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Planning a rock climbing vacation this winter?
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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Oct 17, 2013

Whenever I mention climbing in Cayman Brac most people say, "Never heard of it", so I'm trying to correct that.

Where's Cayman Brac?
Where's Cayman Brac?


Cayman Brac is a place to get away from it all. The island is small, unspoiled and laid-back. The climbing is gently-overhanging limestone with lots of pockets, tufas and other interesting features.

At the Point are long pitches right over the sea.
At the Point are long pitches right over the sea.


The climbing guide is free and downloadable from the website:

www.climbcaymanbrac.com

Climbing, scuba diving, snorkeling, caving, fishing, birding, nature hiking and walking the shoreline are nicely balanced by a frozen rum-drink on the porch while you watch the sunset turn the surf orange and listen to the wind in the palm trees.

Hanging out after lunch.
Hanging out after lunch.


Here's a trip report from earlier this year:

biersons.com/2013/02/06/rock-climbing-on-cayman-brac/

Octopus are easy to find while snorkeling.
Octopus are easy to find while snorkeling.


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By Rob Davis
From Brooklyn, NY
Oct 17, 2013

Is there a cheaper way to get there? Looking up tickets and its exactly ten times what I paid for my trip to puerto rico over the summer.


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Oct 17, 2013

Rob Davis wrote:
Is there a cheaper way to get there? Looking up tickets and its exactly ten times what I paid for my trip to puerto rico over the summer.


I don't know what you paid for PR but I just ticketed yesterday for $595 Denver-Cayman Brac in March. Spring Break and Xmas-New Years are always higher.

Unless you live near an airport that has direct Saturday flights to Grand Cayman (eg. New York, Atlanta, Miami) try a travel agent. I've found that they always do better than I can find both on price and times.


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By dave wave
Oct 17, 2013
sierras

Looks awesome!!!


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By 5.samadhi
Oct 18, 2013
me

any more pics of the sport climbing?


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Oct 18, 2013

5.samadhi wrote:
any more pics of the sport climbing?


You mean in addition to all the photos at the two links I posted? Try here:

www.mountainproject.com/v/cayman-brac/106458273

Burrow down to the individual route descriptions.


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By OldManRiver
From Cottonwood Heights, UT
Oct 21, 2013
Red Rock, Cannibal crag

Going to Dominican Republic with the lady friend for 15 days in December. We're hoping to climb at least a few days.. if we could get 5 or more that would be great.

Cooba looks incredible, I'd love to check it out :)


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Oct 21, 2013
Stabby

I have images of shredded tips in my mind. Has anyone been working on filing off the edges or whatever rips fingers up down there? Are most routes actually friendly? Would love to consider this as a destination.


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By Robbie Mackley
From Tucson, AZ
Oct 21, 2013
Me and Holden at the "Matterhorn"

^^^Comfortizing Holds? Maybe I'm naive, but is this really an accepted practice amongst developers? I'm familiar with the whole "creative cleaning" philosophy, employed to avoid having one 5.13 move in the middle of what could be an awesome, 100 foot 5.10 pitch etc. But filing edges to save tips?
Just a question, sorry for the thread jack.
-Mackley


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Oct 21, 2013
...

"But filing edges to save tips?"

That's a new one on me as well. I have the feeling Mike isn't serious. If he is? Well, dude's a nut! To be expected.

;-)


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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Oct 21, 2013
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lichen covered look from scrubbing a new route.

Limestone pockets are often pretty nasty without a little dulling of the edges and spikes. With traffic they would be worn down anyway, but very few will enjoy the initial process of wearing them down by hand and foot.


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By Eric Engberg
Oct 21, 2013

Locker wrote:
"But filing edges to save tips?" That's a new one on me as well. I have the feeling Mike isn't serious. If he is? Well, dude's a nut! To be expected. ;-)


Ever climb at Wild Iris? Or anyplace in southern Europe?


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By Ed Wright
Oct 21, 2013
Magic Ed

I have no problem comfortizing sharp limestone holds but I would never create a hold where one did not naturally exist.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Oct 23, 2013
Stabby

Ed Wright wrote:
I have no problem comfortizing sharp limestone holds but I would never create a hold where one did not naturally exist.

Same here, and I'll add that doing so really does not affect the route's difficulty up or down. It is a far cry from actual chipping. It can make the difference between 'fuck this place' to 'hell ya!'


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By WDW4
Oct 23, 2013
Global Village, Red River Gorge KY

Mike Lane wrote:
Same here, and I'll add that doing so really does not affect the route's difficulty up or down. It is a far cry from actual chipping. It can make the difference between 'fuck this place' to 'hell ya!'


I disagree. Modification of routes can be a good thing I guess - I do hope the first few climbers on a route trundle some blocks that are going to eventually come down when people climb, rather than leaving those blocks there for some careless or unlucky climber to dislodge onto the delayer.

However, differentiating between "chipping" and "filing" requires some pretty specific definitions. They both involve modifying hand or foot holds. They both make the route easier/more comfortable to do. They both bring a route down to the climbers level, rather than requiring the climber to rise to the rock.

In instances where the rock is particularly soft, and repeated traffic will produce the same wear anyway, I guess it doesn't make much of a difference. All the same, I'd rather everyone keep their files away from the rocks I climb.


