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Areas in El Potrero Chico

Buzz Rock 0 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Cañon de los Lobos 5 / 29 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 34
Conundrums, The 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Dihedrals, The 2 / 10 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
El Fin de Semana (Weekend Wall) 1 / 16 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17
El Mirador 1 / 9 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
El Toro 0 / 21 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 26
Fitness Canyon 0 / 11 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
La Ola (The Wave) 0 / 12 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
La Selva (Jungle Wall) 1 / 21 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 22
Las Agujas (The Spires) 2 / 17 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 19
Las Estrellas Canyon 2 / 60 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 62
Mini Super Wall 2 / 27 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 29
Mojo Slab 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Mota Wall 3 / 61 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 63
Narnia 2 / 14 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17
Outrage Wall, The 0 / 36 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 36
Scrutinizer, The 0 / 20 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 20
Sky Top / Smurf Bowl 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Sunnyvale 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Surf Bowl, The 0 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
TNT Wall 0 / 13 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 13
Tarahumara Pass 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Timewave Buttress 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Upper Sense of Religion 0 / 28 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 28
Vatican 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Virgin Canyon 2 / 75 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 77
Wonder Wall 1 / 16 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 18

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 (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 will cost about $35US, and many of the accomodations will arrange a car to meet you and take you directly there for $40US or $45 with a grocery stop in Hidalgo. Many of the local climbers also do airport runs and are bilingual and knowledgable which really helps you get your bearings around town and in the canyon.

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

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 - Offering multi pitch guide services, self rescue course, gear beta, rest day beta, camping suggestions.

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

563 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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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
 87
Dead Man Walking
Trad, Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 218
Will the Wolf Survive?
Sport 4 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 160
Pancho Villa Rides Again
Sport 5 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 161
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Sport 7 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 131
Satori
Sport 7 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 165
Snott Girlz
Sport 7 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 113
Pitch Black
Sport 6 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 238
Space Boyz
Sport 11 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13
 93
Mugre Mugre
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 148
Two Pumped Chump
Sport 2 pitches
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 97
El Sendero Diablo (The Devil's Path)
Sport 6 pitches
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 83
Pangea
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 129
Don Quixote
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 180
Yankee Clipper
Sport 15 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 214
Time Wave Zero
Sport 23 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Dead Man Walking Dihedrals
 87
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Sport
Will the Wolf Survive? Cañon de los Lo… > Los Lobos Wall
 218
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport 4 pitches
Pancho Villa Rides Again Mota Wall
 160
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport 5 pitches
Treasure of the Sierra Madre Mota Wall
 161
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport 7 pitches
Satori El Toro > Zapatista Wall
 131
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport 7 pitches
Snott Girlz Mota Wall
 165
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport 7 pitches
Pitch Black Conundrums
 113
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport 6 pitches
Space Boyz La Selva (Jungle Wall)
 238
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport 11 pitches
Mugre Mugre Virgin Canyon > Lower Virgin
 93
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13 Sport
Two Pumped Chump Mota Wall
 148
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport 2 pitches
El Sendero Diablo (The Devi… Outrage Wall
 97
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport 6 pitches
Pangea Las Agujas (The Spires)
 83
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
Don Quixote Virgin Canyon > Lower Virgin
 129
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Yankee Clipper La Selva (Jungle Wall)
 180
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport 15 pitches
Time Wave Zero Timewave Buttress
 214
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport 23 pitches
More Classic Climbs in El Potrero Chico »

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I have been to Thailand Climbing as well as El Potrero twice. I much prefer El Potrero for climbing. My first visit was about ten years ago when Kurt Smith was putting up routes and Hormeros Climbing Ranch was the only option. My last trip to El Potrero was last year in February. I am a mid to hard 5.10 climber and there were more than enough classic climbs to keep us busy for ten days and many more that I want to go back and do.

There is also a really cool hot spring out in the middle of nowhere. E-mail me if you want directions. I have also been told that there are other hot springs in the area from a friend of mine who lived in Monterrey. Another friend told me about a few cat houses in Monterrey as well (he is a playboy). I can forward this beta if interested.

