Monday, April 20, 2009
PETIT PITON, SOUFRIERE, ST. LUCIA
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY, 1 to 5: 5
At 2,461 feet above sea level, Petit Piton is the shortest but most difficult of the two pitons, taking anywhere from 1 hour 45 minutes to 3 hours each way. The unmarked trailhead is about a 30 minute walk from Soufriere’s pier. Follow the road from Soufriere that leads south along the water towards the piton. The beginning of the trail is to the right of the road apx. 100 yards before the entrance to the Natural Springs (look for a small pasture and shanty to the right of the road. There is a trail that leads along a chain fence at the back of the field. At the beginning of this trail is an area of the fence that is pinned to the ground with a large rock. This is the beginning of your journey). Be cautious along the trail as there are several times where you can find yourself off the trail if you’re not careful.
The trail is very, very steep. Hand holds in the rocks and tree roots will often assist in pulling yourself up. Be adived that there are some very tricky rope sections about 3/4th of the way to the top. Use extreme caution and know your limits. Having a spotter is very important on this difficult stretch. Unlike Gros Piton, there are no official trail guides, but plenty of locals who will be glad to take you to the top if the price is right.
There are no water sources along the trail so take plenty. The trail is well covered keeping you out of direct sunlight until reaching the top. Cell phone coverage throughout the hike.
PEACE CORPS PROCEDURE:
-Call your APCD to inform them of your hike, and again upon returning safely to the bottom.
-ALWAYS hike with at least one partner, preferably two.
NICHOLAS KLINGER, EC76, December 31, 2006/ January 1, 2007
An extremely excruciating yet very entertaining and rewarding hike. A spectacular view from the top makes it all worth it. Camping at the top is possible, but be prepared for high winds and wet and chilly evenings.
LEO KLEJNOT, EC76, December 31, 2006/ January 1, 2007
I found myself on multiple occasions asking “What on earth have I gotten myself into??” This might account for the 40 lb. pack I had on my back or realizing that I’d left my sleeping bag at home and had no shelter for the night. Very entertaining and a MUST for any St. Lucian PCV!!