Elevation: 74 ft
GPS: 19.719, -79.799 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 52,236 total · 415/month
Shared By: Anthony Stout on Jun 11, 2009
Admins: John Byrnes

Description

As of April 2018 there are over 115 routes on the island, about a dozen put up in 2018, and this guide on MP doesn't show but half of them. The official website of Cayman Climbing, Climb Cayman Brac provides a free, up-to-date, downloadable climbing guide.

Trip Report by Anthony Stout
We step out of the tiny Cayman Brac airport and find ourselves in a new and mysterious world. The air is heavy and the wind sharp, though soft and does not sting like the desert winds we had come from. The aroma of salty ocean fills the air. We drive our rental car on the wrong side (if you’re from the US) of the road through the darkness, and I can barely make out limestone cliffs through the breaks in the densely vegetated roadside. Palm trees sway as their leaves filter the strong wind, their sound blends with thunderous waves pounding the shoreline. Soon we arrive at The Bluff View House the place we call home for the next week, and retire. We sleep little as anticipation and sounds outside our window stir our dreams.

Awaking to early morning dawn, we rise excited to explore the mystery that was clouded by the darkness the night before. The island paradise transforms as the sun ascends above the deep blue Caribbean Ocean. We walk along pink coral and ?shell strewn? beaches exploring sharp gray ironstone and looking into tidal pools filled with small creatures. For the next week time slows, nearing irrelevance. The days are filled with walks on the beach, solitude, wind, waves, amazing sunrises and sunsets, climbing, snorkeling, caving, dining, relaxing, and hanging out with friends.

Climbing

Cayman Brac ("Brac" rhymes with "crack" and means bluff in Gaelic) is one of the most beautiful areas I have ever been lucky enough to clip bolts. The climbing exists on a bluff that runs west to east, with large limestone cliffs rising up to about 140 feet in height on the northeast end of the island. The island has a wide variety of limestone sport climbing: steep and juggy overhangs, vertical and technical rock, stalactites and flowstone, sometimes sharp, or sometimes smooth and slick, and pockets and jugs. If you are looking for solitude, this is your place. There are few other climbers on the island so there's never lines for routes and the rock isn't polished.

There are seven developed climbing areas on the island with over 115 routes, with grades range from 5.6 to 5.13+ with most in the sweet ranges of 5.10 to 5.12. There are a handful of open projects as well.

Unlike many of the neighboring islands, such as Cuba and the Dominican Republic, all routes have Titanium bolts and are therefore safe. For more info see: Bolt Safety or a recent article in Climbing Magazine.

GEAR: There is no place to purchase climbing gear on the island, so everything will have to be brought with you. If you stay at the Bluff View House  you will have static ropes and a clip stick, just bring the "head", such as a Superclip or Squid. A rack of 20 quickdraws will get you up any route on the island (the longest route requires 19). Take a half-dozen shoulder-length slings with biners for routes at The Point. Ascending devices (Prussic, Ropeman, Tiblock) are also required when climbing at The Point. More details

Crags

Due to the intense tropical sun, you should always climb in the shade. Each sector has shade at different times of day.

Love Shack Wall: Just a three minute walk from the Bluff View house. 5.9+ to .13b. Shade about 4:00 by March 1st.

Orange Cave: With a 10 minute approach, this is great place to spend an afternoon and to get used to the stone on the Brac. This area offers climbing from 5.6 to 5.11a, and includes one of the steepest 5.10s anywhere! Shade @ 3:00 by March 1st.

Valentines Wall: A two minute walk from the road.  This wall goes into the shade the earliest of all the south side crags.  It's characterized by crisp edges, pockets, tufas, distinct short cruxes and excellent stone.  In other words: FUN!  Shade by 1:30 by March 1st.

Wave Wall: With routes graded from 5.8 to 5.12+, and the greatest concentration being in the 5.10 range, this crag offers a high concentration of moderates. Unfortunately, it can only be accessed during calm seas. Shade about 2:30 by March 1st.

The Northeast Point: Full-on Adventure Climbing with nothing but water and air below you. Many routes here from 5.9 to 5.12. Shade all day in February, the top of the routes get sun by mid March.

Edd's Place: Another area over the ocean has only two routes but the length, quality and position make them must do routes. Shade @ 2:00 by March 1.

