings to pocket crimps. To much of our surprise with being right along the shore, and the amount of ocean spray the rock here stays quite dry.  Direct sun and a consistent wind hit the rock consistently throughout the day keeping it from ever staying wet.

 Nicholas Hernandez bouldering in Hawaii through an overhang at Waimea Bay

Whether you like climbing overhung, slab or vertical style boulder problems this spot has a healthy variety of climbs for you to indulge yourself with. The problems range from V0 through V7 offering a solid array of difficulty to challenge you and your style of climbing!

Steven Ciaccio bouldering in Oahu

Shoes with sand**QUICK TIP**-  Bring a towel when climbing here, probably just a small one to accompany with your chalk bag. As we learned that day the sand here has a tendency to stick to your climbing shoes A LOT! We had to keep smearing the bottom of our shoes along the side of our calves to clean off the toes of our climbing shoes. After a dozen times or so o doing this it started to feel more like rubbing sheets of sandpaper on the skin.

Shaka Bro Shadow in Waimea BayThe climbing here is an absolute blast! We could not help but notice every person that we met on the beach and throughout the island was super friendly! More often then not we were greeted with a “Shaka Brah” while climbing on the rocks.

Sunset Silhoette of Nicholas Hernandez as he is bouldering in HawaiiNot if, but when you do go bouldering in Hawaii, Waimea Bay is a must on the tick list of crags to climb at while on the islands. Make it a point to plan your climbing sesh in the afternoon and into the evening so that you can enjoy one of the most incredible sunset you will ever experience while on the North Shore!

Mai Tais at Turtle BayAfter the day is done and packed in, you can grab some Mai Tais over at Turtle Bay’s outdoor tiki bar watching the sunset over the North Shore and celebrate the day’s sends!

While on the island also make it a point to take a stop at the Volcanic Rock Gym in Kailua. This rock gym has a great community. The folks there are super friendly and can give you insight into climbing spots, local etiquette and where to go around the islands of Hawaii!

Read Next Article: “Climbing in Bishop: The Happy Boulders”

Andrew Messick on Heavenly Path while climbing in Bishop

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