Ascent of Bordeaux Mountain on 2013-03-03

Climber: Gabriel Couët

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, March 3, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Taxicab
Peak:Bordeaux Mountain
    Location:U.S. Virgin Islands
    Elevation:391 m / 1286 ft

Ascent Trip Report

This ascent was made on my second to last day on the cruising trip. The initial plan sprung up when we planned to spend the night at Soper's Hole, in West End, on Tortola. The next day was going to be some snorkeling around Salt Island for everyone and since I don't particularly like that activity, I thought I could hit the USVI and scale another island HP.

The ferries go from West End (Tortola) to Cruz Bay (St. John) regularly during the day, and I planned to get on the earliest I could board the next morning, before the rest of my party left the anchorage.

The next morning, I got up early and got a good breakfast. Then I went to shore to check schedules. The earliest one was leaving around 9:15 so I had enough time to get my things. My father dropped me and I got my tickets and filled the paperwork to cross borders. Soon, things became more complicated. The Native Son, the oldest ferry in the several that are operated in the Virgin Islands, had mechanical problems. Fortunately for me, or so I told myself, I was booked with Inter Island Boat Service. That's when the lady from this company told everyone Inter Island would be taking on the people who had booked with Native Son.

This wasn't too alarming, and we all waited for the ferry to arrive. When it got there, the crew docked and a young employee started taking charge of everyone. The massed of tourists heading back to Charlotte Amalie to catch planes rushed towards the small boat while the lady led them on without checking any tickets. Soon, another employee came by and started scolding the girl saying she should have checked the boarding manifest before letting anyone aboard.

Complete confusion and a massive uproar resulted as of course no one wanted to get off the boat. I was still on the dock, biding my time patiently, but kinda pressing for an answer on what the course of action would be to fix all this. Of course, since I had arrived quite early, I was on the manifest, but the boat was already past capacity and I could see baggage handlers exchanging glances and pointing at the boat's visible list.

I had an exchange with the girl and she told us they were sending another ferry our way and that it should be there in 20 to 30 minutes. I said that I didn't have an airplane to catch and decided to forfeit my spot on that ferry. Other people were still in a fighting mood, but soon after, the ferry left, 45 minutes late. I was only going to be another 30 minutes late, so it wasn't extremely disturbing. That's until the desk lady came outside and said that the girl on the boat basically lied to us and no other ferry was en route. They would do their run and come back, maybe an hour and a half later.

Now I was getting worried. The last ferry back from St. John was at 16:00 and it was already 10:00. I would probably have to scrap my idea of a sea-to-summit (and back) climb if I wanted to make it to Tortola that night. While I waited, my sailboat left West End, so I was now committed to the trip. I kept my spirits high and chatted with a couple of musicians that were returning to Charlotte Amalie after a show in the BVI.

To our surprise, another ferry came by about 45 minutes earlier than expected. I was quite hopeful now and the boarding was swift enough that we left around 11:15 towards Cruz Bay. We made it there around 11:45 and I went directly to the National Park welcome center. There, I got some very basic trail maps and inadequate info from the lady at the desk. Still, I was on the right path and went to fetch a cab.

Again, things were a bit complicated (they always are in the Caribbean, aren't they?) as a taxibus had just left for my destination, Coral Bay, with a single occupant. Whiningly, the booker ordered me into another cab and told the driver to intercept the other taxi before it left town. We drove off and joined the other vehicle at the central roundabout and I promptly hopped off and aboard the next one. I saluted my companion and we started talking about the island and where we were headed. Crossing the island took about 25 minutes and when we got to the intersection at HWY 10 and 107, the taxi driver asked where I wanted to stop. I said goodbye to my companion and hopped off, asking how much for the fare. The driver asked for 7$ so I gave him 10. I was surprised as the other occupant was told it would be a 30$ fare...

From there I looked around and saw I was on the waterfront and had to head south. So I started along HWY 107 in a slightly shoddy part of Coral Bay, passed King Hill Rd wondering if it was my intersection, but I looked at my maps and saw I had to take the second on my right. I kept going and soon reached a sharp branch-off that ascended steeply along a slight ridge. This had to be it so I hopped quickly past the first bend as I didn't want an oncoming car to cut the blind corner into me. The road surface was concrete and somewhat uncomfortable to tread, but manageable.

The sun was now high in the sky and it shone down harshly. I was fearing sunburn so I stopped to reapply some sunscreen. From there on, I looked for which ever side of the road was in the shade and went for it, taking short breaks under larger trees to cool down and gulp down some water.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:754 m / 2483 ft
    Elevation Loss:754 m / 2483 ft
    Distance:14.1 km / 8.8 mi
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:455 m / 1499 ft
    Extra Loss:64 m / 213 ft
    Distance:3.5 km / 2.2 mi
    Route:Route 108, unmarked trail
    Trailhead:Coral Bay, Rte 107@Rte 10  0 m / 0 ft
    Time Up:50 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:690 m / 2270 ft
    Extra Gain:299 m / 984 ft
    Distance:10.6 km / 6.6 mi
    Route:Unmarked trail, Route 10
    Trailhead:Cruz Bay  0 m / 0 ft
    Time Down:1 Hours 55 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Gabriel Couët
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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