On the way to the hot spring in the middle of nowhere desert is also an abandoned mission straight out of a spaghetti western. There is a route called Crescent Moon on it which is in the guide book. If my memory serves me well, where the road splits to go to Crescent moon continue to the right which will take you to the old Spanish mission and hot springs. For more in-depth beta e-mail me. We did this route and it is a blast. It does involve a Tyrolean traverse so take two ropes. I could go on and on about El Portero. I also have compiled a list of things to take, driving directions, things you need at the border, the best border crossing to avoid long lines of trucks in Laredo and other stuff I can e-mail if you are planning on heading down that way. (i.e. Mexicans do not use sunscreen, take sunscreen or you will be searching for the local Pharmacy to get some) Jan 24, 2007
Matt Richardson
Longmont, CO
Matt Richardson   Longmont, CO  
Hmmm... not run out? Try Jungle Mountaineering -- bolting is spacy enough here that if you get a little off route, you can get really f***ed. Also, try New Ape Man or the Rattler in The Conundrums (both share the same first pitch which is described by Jeff Jackson in Mexico Rock); on The Rattler, you will find yourself well above the last bolt when you hit the crux on the second pitch.

However spacy the bolting is, the routes are generally well bolted in the important areas (The Rattler being an exception). But what do you expect on long multi-pitch sport. Somebody has got to pay for all of that hardware.

Potrero is well worth the trip down to Mexico particularly if you are from a northern clime. Winters are generally warm, but being an alpine environment, can get cold very rapidly. At the very least, bring a shell and a fleece. You won't regret it.

The first time my wife and I went, we stayed at El Ranchero -- run by Kurt Smith and another guy (can't remember his name). Nice digs, but pricey for the area. Last time I was there, it was still open but wasn't seeing much traffic. Since that first trip, we have stayed at La Posada every time -- the owners are very nice and the accommodations are good. It can get busy at certain times.

If you have the opportunity, I would recommend going down at least once around New Year's. It gets crowded, but it is loads of fun. Imagine the sound of gun fire regularly mixed with firecrackers. There used to be (don't know if the park is more regulated now) parties down in the canyon. Maybe, if you're lucky, you will be invited to dine with some of the locals in the area as they roast cabrito over an open pit. Apr 21, 2007
Bryan Howell
San Francisco, CA
Bryan Howell   San Francisco, CA
If you take a cab from Monterrey to EPC, chances are you're staying in one of the little campsites or cabin rentals at the mouth of the park. If that's the case, the crags are an easy, easy stroll. Hundreds of routes within a 20-minute walk on gravel roads, and even more if you're willing to hike a little. Some of the tougher hikes are a little bushwacky, but nothing worse than you've seen anywhere else. Just bring a little extra water for the hike.

If you want, you can stroll right up to some classic climbs, spend all day zipping up and down, then walk 15 minutes on over to Checo's for some killer quesadillas and huge bottles of Carta Blanca.

Kinda makes me wonder why I'm sitting at this desk... Sep 25, 2007
Tim Stich
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Tim Stich   Colorado Springs, Colorado
Don't forget to bring your ear plugs to sleep through the all night parties...if you plan on getting any sleep. Apr 2, 2008
kyber
Portland
kyber   Portland
killing time:
maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=… Sep 30, 2008
Mike Howard    
Mike,
Could you add this to a Climbing Guides section above:

Mountain Skills Rock Climbing Adventures
Jay Foley has been climbing, guiding and developing quality sport routes in El Portrero Chico and El Salto for the past 15 years. Nov 11, 2008
If your not looking to camp in the middle of 80% of the climbing population in the Potrero and you want quiet, shaded, clean, mellow and more mature accommodations with, undoubtedly, the nicest kitchen facilities then you want to stay at La Pagota. Posada is nice for those that like the excitement of much social interaction. Jan 24, 2009
caughtinside
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
I wouldn't compare the Potrero climbing to Thailand climbing. They're both limestone, but that's where the similarities end. Style, scene and culture are all very different. Feb 5, 2009
My husband and I and two of our friends just returned from our first trip to El Potrero Chico. Wow! It is one of the most amazing places I've been on this beautiful planet of ours. We were not expecting so much and were delighted with the rock, the scenery, the culture, the location, the water, the weather, the people,.... We had a great time and are already planning our next trip. We stayed at "la Cabaña" (For info -- email Margarita: martimar020660@hotmail.com; or Ariel & Chely: arielpenavillarreal@yahoo.com.mx). It is a one room cabin with a loft just inside the canyon behind the Spires. It was plenty of room for the 4 of us. They are in the process of adding on two additional small studios (1-2 person). It is rustic, but we are seasoned camper/travelers and LOVED it. Sitting at the table out on our deck eating our breakfast, we had the Mota Wall to the east of us, and Time Wave Zero towering over us to the southwest. It was really amazing. Quiet. Our own sanctuary. The owners (Ariel & Chely) took great care of us and were a big part of the beauty of our journey. Mar 16, 2009
Bryan Howell
San Francisco, CA
Bryan Howell   San Francisco, CA
Hey Brian,

