21 December 2012

Climbing in El Potrero Chico, MX

For Thanksgiving 2012, THE GROUP and I headed down to El Potrero Chico, Mexico, an amazing sport climbing area 26 miles northwest of Monterrey, Mexico, just outside the small town of Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon. The canyon features hundreds of beautiful limestone routes ranging from 5.7 to 5.14. The main draw of Potrero Chico is the large number of excellent sport multi-pitch climbs, many of which go at 5.10. The most well-known route is a 23-pitch climb called Timewave Zero 

We discovered this climbing mecca because it's a favourite of my good friend Hexar, who has spent the better part of 6-months living down there. You can find more El Potrero stories on his blog here, and this post about climbing the spires at night to spin fire balls on the top is a good place to start to give you a taste of the general level of shenanigan that goes on down there (especially since I have now climbed the spires, and I found that 2-pitch 5.7/5.9 route to be one of the spiciest climbs I've done in recent memory). 

Rock Pose in front of the ROCKS!

The group consisted of 7-Seattlelites, a couple from Austin, and a dude-bro out of Boulder. We flew down on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and woke up at the crack of 10am on Thanksgiving Day to get our climb on. What? We had a late flight! We left on Sunday afternoon, but got 4 fantastic days of climbing in during our time there.

To get to most climbs, we walked about a mile from where we camped at La Posada (where we rented a fantastic and super reasonable Casita (house-ish) for 7 of us). The walk to get there is all along paved roads and takes you through an area that feels like a long-since-abandoned state park.

The "Hike" to climb

As mentioned, some of the routes are SUPER long! One classic route takes you along the ridge below:


One of the best parts of climbing down there is the community of people who camp. El Potrero attracts sport climbing enthusiasts from all over the globe, many of whom stay in La Posada. I met people from Germany, Canada, 'Merica (of course), Switzerland, and Chile. On Thanksgiving Night, most everyone opted to eat at the La Posada restuarant, where they whipped up a surprisingly authentic and definitely delicous traditional Thanksgiving meal. Even Grandpa Max was impressed, and he's a picky eater!

Traditional Thanksgiving Fare (plus a Caguamo [giant beer])

After dinner, everyone adjourned to the fire pit, where we built a raging inferno and chatted about, what else? Climbing!

The following three days in El Potrero were fantastico! More to come, but I'll leave you with these scenic shots that should be drool inducing (if you like rocks, that is).

p.s. I pre-wrote this post to publish on 12/21/12....so if you're an alien and the human race got wiped out because of the stupid Mayan's....learn from this blog and take up climbing. You're welcome.

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