Month: January 2016

The Pitons

St. Lucia Piton

A mere 240 miles from the coast of South America sits an amazing island country with two iconic peaks, and St. Lucia’s pitons are sure to impress. St. Lucia’s pitons, which are technically volcanic spires, are located right along the coast, just past the town of Soufrière, and are open for climbing.

Summit of St. Lucia's Pitons

A short drive along the east coast of the island will afford plenty of opportunities to see St. Lucia’s pitons, and I highly recommend picking a hill-side spot and catching a sunset hitting the pitons, hills, and ocean all at once. If you’re feeling particularly flush, there are several resorts with prime real estate between the Pitons, so you can enjoy them from the comfort of a pool or on your deck, although I did not fall in this category!

Summit of Petit Piton in St. Lucia

Looking down from the peak of Petit Piton

Those seeking to climb St. Lucia’s Pitons should know that they are known as Gros Piton (2,530 ft) and Petit Piton (2,438 ft). Don’t let the names or heights fool you, though. Petit Piton is actually the more challenging climb, despite being shorter. This is due to Petit Peton being narrower and, therefore, steeper, requiring some technical scrambling using hands, feet, and — sometimes — ropes and other equipment that are already present on the trail. Those who know me won’t be surprised to hear I opted for Petit Piton!


I highly recommend hiring a guide to climb St. Lucia’s pitons, and usually a guide will find you before you can find them. It’s a small, friendly island, where nearly everyone knows someone who freelances as a guide when available. As soon as you mention you’d like to climb one of St. Lucia’s pitons, you’ll likely to get a flurry of references and recommendations.


In addition to helping you get yourself, and your equipment, up the piton while staying on the trail, it’s also good for the local economy. Our guide told us that many younger men are tempted by less-desirable (and less-legal) industries due to high unemployment, so keeping them employed as guides is a win-win for everyone.


Great view of the surrounding bay from the summit of Petit Piton

Once atop one of Saint Lucia’s pitons, you have a great, bird’s eye view of the surrounding area. The round trip doesn’t take long, either — at least not as long as you’d think looking up at the looming peaks. As a result, you can hit the peak one part of the day and have plenty of time left for other exploring or lounging on the beach.