There's really a good variety of climbing. Most of the stuff I've climbed there was vertical or near-vertical, with lots of edges and crimps. The rock is grippy, but not painfully sharp. I remember a few pockety routes, but my climbing partner had a nice little movie-moment with a HUGE millipede on one of them, and I may have shied away from sticking my fingers into any strange holes after that. (Which is probably good advice for every area of life, really...)

Others may have fresher memories than me since it's been a couple years since I've been there, but really, the place has so much stuff to climb that I can't imagine any sport climber going there and not finding enough to make them happy.

I don't know about slabs, though. Anyone else know? Aug 28, 2009
WAGbag
Denver, CO
WAGbag   Denver, CO
Since it's time for many people (including myself) to start making plans for a trip to Potrero I thought I would try to help the climbs a little. There are a few people that have poured tons of money and time into the climbs out there so a few donations can go a long way:

1. Old rope. If you're nearing the end of a rope, consider leaving it at the end of the trip. There are several routes that could use a new fixed line (base of Celestial Omnibus, Time Wave Zero (badly), Land of the Free to name a few). Please tie them up or hand to any of the people mentioned below. Static rope is also welcome...

2. Bolts/Hangers. I would suggest donating according to the climbing you are there for:
Magic Ed - has bolted many many routes focusing mostly on multi-pitch routes below 5.11a
Dane Bass - Also has put up a significant amount of routes mostly inside the canyon (i.e. not in Mota or Outrage), mostly single pitch, mostly below 5.11.
For the harder single pitch or a few hard multi pitch the regular crowd down there to donate to would be Simeon and Rick, Ralph Vega, Ulrich, maybe Alex. If you don't know these people... just ask around. There are certainly others that have bolted but these are the ones I know.

3. Anchors. All routes have chains and most are in good shape. For popular routes (to save time and reduce the chance of accidents) consider getting stainless biners and quick links from a place like Fixe. I just got a few of these winch hooks and a bunch of quick links for my local crags.
gradyshardware.com/Seachoic…
Either install yourself after you talk to one of the above people if you know what you are doing, or just donate to the above people.

I spent quite a bit of time there, did some trail maintenance, helped bolt a few routes and helped lug equipment to where others were bolting. If you have a free moment please do the same.

To help with the type of climbing:
Virgin: lower angle to verticle gray limestone with bulleted pockets (sharp). Shade most of day.
Front side: Some overhang and a few tufas. Slab and edges above. Shade all day.
Estrellas: Easier slab down low to vertical with crimps up higher in the blonde limestone. Morning and late afternoon shade up high.
Mini Super: Pockets
Jungle: Gray limestone with lots of cactus
Mota: Pockets. 5-eleven heaven.
Pride/Mileski: Harder routes of vertical to slightly overhanging edges and a few pockets. Shade till 10:30 or 11:30
Outrage: Pockets, edges, tufas
Surf: Tufas - the five most overhung routes in Potrero. Shade after 1:00

Thanks! Sep 8, 2009
manuel rangel
Arizona
manuel rangel   Arizona
Potrero Chico just had massive rockfall today. The building at the base of the wall is destroyed and the watchman at the gate escaped the rockfall. The area is closed until further notice. Contact Potreroed for more info, he posted this at rockclimbing.com

You can skip crossing at Juarez and use an adjacent area, it would help save time.

