In 2004, I organized a trip to Cuba with a group of friends to climb on the amazing karst limestone formations located near the town of Viñales in the western Province of Pinar del Rio. I heard about the climbing in Cuba from my dear friend, Craig Luebben, who passed away in a climbing accident on Mount Torment in the Cascade Range in Washington on August 9, 2009. In search of virgin rock located in a beautiful sub- tropical environment, Craig convinced a few friends to travel to Cuba to explore the possibilities. Over the period of several years, Craig and his friends, Cameron Cross and Skip Harper, helped established the first ascent of many single and multi-pitch routes. For more information about the climbing in Cuba, go to CubaClimbing.com or by the guidebook (Quickdraw Publications), “Cuba Climbing” by Anibal Fernandez and Armando Menocal.
The following video shows our interactions with the local people, teaching them how to slack-line, Jim Hurst walking across a slack-line while hula-hooping, Timmy O’Neill climbing a coconut tree, and climbing one of Craig’s best routes called, “Flyin Hyena” (5.12b) with Naomi Guy. This route is six pitches long and follows an impressive line up the center of this limestone “magote”.
We managed to establish a few of our own routes on this trip to Cuba, including one that I established called, “Viva La Liberdad” (5.12b) just to the right of “Flyin Hyena”. I hope that in the near future the travel restrictions for Americans will be lifted and we can all live up to the name of this route: “Long live freedom”