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Mexico Part 1 - El Potrero Chico - Urs Moosmuller

Mexico Part 1 - El Potrero Chico - Urs Moosmuller
Mexico Part 1 - El Potrero Chico - Urs Moosmuller
Mexico Part 1 - El Potrero Chico - Urs Moosmuller
Mexico Part 1 - El Potrero Chico - Urs Moosmuller
Mexico Part 1 - El Potrero Chico - Urs Moosmuller
April 03, 2013 - 

On Christmas day, my friend Daniel and I decided to head down into Mexico to check out the climbing in El Potrero Chico. El Potrero Chico is located right beside the small town of Hidalgo just an hours drive from Monterrey. Monterrey is one of the largest cities in Mexico and has recently been taken over by two major drug cartels and is considered one of the most dangerous.

Coming over the border was nerve racking, but surprisingly easy. We got through customs in twenty minutes which must be some kind of record, because we have heard stories of people waiting up to fourteen hours to get through. After passing through the border you drive for two hours through a completely empty flat desert and the first people we saw were the armed military personal guarding the road. They were equipped with mounted 50 Cal. machine guns on trucks and M16’s in the hands. They wore all black with Balla clavas and were quite friendly to us as we drove through several check points along the way. One guy even recognized us as climbers and was excited that we were traveling into Mexico to climb. He also said he sees a lot of climbers traveling to El Potrero from the states.

After getting off the guarded toll roads you drive down a small road on the outskirts of Monterrey and head northeast toward the northern part of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range. As you arch around the mountain range El Potrero comes into view and it is breathtaking. The climbing is located in a massive canyon between two mountains. Both sides of the canyon are covered in huge 2,000ft limestone cliffs with forests of cactuses hanging off of the cliff sides. As you reach the mouth of the canyon there are several camp areas 10 minutes from the base of the cliffs. The limestone is solid in some sections and very loose in others.

From day one I had my mind set on climbing a route called The Sick Dimension. The route is located in a separate area further up the highway just outside of a town called Mina. After meeting a lot of the local climbers I finally found someone to take me out to the cliff line. We arrived at the base and after warming up on a 12b and a 12d, it was time to try my first 14b. All the moves went quickly with the hardest move being around a V9 boulder problem. I put three tries into it and by the end of the day I nearly sent. The next day I came back and fired it first try! The rock isn’t all that great, but the climb is a pretty cool line out the left side of a small cave. After completing the hardest route in the northern part of Mexico I decided to focus on onsighting some of the other 13’s in the canyon. I surprised myself by onsighting two 13c’s! After that I got bored and my friend and I decided to head down to Mexico City to check out El Chonta and Jilotepec.

Photo credit: Luke Randall

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