Unless you were caught in a cross fire or were buying mass quantities of drugs or were carrying weapons, I don't think you'd have to worry about driving through Juarez.
Dec 1, 2009
The only area affected was around the base of the Jungle Wall(the routes themselves are OK). The area will remain closed for a while but should be re-opened before long. The good that will come from this is that the local government now realizes we were serious when we told them it would be foolish to develop a picnicking area below this wall. All that work they did last year (or rather, what's left of it)will now be removed. Dec 8, 2009
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
Some updates/corrections on the page to consider:
- Not everything is bolted... that statement in Paragraph 3 is a little overdone.
- While certainly you can just bring draws and climb a few weeks, there are plenty of trad lines if that is what you have in mind, including 1000' multi-pitch 5.11 routes.
- Winter weather can vary greatly, while it indeed CAN be 80 deg C, there was not a single day in 10 where I felt shorts or short sleaves were the best. Average daily highs were in the 60's, so a beach it is not. Plan for warm clothes too, and even warmer blankets. Comforters were trading at un ultra-premium between stayers at the Posada (even in the rooms) in Dec 2009.
- The gate has a sign outside explaining hte use fees for the park, but nobody collects them for climbers, or from anyone else that we saw. Entrance appears to be free.
- The nearest good grocery, offering a butcher, produce section, dairy, etc... is down the hill from the camping about 2 miles and on the left, about 3 blocks into where town really starts (where the road flattens out) and the people there are pretty climber-friendly.
- Posadas can fill up. They have limited rooms and also limited camping, to keep the kitchen and such from getting over-run. Make reservations. Also, note that while this page says that they keep the restrooms stocked with TP, they do not. Nobody does. B.Y.O.
- Meals and drinks have gone up. Tequilla is 20 pesos + and beers are $2 for the large 'caguamma' bottles. Meals at Posada and Checo's are $5+, and while these individual dishes may be tasty, they are not necessarily going to fill you up completely if you are a bigger person and have not had a good lunch. Food is no longer dirt cheap at E.P.C. Plan on spending a little more if you are not going to cook.
- Tami's Cafe is closed. The owner is converting it to a Casita (lodging) and Tami was moved out. Dec 31, 2009
We were there when the rock fall happend last month. We were staying at Ariel & Chely's cabin in the canyon and it had been raining hard and steady all night. It was early morning when the slide happened and the sound was amazing -- echoing through the canyon. The echo made it sound much larger (and closer) than it was. We went out later to investigate and saw a few of the rocks that had come down by the gate & hit the metal roof in the picknick area. Later that day we saw Ariel & Chely (they live in town, Hidalgo) and told them about the rocks. They said that it is not the first time. Just so people know, it is the Jungle Wall specifically that will sometimes have rocks come down when it rains hard. That's not the wall you want to be on in the rain. Not that I would want to climb in the rain anyway. Everywhere else was good. We're hoping to get back in March... just looking at tickets now. :) Jan 14, 2010
greg stirling steele
santa fe -taos
greg stirling steele   santa fe -taos
I have been climbing n potrero since 1992 and if your climbing hard routes i would advise climbing all of curt smiths routes,his back ground is many years of california big walls therefore you can really tell the difference in the quality and beauty of his work compared to others, even though people have negative things to say of his personality his routes are superior to the others. greg stirling steele Jan 18, 2010
Billy Danger
Asheville, NC
Billy Danger   Asheville, NC
If you're flying into/out of Monterrey or will be spending a night in the city, I recommend staying at La Casa del Barrio. It's right downtown, close to the bars, is relatively cheap ($20/night), and was clean and relaxing. Here's what I have for info:

Diego do Montemayor 1221 sur
Monterrey Centro Barrio Antiguo
C.P. 64000 Monterrey N.L. Mexico
www.lacasadelbarrio.com.mx lacasadelbbarrio@gmail.com
Tel: (81) 8344 1800

