Normally around November I'm preparing for the cold winter season. During this time there's usually a lot of planning involved as there are many options for climbing and travel. This year was no different and the annual Roc Trip in Mexico was part of the plan.
Jon Cardwell at the Roc Trip Mexico!
This was the first official Roc Trip I have attended so when I boarded the plane on the 29th of October I was extremely excited. The event ran smoothly, starting out in the massive cave of El Chonta and ending up in Jilotopec. The main organizer Alejandro and many others made sure that we saw the best parts of the climbing and that everyone was taken care of. The hospitality was nice and ended up creating a great scenario for climbing.
Jilotopec was the main attraction. The main crag is a massive wall, about 150 feet tall in the center. The locals equipped all the routes with draws and even bolted a few projects- they were all super psyched to see foreign climbers at their crag. "Venga Guea" pronounced 'way' they would say. For five days we attempted the lines in the ever changing climate, from bitter cold to scorching hot. Eventually, one by one, they were sent. The vibe was great. Locals, even non climbers, would show up at the wall just to watch and cheer on the climbers. For me, this is what its all about, sharing climbing and seeing people psyched. The Challenge was there as well.
I quickly found something to try. One of the many ultimate routes, Venus de Jilo, which is rated 5.14a. I traded burns on it with French climbers Melissa Le Neve and Enzo Oddo and eventually gained enough endurance to send the route. Melissa and Enzo were very close, both giving impressive attempts on the last day, unfortunately, time was limited. Other climbers down the wall were sending as well. Melissa flashed a 13c called Mas si Osare. Nina Caprez made impressive ascents of Balltunnich 13d and Mas si Osare. French climber Gerome Pouvreau finished the main ultimate route just after an impressive first ascent by Mickey Fiselier. The end result could be Mexico's hardest Las Porosas 14b or c?? Gerome also sent the 50 meter 14a Requiem along with Daniel Woods. Steve McClure started trying a project a bit further up the wall. The line is amazing, slightly overhanging and about 60 feet long. The style is much different than the other routes on the wall and it seemed to fit Steve well. After just a few attempts he completed the first ascent. Cruz Diablo 5.14c.
In the end, the event was very satisfying. As always, when visiting foreign countries it's great to meet the local people and learn from their vision of climbing and life. I always find it extremely positive. Fresh with new psyche, the crew parted from Mexico back to Colorado, France, India, Switzerland, England. November never really changes, winter is still upon us yet with experiences like the Mexico Roc Trip it reminds me that traveling is always key for motivation.
Thanks to everyone in Mexico who helped organize the event and of course Petzl and Five Ten!
Photos from www.grimper.com