Puerto Rico Climbing Trip Guide – February 2017

Puerto Rico kept showing up in my social feeds as a climbing destination. The photos I was seeing were stunning, and I kept reading that while small, the sport climbing scene was organized and decently developed.

What piqued my interest most was the access to nearly all climbing styles. There is single and multi pitch sport, trad, bouldering, and deep water soloing, all on an island you can drive around in a day. While weather, energy, and time prevented me from bouldering and deep water soloing as planned, I was able to sport climb at three different crags and had an awesome time.

If you want to read more about what I did for lodging and food you can read my Puerto Rico trip travel guide.

The Plan

Originally, the idea was to sport climb at three separate crags across the island, do some fun bouldering during one of our surf days, and do some deep water soloing as well. Ultimately, the trip was simplified to just sport climbing.

What I climbed

I picked three crags spread out across the island. Each of which have digital mini-guides that you can buy online, I’ll link to each below. The guides were put together by a local company that has a physical climbing/outdoors store located in San Juan, and also offers guiding services.

https://www.aventurastierraadentro.net/

Area: Rosario / San Germán

Guide book

Parking: Free | Map Pin

This crag was challenging. It featured powerful climbs and stiff ratings, and not a lot of great warm-up options. It was also a little weird because it’s located on private land.

The mini-guide notes that it’s on private land and said they haven’t had any issues as of writing the guide, but I did get approached by a guy driving past where I was parked. He asked if he could “help me”, but he was really trying to probe what I was doing. I think it was obvious to him I had been climbing and he asked if anyone else was back there (there wasn’t). He did not seem stoked. With that said, I might check in with the mini-guide authors and get the landowner’s current vibe before making the trek.

This area’s grading starts pretty tough. The lowest grade climb that isn’t a 2nd pitch climb or above is a short, but stiff, 5.9 on 45 degree wall.

Wall: Vertical Jamming

I went up a two pitch route named Los Balcones de Miyagui (Pitch 1: 5.10a, Pitch 2: 5.9). I had trouble with this route at the start, pretty sure I flash pumped, or adrenaline dumped.

The beginning wasn’t easy and the gear felt sketchy to start (three pitons and a fixed nut), then it was bolts the rest of the way up. I felt confident I could climb the route, and the gear held when I tested it, but being the first climb of the trip in an unfamiliar area I think I psyched myself out and made it harder on myself then it actually was.

I ultimately had a great time, and finished the first pitch, but was too pumped part way into the second pitch and didn’t finish it.

Wall: The Gym

All the routes are pretty short here but very muscley and on a 45 degree wall. I tried the easiest route on this wall and got worked. It’s called Piel de Serpiente (5.9). I know I could do this on a fresh attempt, pretty sure I didn’t let myself recover enough from the previous climb, and also managed to z-clip twice which never helps get you to the top.

I would definitely like to come back to this crag now that I know what I am up against. I noticed a bunch of boulders around the area and will probably spend more time warming up on those, or figure out some sort of traverse on The Gym.

Area: Las Tetas

Guide Book

Parking: Free (need a padlock code listed in the guide book) | Map Pin

I hit Las Tetas after climbing at Rosario/San Germán. I really liked this crag and wished I could have climbed much more here. The climbing session was limited to one 80 foot route that paid off with a stunner of a view.

The route was called Flake City (5.9). It’s a long climb with more or less obvious holds, and fun movement. It was a bit windy that day which made it a bit of an ass-clencher higher up, but overall was a great climb. It is a perfect warm-up route.

I would probably spend a full day here. There is a decent volume of climbs that seem more fairly graded than Rosario, and some awesome looking multi-pitch potential.

Area: Nuevo Bayamón

Guide Book

Parking: $3 | Map Pin

Nuevo Bayamón is the most easily accessible and has the greatest volumes of climbs. It is also located closest to San Juan (~25 minutes from Old San Juan) in the Julio Enrique Monagas National Park.

Wall: Sector 2: La Escalera

This was the last day of climbing so I went for volume of climbs. The grades felt accurate here. This area was nice and shady, but it was also probably the most humid of all the areas. I onsighted four routes:

  • Paz 5.8
  • Amor 5.9
  • La Cueva del Alacrán 5.8
  • Yan Gabriel 5.9

I only got a half-day in here and really wanted to try a route called The Shark Attack (5.10d), but ran out of time. It has a strong overhang finish and is known to have sharp holds like shark teeth hence the name.

Overall the stoke stayed at 100 the whole trip. I would go back in an instant, and highly recommend you do as well.

What I missed

Bouldering didn’t happen because I was dead-ass tired from climbing the day before, and then surfing the day of. I read about some fun rock formations at Surfer’s Beach, which also has a great surf break and is aptly named. I didn’t find any grading or guides for these boulders.

Surfer’s Beach map pin.

I really wanted to try to deep water solo the arch near Cuevo Del Indio. The route is known as Marejada Feliz (Happy Surge). Since I was there in February it was still stormy and the waters were rough, which meant not great for taking a fall so I passed on it.

Cuevo Del Indio map pin.

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