"C u b a    L i b r e",  11d,  160'

* See the MAP PAGE for locations

'Cuba Libre', also the namesake of a very popular, mind-bending Cuban drink, is climbing on 'frozen' flowstone drippings in its ultimate form, a triple decker topped off with a cherry of a roof some 200+ feet off the deck.  Try this one on for a real rush and take 2 ropes.  It is found on the west side of Craig1j.jpg (22870 bytes)the Vinales road about 100 yards uphill (south) from the El Palanque Taverna.  The first pitch is recreational 9, the second pitch is 10b/c because of a dicey traverse, while the third pitch is one incredible offwidth - jamcrack roof extending about 25 feet up and out at a 35 degree angle.  There are some 'cut loose' moves that must be negotiated in order to make it all the way out this crack.  Be prepared for some rather gymnastic movements in a very exposed position!!   *Set up for a 160' foot lower by your belayer!  Think about this BEFORE you climb this route!  *CAUTION:  it is imperative that your belayer know how to pass a knot thru their belay device in order to get you all the way down!  Double ring anchors are found at the end of each pitch. The shot (at right) is Luebben starting to crank up the difficult offwidth roof, third pitch.  (Luebben, Harper and Bracksieck, '98).


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The  "E l    P a l a n q u e   W a l l"

( 6 climbs ) 



If one were standing near the entrance to the El Palanque Cavern and looking back towards the main road (ie looking roughly east), you would be looking at the Sierra De Guasasa Mogote and directly at the El Palanque Wall.  We took an entire day to clear out the jungle-like growth next to the wall, so the base of the routes would be readily accessible.  Each route is

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one pitch, roughly 60 - 70 feet in height, and can be rapped with a standard 50 meter rope from top anchors.  A 'shelf' underlies the wall above that must be climbed ... essentially the routes begin at the base of this 15 to 25 foot high 'shelf'.  The topo shows the routes on the wall left to right.

  1.) Friendship, 10b, 11 bolts (joins Confiscado at the 6th bolt), (Harper, Bracksieck, '98)

 2.) Confiscado, 11a/b, 10 bolts (Leubben, Harper, Bracksieck, '98

3.) Allez-Allez-Allez, 11a, 6 bolts (Luebben, Harper, Eschazabel, '98)

4.)  La Kirenia, 11b/c, 12 bolts (Alvarez and Pinelo, '99)

5.) Mi Amore, 10c/d, 5 bolts with trad pro below the shelf, (Luebben, '98)

6.) Classica, 10c, *NOTE: TRAD - full rack to 4".  (Luebben, '98) 

Descent:  Double Fixe Ring rap anchors (indicated by asterisks) are at the tops of the routes except #6 which has one ring and a thread.  The first shot below is Viti "pulling down" on Allez, the second is a topo of the El Palanque Wall, and the third is a shot of yours truly doing early work on Confiscado in 1998.  (Thanks to Craig Luebben for the two photos shown here.) 

            1.)  Viti.jpg (56623 bytes)          2.)  ElPalWal.jpg (33939 bytes)         3.) ElPalan1.jpg (62552 bytes)


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" The   F l y i n'    H y e n a    W a l l "

 ( 4 original climbs, more now )

This superb, huge wall is located on the north wall of the Sierra de Ancon Mogote about 2.5 miles past the El Palanque Taverna in a large, 300 foot high cathedral-like cavity.  There is a rather primitive lumber yard at its base.  Super climbs are located here and it's always in the shade!  *NOTE:  Since these routes went in, there has been considerable new development here.  It is in the area now called 'La Costenera'.  This is well detailed in the new guidebook "CUBA CLIMBING" cited elsewhere.



1.)  Flyin' Hyena (A) has 5 pitches, each with a bolted belay.  Pitch one (5.8) is trad and has one bolt neHyenaW.jpg (35311 bytes)ar the belay.  Pitch 2 (5.8) has 6 bolts and the rap out is 40 meters from here.  Pitch 3 (11b) has 7 bolts and it's 60 meters to the ground from the P3 belay.  Pitch 4 (11d/12a) has 7 bolts and pitch 5 (11) has 8 bolts.   Pitches 1 and 2, as well as pitches 4 and 5, can be linked, although you are cautioned to think this through very completely before attempting it.

2.)  Have a Cigar (B) has four pitches, 12c/d, 11, and 11c, bolted.

3.)  Pablo's Squirm Fest (C) has three pitches, mostly 10c/d with some more difficult moves near the finish, bolted.

4.)  Wish You Were Here (D) has three pitches, mostly 10 c/d, bottom two are bolted  and top pitch is 'mixed' 5.11.


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Today (2010) the climbing scene in Cuba has matured from its infancy in '97 and '98 when we were first discovering how vast the potential was.  There are now literally hundreds of routes and a new guidebook is out for the Vinales Valley.  Climbers from America and many foreign countries are traveling to Cuba for the novel climbing adventures found here, as well as the very unique cultural experience.  It is extremely gratifying to see how much can be accomplished when others take hold of original dreams, drive, energy and spirit and carry them forward with enthusiasm.  There is no doubt it has benefited the sport of climbing in Cuba and many Cubans as well.  To find details of how far the sport of climbing has progressed in Cuba, for more current topos and beta, travel and GUIDEBOOK information and more, go to






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