If you go out to the bars, brace yourself! Those Mexicanos know how to get down. Mar 8, 2010
amps  
Hello to all, I just want to let know to everybody that wants come to Potrero that the place in the which was Tami`s cafe is available for rent and campsite with really cheap rates and facilities like transportation to the market, to the town,etc laundry, etc etc... contact alybridge@gmail.com for more information Jun 28, 2010
amps  
I dunno why people doesn`t come down to Mexico on this season (spring and summer) the weather is warm enough and we have nice shade on all the walls just before 2:30pm and after 4:00pm we have light till 8:30pm and the outrage is beauty the whole day! Jun 28, 2010
Dave Coleman
Boulder, CO
Dave Coleman   Boulder, CO
I just got back from another trip to EPC, what a great place! I took the opportunity to add some updates to potrerochico.org/ for those who are looking for latest info. Dec 4, 2011
Curt MacNeill
Boulder, CO
Curt MacNeill   Boulder, CO
This is a response to the many safety questions asked about the area. El Portero is totally safe. It has been a world class climbing destination and will be for many years to come. I met very friendly people from all over the world when I was there last year. The town of Hidalgo is super safe and La Posado is a super rad place to stay and chill. I don't think their was anyone staying at Posada's that did not climb. I drove down from Boulder, Colorado and did the infamous border crossing in Nuevo Leon. It was smooth sailing... I honestly had more hassle in the US by border patrol agents than I did anywhere in Mexico. I would strongly recommend taking the paid highway as it is well maintained and patrolled by the mexican military. If you see guys with machine guns and army tanks(which you probably will)don't be alarmed, they are there to protect you against the drug cartels. I talked with many different climbing parties last year and everyone had the same thing to say. I have heard that Monteray can be unsafe but it can easily be avoided if your driving in from Texas. I more or less crossed the border in Nuevo Leon, spent a half hour or so at the government offices(safe) getting the mandatory green cards and vehicle tags. From here, you leave and get on the highway. To me, it was no different then driving on a highway in Texas or New Mexico. In fact it was a great deal better. Your only on the highway for about 2 hours of driving and then you turn off onto a road that takes you to the town of Hidalgo and El Potrero. As soon as you leave the highway you will find that it gets really quite really quick. Hidalgo I would describe as a quaint town just on the outskirts of the park. Perfectly safe for grocery shopping, hanging out on your rest day, etc. All of the people were very nice. My main advice would be to NOT drive a flashy car(especially SUV's) and I would bring plenty of pesos from the Border. There were alot of places in this area and town that did not take any form of credit cards, even visa. And I had some issues with getting money from atm machines. So I would recommend bringing plenty of cash down when you go and just keep it with you in your climbing pack...Last year I was a bit nervous to go on my 10 day trip because I like everyone else heard about all the violence going on in the country. Being there proved this to be totally innacurate. This year I am going for a month and will be totally relaxed since I know how safe Potrero really is. Hope this helps. I have been on alot of awesome vacations in my life and I can honestly say that my first trip to Potrero was one of the BEST. It was really warm mid-winter, the food is awesome, there are routes of every style and grade, the local tequila(El Compadre $10 bottles) is wickedly smooth and its just a super fun place to just hang. It is VERY mellow. Unlike most classic climbing destinations, there was absloutely no scene. The downside to this is that Portero lacks a high amount of climbs 5.13a or harder. The few 5.13's that I do know of and got on are truly world class and if you want harder/more overhanging routes go to El Salto which is only 3 hours a way. I haven't been but am pretty excited to check it out this year. Oh yeah, one last thing. Make sure you do Celestial Omnibus. I went with a crew of very solid and well traveled climbers who have been just about everywhere. This route to date is my favorite climb ANYWHERE and many other climbers felt the same! You will understand why when you do it. Enjoy!! Feb 9, 2012
C Miller   CA  
vimeo.com/48468088 Dec 2, 2012
Toby960  
In December 2012 i left Potrero a week before the shootings...i couldnt have been more diffrent from the violence that occured. Such love and good times:

theloveaffairwithgravity.bl…

Check it out for info and a good story...

Toby May 6, 2013
Bierson  
Here is a little blog post on a recent quick trip to El Potrero Chico. Biersons El Potrero Chico Jan 11, 2014
Shahmeer
Moab, UT
Shahmeer   Moab, UT
Anyone looking to get from the Monterrey airport to Potrero for $8 instead of $40:

1. When you exit the international arrival area, go to the Autobuses del Norte kiosk in the terminal. Ask for "un boleto hasta el central de autobus." It costs 65 pesos ($5 as of 03/2014) and leaves every hour on the hour. The bus will drop you off at the Monterrey bus station.

2. Walk down into the tunnel inside the station until you reach all the kiosks. Walk to the one on the far end closest to the wall. Ask for "un boleto hasta Hidalgo." It costs 30 pesos ($2.50). Walk back to where the first bus dropped you off and board the bus to Hidalgo (leaves often).

3. Walk southwest through Hidaglo until you reach the road to Potrero. There are signs everywhere and locals are really helpful, even if you don't speak Spanish. I walked there alone at 10 PM and never felt unsafe. Takes about an hour to walk from the Hidalgo station to La Posada.

