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|Shared By:||Anthony Stout on Jun 11, 2009|
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 youre 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.
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
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, Neptunes 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.
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.
Hanging out between the coconut palms after lunch.
Staying at Bluff View will ensure you dont 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
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.
- 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/
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!
Classic Climbing Routes at Cayman Brac
Days w Precip