Neptune's Lair: Though only a few climbs here, the beauty of the area makes the 25 minute walk well worth it. If you continue just a little further beyond the crag, Neptune’s Cave is well worth exploring. North facing, there's shade most of the day with evening sun by March.

Dixon's Wall: This area is home of the best rock and the longest routes on the Island with shade all day.

Elvis stemming the tufas on Tufa Two, 12a.

Getting There

In the center of the Caribbean, 450 miles to the south of Miami, Florida, and 150 miles south of Cuba are the Cayman Islands. Cayman Brac is the easternmost island of the Caymans, 85 miles northeast of Grand Cayman, and 5 miles east of Little Cayman.

Many of the major airlines offer service to Grand Cayman "GCM"  (i.e. American, United, Cayman Airways, British Airways, etc.) and from there it's a short hop over to the Brac "CYB".  Cayman Airways has flights every day about every 90 minutes.

In some cases (as in ours when traveling from Albuquerque, NM), these sites mix different airlines and come to a price more expensive than you will come up with if mixing airlines on your own. For example, we traveled from Albuquerque to Tampa on Southwest, then to Grand Cayman and finally Cayman Brac by purchasing a separate flight on Cayman Airlines. Doing this was less expensive than the prices any of the online agents came up with.

Lodging

On the South side of the island there are many houses available for tourists to stay. However, for climbers, I would recommend contacting John Byrnes (jbyrnes@ezlink.com) or visiting The Cayman Brac Website to see if the Bluff View climber’s house is available.

Hanging out between the coconut palms after lunch.

Staying at Bluff View will ensure you don’t have to bring rappel ropes, which are helpful for rappelling into the climbs at The Point. He also has stick clips available which you will most certainly want to use on some of the climbs. John maintains all the routes and the climbing guide for free, so renting Bluff View also supports climbing on the island.

Climbing directly over the ocean on Holy Huecos!

Climate and When to go

The Cayman Islands have two main seasons: Dry Winter (December through March)  and Rainy Summer (from May to October).  

During the winter there are many weeks without any rain, and if it does, it comes in short bursts of heavy showers and then clears.  Of course, since much of the rock is overhanging, it mostly doesn't even get wet!   A full day of rain just doesn't happen in the winter.
 
The water temperatures range from 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and from 82 to 86 in the summer.  June through October is hurricane season. The most ideal weather conditions tend to occur from December through March.

Resources

Websites:
- The ONLY climbing guide that is kept current is at John Byrnes' website: climbcaymanbrac.com/

- Great photos at: Cayman Photos 2018

- Information about many of the islands attractions can be found here: http://www.caymanbrac.com/

Book
Adventuring On Cayman Brac: A Guide to Great Adventures on this Small Caribbean Gem.
By: Skip Harper
Heel and Toe Publishers, 2002

A great guide to get you acquainted with the Island. Gives great information on history of the island, scuba, snorkeling, climbing, hiking, caving, running, fishing, and other activities.  Just be aware the climbing guide is seriously out of date!

79 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Cayman Brac

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 10
(04) L' Orangerie
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 5
Spiral Staircase
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 7
OMG!
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 8
(01) Chum Buckets
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 10
(05) Ick! Theology! (I'd Rather…
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 5
The End Justifies the Knees
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 9
Captain Kirk's First Voyage
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 3
Turtle Tufa Tango
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 4
Black Hole
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 10
Dixon's Delight
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 3
Lizzard the Gizzard
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 5
Out of Africa
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 4
Boom!
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 3
Date-less on Valentines Day
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 5
Carpe Stalactite
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
(04) L' Orangerie Orange Cave
 10
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Spiral Staircase Edd's Place
 5
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
OMG! Dixon's Wall
 7
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
(01) Chum Buckets Orange Cave
 8
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
(05) Ick! Theology! (I'd Ra… Orange Cave
 10
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
The End Justifies the Knees Dixon's Wall
 5
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Captain Kirk's First Voyage Dixon's Wall
 9
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Turtle Tufa Tango Iguana Wall
 3
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Black Hole Valentines Wall
 4
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Dixon's Delight Dixon's Wall
 10
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Lizzard the Gizzard Dixon's Wall
 3
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Out of Africa Dixon's Wall
 5
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Boom! Dixon's Wall
 4
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Date-less on Valentines Day Valentines Wall
 3
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Carpe Stalactite Dixon's Wall
 5
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Cayman Brac »

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