Rock Climbing in Cuba
Are you looking for the best Rock Climbing in Cuba?
Viñales is one of the top rock-climbing sites in the Caribbean!
If you fancy giving it a go, we can organise some great guides for you, who know the routes like the back of their hands!
We can organise hiring some equipment to help make your time on the limestone 'mogotes' really enjoyable!
The climbing is superlative. Cranking jugs and pockets in chiseled karst limestone on improbable lines through stunning overhan
gs of stalactites and tufa columns. Picture the rock features and formations of Thailand’s Railae. Move them off the beach, about 20 miles inland, and place in a valley touted as a miniature Yosemite, with the most spectacular scenery in all Cuba. Overhanging limestone faces on 1,000-foot freestanding crags called “moots” rise above traditional thatch-roofed Cuban houses and red-soiled tobacco farms.
The Valle de Viñales now has over 60 routes and 100 pitches of climbing. Perfect climbing days, mild weather, and everything from isolated beaches to caving and cockfights on rest days. Add an exciting, sensuous nightlife, and the gregarious, vivacious Cuban people, and Cuba may already be the best outdoor adventure experience anywhere.
Cuba Libre the archetypal Cuba climb: long, ascending a tufa column, through stalactites, finishing on a spectacular roof. It is also one of Craig Luebben's acrobatic routes. The final roof is split by an off-width section, which Luebben climbed by jamming his feet above him, cutting loose his hands, and reaching through to the next hand jam. On his first attempt, with a crowd of campesinos watching, Luebben let out long, gruesome screams as he hung from his feet hundreds of feet above them. Then, he fell. It appeared to all that he had been stuck in the crack. His slippers were stuck, just as he wanted them to be, but he was slowly, inexorably slipping out of the shoes. Luebben returned to the ground, switched to lace-up shoes, and completed the first ascent. Cuba Libre, 5.11d/12a, 3 pitches, 50M. First ascent: Craig Luebben, George Br acksieck
Cuba Libre is at El Palenque, four kilometers north of town, easy to reach on foot, and by cab or bike. At the center is El Palenque Disco, which may be the cushiest, indulgent "advance base camp" in climbing. El Palenque is a bar and disco in a cave opening. The bar provides rest and refreshments after climbs and bouldering in heat
Mogote del Valle and Green Eggs and Ham
More than half of the routes in Valle de Viñales are on the walls of the Mogote del Valle. The closest routes are about one kilometer from town. The Mogote del Valle can be seen to the northwest from Viñales, with the gold wall of Milenio easily identifiable.
Huevos Verde con Jamon is a five star route that starts just outside the cave at the base of Milenio Wall. The route climbs up to and then out the side of the first roof. Overhanging jugs continue up the face for two pitches and join a sloping ramp. The 11c crux is moving onto the ramp. As a display of the degree of overhang, on the initial attempt of the first pitch on top rope, Armando Menocal came off at the roof and he flew out more than 50ft over the valley. "Huevos Verde Con Jamon" was named by Cubans for John Middendorf from the name of the Dr. Susse classic, Green Eggs and Ham, which John brought, in Spanish, and read from aloud. (5.11c, 2 pitches, 60M. First ascent: Vitalio Echazabal, An’bal Fernandez, Carlos Pinelo, Armando Menocal)
La Costanera and the Flyin’ Hyena
La Costanera is a spectacular cathedral chamber of limestone. Its north facing walls are the best place to climb when it is hot. Usually, the north coast and ocean can be seen from the upper belays of La Costanera routes. Its 120M walls have yielded the greatest number of long routes of 4 to 5 pitches.
It is likely that La Costanera and the route Flyin' Hyena were the scene of the first climbing in Cuba. In 1999, when Cameron Cross, Craig Luebben, and Armando Menocal reached the top of the first pitch on the first ascent, they were surprised to discover three rusty pitons, a loop of tied perlon, and a carabineer: an obvious rappel. Eventually a nearby campesino told them this story: about 15 to 20 years ago two Spanish women spent two days reaching that point on the wall. He said they went no farther, although Luebben thought he saw pin scars on the next pitch. It does mean that these Españolas came to Cuba equipped with pitons and hammers, and started out by tackling one of the longest, most intimidating, and elegant lines. Bravo! The pitons, perlon, and 'biner have been in place and should not be removed.
Flyin' Hyena has everything: a stunning setting, history, big wall rope management techniques, and acrobatic climbing. (But what about the name?) According to Luebben, "Flyin' Hyena was an expression among Silvia's (his wife) group of Italian friends for someone who was really going for it, the "flying" (falling), but still having great fun (laughing like a hyena)." Flyin' Hyena, 5.12a/b, 5 pitches, 120M.