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By WDW4
Oct 23, 2013
Global Village, Red River Gorge KY

Ed Wright wrote:
I have no problem comfortizing sharp limestone holds but I would never create a hold where one did not naturally exist.


Ed probably climbs harder and has more experience than me, but this statement seems a little nonsensical. It seems as though this statement distilled to its essence could be rephrased:

"I have no problem modifying holds that are hard to hang onto to make them easier to hang onto, but I would never modify the rock in spots that are hard to hang onto to make them easier to hang onto."


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By rocknice2
From Montreal, Quebec
Oct 23, 2013
BD ice tool fusion2

I think what Ed meant is

"I have no problem modifying holds that are painful to hang onto to make them less so, but I would never modify the rock in spots that are hard to hang onto to make them easier to hang onto."


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By WDW4
Oct 23, 2013
Global Village, Red River Gorge KY

rocknice2 wrote:
I think what Ed meant is "I have no problem modifying holds that are painful to hang onto to make them less so, but I would never modify the rock in spots that are hard to hang onto to make them easier to hang onto."


Doesn't make a difference. "I don't want to try to hang onto that rock in its current state, so I will modify it".

There are a few thousand more pressing problems in the world, and a few hundred in the realm of climbing. While we're on the topic, though, I think the contradiction I've addressed is worth pointing out. Fundamentally, it is modification of the rock in order to make it easier to climb on.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Oct 23, 2013
Sure, I can belay

WDW4 wrote:
Doesn't make a difference. "I don't want to try to hang onto that rock in its current state, so I will modify it". There are a few thousand more pressing problems in the world, and a few hundred in the realm of climbing. While we're on the topic, though, I think the contradiction I've addressed is worth pointing out. Fundamentally, it is modification of the rock in order to make it easier to climb on.


Have you climbed on much limestone, or ever developed any new routes at limestone crags? Something tells me you haven't.


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By nicelegs
From Denver
Oct 23, 2013

Limestone varies in strength. My new routing experience was in Bermuda, the rock was sharp and featured. It really hurt. We often referred to the holds as "character building". Within a few ascents though, our shoes had done the same work a file would have done.

Not sure about cayman, it looks a bit harder. It might take a few more ascents to wear it down.

It's a gray area for sure. Very few people commenting here have put up routes anywhere. Many of them don't even realize how modified the routes they climb every weekend are.

Back on topic, I have a sister living on grand. She says it is a $70 flight to brac. She also says there is a dive boat that'll visit Cuba for a day. Sounds fun. I'll be sure to visit her soon.


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Oct 23, 2013
...

"Ever climb at Wild Iris? Or anyplace in southern Europe?".

No! But I'm sure it would be fun.





"They both involve modifying hand or foot holds. They both make the route easier/more comfortable to do. They both bring a route down to the climbers level, rather than requiring the climber to rise to the rock.

In instances where the rock is particularly soft, and repeated traffic will produce the same wear anyway, I guess it doesn't make much of a difference. All the same, I'd rather everyone keep their files away from the rocks I climb."



Pretty much a DITTO here.


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Oct 23, 2013
...

"Very few people commenting here have put up routes anywhere"


So often is the case where the complainers themselves have NEVER done a single FA.

How much it matters in an argument concerning routes would be an interesting conversation IMO.


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By Red
From Arizona
Oct 23, 2013
Cobra Kai

How much potential is there for new routes? With only 70 routes (45- 90 feet tall), you might want to advertise to people that are psyched on developing new routes.
I might be interested in checking this place out in years to come. Once there is more to climb.


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By WDW4
Oct 23, 2013
Global Village, Red River Gorge KY

Mark E Dixon wrote:
Have you climbed on much limestone, or ever developed any new routes at limestone crags? Something tells me you haven't.


Nope, never climbed much on limestone, though I don't think that is immediately pertinent to the discussion at hand. The main reason for that is all the limestone I've looked at near where I live (Kentucky) is so chossy I'd have to spend a few days pulling blocks off to get down to solid rock, and that doesn't jive with my idea of environmental stewardship.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Oct 23, 2013
Stabby

WDW4 wrote:
Nope, never climbed much on limestone, though I don't think that is immediately pertinent to the discussion at hand. The main reason for that is all the limestone I've looked at near where I live (Kentucky) is so chossy I'd have to spend a few days pulling blocks off to get down to solid rock, and that doesn't jive with my idea of environmental stewardship.

You have no idea at all what we are talking about.


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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
Oct 23, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

WDW4 wrote:
Nope, never climbed much on limestone


Should have stopped there instead of stacking another layer onto your self-inflicted embarrassment.

WDW4 wrote:
though I don't think that is immediately pertinent to the discussion at hand.


The discussion evolved (or devolved, take your pick) to the nature of climbing on sharp ass virgin limestone, so it is "pertinent". It directly contributes to the topic, which, again, has become climbing on limestone. Not looking at it, but climbing on it.

WDW4 wrote:
The main reason for that is all the limestone I've looked at


Some of the guys you're talking to in here were likely putting up LIMESTONE routes while you (and possibly me) were still shitting pea soup into our Huggies. And you have admitted to never climbing on it. Think about that for a second before you utter another response.


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