Bouldering in Hawaii

Sep 01, 2015Brooklyn Boulders

Who are you and how did you get to Brooklyn?
My name is Tyler Williams, I just moved out here from the island of Oahu in Hawaii where I’ve lived for the last several years. I came out to Brooklyn to pursue career opportunities in software engineering and development.

Tyler, bouldering in Hawaii.
Tyler, bouldering in Hawaii.

What’s NYC like compared to Hawaii?
There are a lot of differences. NYC definitely doesn’t have the ready access to nature that Hawaii has, which I miss sorely. On Oahu particularly you can drive 10 minutes in any direction and be on a perfect coarse-sand beach, a stunning hike through the rainforest, or on the approach to a bouldering spot.
I have been having a blast in NYC though. I have never lived in a real city before so it has a lot of charm for me. Eventually I will learn how to best access the nearby nature/climbing.

Wai on Big Baby Buddha in Hawaii
Wai on Big Baby Buddha in Hawaii

How did you start climbing?
I started climbing just a couple of years ago after I got out of the Army. I needed a hobby to stay in shape and decided to give the only gym on Oahu a shot. Volcanic Rock Gym, at the time, was a small top-out bouldering wall and a cave attached to the side of a gymnastics studio. The community was small but very passionate and committed. That location is gone and now Volcanic has two locations on the island, I am lucky that I got to be around for the growth. From there I met the members of the community who climbed outside. They were gracious enough to let me tag along with them and flail while they developed the new spots. They became a real family for me.

waimea bay hawaii
Waimea Bay, from

Matt Lutey (@stonezonesurfclub), Justin Ridgely (@hiboulder), Nancy Ngyuen (@nanci_nator), Wai Yi Ng (@wai_yi_711), Hiro Watanabe(@hiroture), Nick Testa(@testasan), Joe Segel (@joeseegs), and Harry Larson (@tallestguyontheisland) — all very strong climbers — were aggressively developing new bouldering on Oahu while I was learning the basics and they took me under their collective wing.
After a couple of years Matt and I decided to start a blog to document the community as best we could. Bouldering Hawaii acts as a sort of guidebook and occasional community blog on Oahu bouldering development. There are also some pretty rad pictures there, and who doesn’t like that?
A sample boulder guide, from
A sample boulder guide, from


What do you do?
I am a junior software developer at a boutique software consultancy which specializes in mobile design and development. One the company’s founding partners is also a BKB member.

How has climbing impacted your life?
Climbing gave me a thread to hold onto for a long period. It brought me community, stability, a sense of accomplishment, and joy. It still does. I like it a lot.

What are your current projects, on and off the wall?
On the wall I am just trying to get into shape — I would like to be able to think of myself as a “strong climber” some day. I also want to expose myself to more real rock, with the exception of one weekend trip to Red Rocks I have only climbed on Hawaii’s basalt boulders and faces. Also, developing a community for myself here in NYC because for me that is an important part of climbing.
Off the wall I am trying to get my life in order. Make friends, excel at my work, find a new place to live after my time in my sublet runs out. The basics.


What are your recommendations for climbers going out to Hawaii?
Reach out to the community! I have never met a more open group of people more willing to let you be a part of their lives. They will take you out no matter who you are and treat you like a member of the family. They are really special people. Also, go to VRG and Waimea Bay.
Say hi to Tyler next time you’re around – and if you’re ever planning a trip to Hawaii, you know where to go. Spread the #bkblove.

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