Elevation: 1,800 ft
GPS: 25.949, -100.477 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 1,151,699 total · 6,822/month
Shared By: Orphaned User on Jan 20, 2007 · Updates
Admins: Hank Caylor, MAKB, Ricardo Orozco, Rudy Peckham

Description

El Potrero Chico (the "little corral") is a sport-climbing paradise, with limestone routes up to 20 pitches in length. The geography of the area is similar to west Texas and southern New Mexico -- arid Chihuahuan desert.

Development of the area began in the late 80's by the likes of Jeff Jackson, Alex Catlin, Kevin Gallagher, Hank Caylor, Tony Faucett, Rick Watson, Craig McCudden, Curtis Mai, Todd McCray, Ed Wright, Dane Bass, and a host of Austin climbers. But it was Kurt "The General" Smith and Elaina Arenz that really put the place on the map by the late '90s.

The climbing is about a ten-minute walk up the road from the accommodations. Pretty much everything is bolted, but some may opt for a light supplemental trad rack. Fifteen or so quickdraws and one (sometimes two) 70-meter ropes is adequate for most everything. Bring extra draws if linking pitches.

So all you need to bring climbing is some sunscreen, hat and a little water. It was eighty degrees last February. I would also bring some warm weather clothes as well. It can get chilly if a storm or clouds roll in. Many of the climbs are right off the road or a short five-minute approach. Many of the climbs are ten pitches or more in length which makes for a really fun day. There are enough classic climbs in the Potrero area to keep you busy for a good week to ten-day vacation, unless you are Michael Reardon. The bolts are generally good and runouts are scarce. Most belays are well bolted. There are also two spires that you can do a Tyrolean traverse between for some spicy action. The rock is limestone, but much more solid than in Thailand and the biggest fear is falling into a cactus.

On your day(s) off there are some really fun things to do. The town of Hidalgo is a mile walk or five minutes by car down the hill from the climbing ranches and has a central market twice a week where you can do your food shopping as well as pick up all sorts of stuff from T-shirts to CDs. It is like being at the fair. Hidalgo also has a grocery store and cafe right beside each other. Ask someone at the climbing ranch to help you find them.

Getting There

El Potrero Chico is located in the north-eastern state of Nuevo León, roughly 25 miles northwest of the city of Monterrey (greater area population ~ 3 million). If traveling by air, fly to Monterrey and take a taxi or bus from there to the small town of Hidalgo (population ~ 20,000). The climbing area is located about 2 miles outside of town. A taxi from the airport will cost about $50-60 USD, and many of the accommodations will arrange a car to meet you and take you directly there for $50-80 USD with a grocery stop in Hidalgo. Many of the local climbers also do airport runs and are bilingual and knowledgeable which really helps you get your bearings around town and in the canyon.  If renting a car, be aware that many of the agencies will not accept your US credit card coverages and mandate you purchase a local policy.  As of 18 Feb 2019, a Nissan X trail for 8 days with insurance was 160 USD.

If driving from the U.S., cross the border at Laredo, Texas. It's about a 3-hour drive from here on reasonably good toll roads. It is best to fuel up in the US (cheaper gas) and get down to EPC without stopping.

Accommodations

Rancho el Sendero
An awesome new camping area with two houses for rent and the area's first and only hostel. A few blocks further from the climbing but a much more quiet and peaceful environment. Incredible views of the mountain as well as the town. Owned by the friendliest people in Hidalgo. Don't miss the Friday night dinner and bonfire which includes the best food in town.

Homero's
Homero's Ranch is the original climber's hangout in Potrero since 1989 and a great option for camping and rooms. It has a nice, big shared kitchen, with a new restaurant and a bit of a lounge around, making it a good place to hang out on chilly nights. Camping is 60-80 peso/day depending on length of stay and they also now have wi-fi.

Homero has a 4-bedroom, 1.5-bath house that he rents out for $110/night (in Feb. 2007). Fully equipped kitchen. Great for a group. Homero Jr. is now the man in charge and he's a solid guy.
Our El Potrero casa at Homero's.

Quinta La Pagoda
La Pagoda is a large establishment but remains quiet during the climbing season (but it's 3 pools look nice for the summer). Camping for $5, and basic rooms for $20 (bring your own towels and TP). There's a restaurant, but closed for most of the winter. La Pagoda is the closest place to the climbing. A kitchen, fridge, and cooking utensils are available for common use, but aren't quite as nice as those at Posada's.

