The Climbing Alternative
Climbing Enthusiasts Discover Roatan’s Vertical Side

February 1st, 2011
by Thomas Tomczyk

[private]

Karl Stanley and Nik Bach came across the place in December 2010, while looking for a cave that was rumored to be nearby. They eventually found the 100 foot cave but were more impressed by another discovery–a series of almost vertical rock formations forming a semicircle on West Bay’s Cohoon Ridge.
“It was a lot more exciting then I originally thought,” said Vernon Albert, American owner of the site where Moon Cliffs are located who is in the process of building a house at the top of the cliffs. This is the highest point in West Bay and the vista is spectacular. The entire site is shaded by crowns of 60 foot high trees.
Isabele Ojalvo, a graduate student visiting from Wisconsin, discovered Roatan’s climbing venue on her last day on the island. “I’ve been climbing for four years and this is pretty good,” said Ojalvo, who was catching a flight to the US just a couple hours later.
The climbing site is a great, relaxing way to spend three hours, even if you are not climbing. “This is a social and a team sport,” says Giacomo Palavicini, an experienced Mexican climber who works with marine protection on the island. “In Mexico climbers become very competitive quickly and work against one another … here it’s better. Everyone helps one another.”
To spark the climbing fever in other Roatanians, Stanley has purchased four webbing, a karabiner and a 200-foot climbing rope. Having helped a first-time-climber place on a harness, Stanley shouts to the 15-year-old climber, “You can always fall, but you can fall at least trying!” The boy had climbed about 50 feet, found it difficult to continue up and then became unsure about letting go to be securely lowered down. “I weigh 200 pounds,” he shouts back. There is an atmosphere of camaraderie between the people below and the climbers. It’s a confidence booster for anyone who makes it to the top.
The site below and on the Moon Cliffs is always shaded, quiet. The rock and surrounding trees form their own micro climate. While adrenaline pumps through the veins of the climbers on the rock, others relax in the shade of trees pointing out handholds and alternative climbing routes. “Your rope is in a crevasse right now. You need to do a loop,” says Clint Roberts to Jordan, a 12-year-old West Bay kid. Jordan is climbing with his sneakers on, but many climbers, like Kenfor Woods, go barefoot, as only one climber has proper climbing shoes.
Kenfor, 16, from Sandy Bay makes it to the top on his first try. On the second he tries another route and goes until there are no handholds to keep him on the rock. “I know he will be a good climber. He climbs coconuts and volleyballs that get stuck in the trees when we’re playing,” says Clint Roberts about Kenfor.
Karl Stanley looks down from a ledge.

Karl Stanley looks down from a ledge.

The place was spontaneously named Moon Cliff. The north-facing vertical rock formations protrude 50, 60 and some even 70 feet. This is the site of Saturday rock-climbing for a dozen Roatanians.

Karl Stanley and Nik Bach came across the place in December 2010, while looking for a cave that was rumored to be nearby. They eventually found the 100 foot cave but were more impressed by another discovery–a series of almost vertical rock formations forming a semicircle on West Bay’s Cohoon Ridge.

“It was a lot more exciting then I originally thought,” said Vernon Albert, American owner of the site where Moon Cliffs are located who is in the process of building a house at the top of the cliffs. This is the highest point in West Bay and the vista is spectacular. The entire site is shaded by crowns of 60 foot high trees.

Isabele Ojalvo, a graduate student visiting from Wisconsin, discovered Roatan’s climbing venue on her last day on the island. “I’ve been climbing for four years and this is pretty good,” said Ojalvo, who was catching a flight to the US just a couple hours later.

The climbing site is a great, relaxing way to spend three hours, even if you are not climbing. “This is a social and a team sport,” says Giacomo Palavicini, an experienced Mexican climber who works with marine protection on the island. “In Mexico climbers become very competitive quickly and work against one another … here it’s better. Everyone helps one another.”

To spark the climbing fever in other Roatanians, Stanley has purchased four webbing, a karabiner and a 200-foot climbing rope. Having helped a first-time-climber place on a harness, Stanley shouts to the 15-year-old climber, “You can always fall, but you can fall at least trying!” The boy had climbed about 50 feet, found it difficult to continue up and then became unsure about letting go to be securely lowered down. “I weigh 200 pounds,” he shouts back. There is an atmosphere of camaraderie between the people below and the climbers. It’s a confidence booster for anyone who makes it to the top.

The site below and on the Moon Cliffs is always shaded, quiet. The rock and surrounding trees form their own micro climate. While adrenaline pumps through the veins of the climbers on the rock, others relax in the shade of trees pointing out handholds and alternative climbing routes. “Your rope is in a crevasse right now. You need to do a loop,” says Clint Roberts to Jordan, a 12-year-old West Bay kid. Jordan is climbing with his sneakers on, but many climbers, like Kenfor Woods, go barefoot, as only one climber has proper climbing shoes.

Kenfor, 16, from Sandy Bay makes it to the top on his first try. On the second he tries another route and goes until there are no handholds to keep him on the rock. “I know he will be a good climber. He climbs coconuts and volleyballs that get stuck in the trees when we’re playing,” says Clint Roberts about Kenfor. [/private]

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