Ascent to Morne du Vitet-Grande Saline on 2010-02-07

Climber: Gabriel C

Date:Sunday, February 7, 2010
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Point Reached:Morne du Vitet - Grande Saline
    Location:Saint Barthelemy
    Elevation:0 ft / 0 m
    Remaining Elevation:938 ft / 285 m (78% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

On our second sailing day, we anchored in St-Barthélémy, just outside of the port of Gustavia. We went ashore but found out, after going through customs, that everything is closed on Sunday. I decided to go for the summit anyway, even if I had no information whatsoever about how to get there. I took our cruising guide which has rough maps showing roads on the island and headed off east. Walking along the roads, I passed the airport and took a road towards Grande Saline, a hamlet south of the supposed peak. I walked a while, passing over a col until I could clearly see a mountain ahead. But the more I approached, the more I could see going up from the south would require a decent trail if I wanted to get there in a timely fashion. It was all bushwhack and rocky bluffs on a very steep terrain, and I was facing blistering sun with minimal amounts of water on me; a 500ml Nalgene. I kept going along the road as I could see a huge parking lot filled with cars further ahead. I guessed it was some attraction and it might have lead to a trail. When I got there I could hear the sounds of huge waves crashing and going along a small sandy trail over the bank left me at an incredible beach.

I took off my boots and sat there for a while, and left when I thought I'd be on schedule to meet at the appointed time with my family. Walking back on the road I came in, I could see another summit with a road winding up its slopes and road sings said it lead to Gustavia, my destination. I decided to follow it although my inaccurate maps didn't say what it lead into. It turned out to be a major slog uphill until I reached Lurin, another hamlet sitting atop its own hill, morne Lurin. I was then regretting going into an unknown road but from there on it was downhill along very scenic roads until I arrived in Gustavia, right on schedule.

When we came back a week later, I asked for information at the tourism center, and they told me no trails are maintained as all land is private and because of abuse in the past, access has been denied by the owners.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:850 ft / 258 m
    Total Elevation Loss:850 ft / 258 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.5 mi / 10.5 km
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:259 ft / 78 m
    Loss on way in:259 ft / 78 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:Hwy D209 then roads
    Start Trailhead:Gustavia docks  0 ft / 0 m
    Time:1 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:591 ft / 180 m
    Gain on way out:591 ft / 180 m
    Distance:3.1 mi / 4.9 km
    Route:roads through morne Lurin
    End Trailhead:Gustavia docks  0 ft / 0 m
    Time:1 Hours 

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