La Posada
La Posada is the deluxe camping. It's by far the most expensive, but a great place to meet people. Camping is $8 per night and rooms (about $25) are nice and the above website covers costs per night and much more although many of the things described are no longer available (massage, horses, yoga, etc.). Offers a full kitchen with utensils, gas burners and refrigeration which can sometimes get crowded. I would recommend taking a large tub with lid to keep your food in. There is also a restaurant on site that serves food and smooth tequila as well as other alcoholic libations. Top shelve tequila was $1.00 for a gigantic shot. Posada also has two (mens & womens) bathrooms.

Cueva De Jabali
A two room house and a small campground area with wifi located at the trailhead to Plutonia. Smaller than the other campgrounds offering a little more privacy.

El Chalet - One of the coolest places you can stay. Beautiful views. - martimar020660@hotmail.com

Estancia San Josehttp://potrerochicoestanciasanjose.business.site/
Estancia San Jose is a casitas-type of staying. These casitas are the perfect place to stay in at Protero Chico . Near to climb walls, but not too close. You can stay out of crowded. Their houses have two bedrooms and four beds, bathrooms, fire place with free wood, living room and full equipped kitchen. It's close to restaurants and to the town, if you want to go supermarket. They have free parking if you drive on your own. Prices start at $50/night for 1-2 people and $80/night for 3-4 people. They have two housese so price can vary depending on the house you book. The biggest house can house more people if needed. They can also shuttle you from/to the airport.

Restaurants

El Búho Cafe
El Búho (The Owl) is an great little cafe in town and an awesome resource for anything you might need while in Potrero (like homemade maps of town). They're located right across the main street from the "Mexicana" grocery store. They have fantastic coffee, roasted and brewed fresh in house, as well as some snacks and drinks. Its a great place to hang out on a rest day or in the evenings. They also have an extensive library and wonderful staff!

Face Burger
Get a burger the size of your face from the kitchen of a little old lady in town. Costs about twice as much as your average meal in Hidalgo and is about twice the size. Come hungry!

Bagga Pizzapasta
Italian. Perhaps the nicest food in town. More expensive than the rest, but really good pizza and pasta. Can also be ordered by phone. +52 81 131 1165

Guide Services

Potrero Chico Climbing Guides - 18 Years experience in Potrero Chico offering multi pitch guide services, self rescue course and gear beta.

El Potrero Chico Guides - Guided climbs and instruction from an AMGA Certified Rock Guide. Book A Trip Online

Climb Potrero Mountain Guides - Offering guided climbs, and private instruction by AMGA certified instructors

582 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: El Potrero Chico Change
Type:  to 
Quality:
Pitches:
Sort by:   then:
 

Classic Climbing Routes at El Potrero Chico

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 154
Dead Man Walking
Trad, Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 242
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Sport 7 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 226
Snott Girlz
Sport 7 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 199
Pitch Black
Sport 6 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 329
Space Boyz
Sport 11 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 128
Off The Couch
Sport 7 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 233
Two Pumped Chump
Sport 2 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 106
Gringo Disco
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 153
El Sendero Diablo (The Devil's P…
Sport 6 pitches
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 107
Pangea
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 180
Don Quixote
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 316
Time Wave Zero
Sport 23 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 105
El Balota
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 83
Fear of Flying
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 77
Inglorious Bastards
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Dead Man Walking Dihedrals
 154
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Sport
Treasure of the Sierra Madre Mota Wall
 242
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport 7 pitches
Snott Girlz Mota Wall
 226
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport 7 pitches
Pitch Black Conundrums
 199
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport 6 pitches
Space Boyz La Selva (Jungle Wall)
 329
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport 11 pitches
Off The Couch El Toro (The Fr… > Zapatista Wall
 128
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport 7 pitches
Two Pumped Chump Mota Wall
 233
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport 2 pitches
Gringo Disco Central Scrutinizer
 106
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
El Sendero Diablo (The Devi… Outrage Wall
 153
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport 6 pitches
Pangea Las Agujas (The Spires)
 107
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
Don Quixote Virgin Canyon > Lower Virgin
 180
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Time Wave Zero Timewave Buttress
 316
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport 23 pitches
El Balota Virgin Canyon > Lower Virgin
 105
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Fear of Flying Las Estrellas C… > Club Mex Wall
 83
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Inglorious Bastards TNT Wall
 77
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in El Potrero Chico »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Photos