Just reverse everything to get back to the airport. Tickets to the airport from the Monterrey bus station are sold at the Autobuses del Norte kiosk, the furthest one on the right. Mar 29, 2014
Jonathan Steitzer
West Lebanon, NH
Jonathan Steitzer   West Lebanon, NH  
The water at La Posada at least is totally fine. Everyone fills their water bottles from the tap. Dec 28, 2014
My name is Frank Madden and I've been living in Hidalgo the past several months and am leaving in about a month. My plan is to be back next season again around the November time frame to stay until the job is done. My goal is to finish a brand new guidebook for the Potrero Chico area. This guidebook will include all crags in Potrero as well as Culo de Gato and the Crescent Moon Buttress. Any information that any bolters or climbers has on the route information would be greatly appreciated. As of right now I am taking it upon myself to climb all the routes to collect proper and accurate information. Please contact me if you are bolting new routes and would like to get the information into the latest guidebook! Hopefully between my work this season and next season I will be able to get a guidebook to print. All help is super appreciated. Feb 8, 2015
Hey all! I'm heading to EPC in January for the first time and I'm super stoked! I do have a couple of questions, though.

1. I'm going solo - will I have a hard time finding partners?
2. Will La Posada allow camping in my van?
3. I will be arriving mid-late January - should I make recommendations? Again, I'll be camping in my van.
4. Is there a website or something outlining everything we need regarding this trip (e.g. getting car insurance, etc)?

Thanks! Dec 15, 2015
Just a heads up to everyone coming down this season to El Potrero Chico, check out this page for up to date information on the area.

Potrero Chico Rock Climbing Facebook Group

Here you can find more information on where to stay, how to get there, climbing partners, ride shares and everything else in between. Hope to see you all here! Dec 31, 2015
Pink Thunder
Sacramento, CA
Pink Thunder   Sacramento, CA
Directions to both San Joaquin and Azufrosa Hot Springs from Hidalgo:

1. If you get lost, ask locals for "Las Aguas Termales." San Joaquin is and Azufrosa are pretty much right next to each other; if you find one, it'll be really easy to find the other. The hot springs is roughly 36 miles from Hidalgo.

2. Start from the big Pem Ex next to the arching Hidalgo sign just off of highway 53. Go north towards Mina and Monclova. Pass Mina, staying right at a fork that could take you either to Mina or towards Monclova. After you pass Mina, there will be a left turn with a sign pointing towards Icamole, before a closed down old Pem Ex station that is also on the left. Take a left here, about 13 miles from the Pem Ex in Hidalgo.

3. Stay on the paved road all the way through Icamole, ignoring forks. One landmark on the way is La Hacienda Del Muerto, an old Spanish mission ruin that you'll pass on the left. Keep driving, passing a left turn (if you take this wrong left turn, you'll see the Oasis en el Deserto eventually, which means you should turn around and go back).

4. When you get to Icamole, eventually you'll hit a dead end and have to turn right to stay on the paved road. Keep following that for another 15 or 16 miles, roughly. The road is covered in potholes all the way to the hot springs, so be careful.

5. Eventually, you'll see a blue sign on the right pointing left at a fork that says "San Joaquin Aguas Termales." Stay left, and then take another left after a minute or so at an obvious gate. That's the San Joaquin Hot Springs. It's closed on Monday, but open every other day of the week.

6. To get to La Azufrosa Aguas Termales, take the same left at the fork as for San Joaquin, but don't turn in at the gate. Keep going straight; the road turns into dirt with a lot of rocks, so go slow. Weave your way through a small rural town, and after a few minutes, Azufrosa will be on the right. It's cheaper and smaller than San Joaquin, but still feels really damn good.

7. When returning to Hidalgo, beware of a sign in Icamole that points to the right and says to follow that to go to Monterrey. Go straight, and just reverse the rest of the directions. Jan 27, 2016
Pink Thunder
Sacramento, CA
Pink Thunder   Sacramento, CA
Both climbing books have mistakes and incorrect bolt counts. I'd recommend bringing an extra two or three draws on pretty much every route, especially the multipitch ones. Jan 27, 2016
Jay Morse
Hooksett, New Hampshire
Jay Morse   Hooksett, New Hampshire
I would just like to say that I STRONGLY disagree with the description basically saying that you will be fine with a 60 meter rope. You are going to make your planning a whole lot tougher to spend all the time figuring out what routes you can do with a 60 (Among the classics it is DEFINITELY not true that 90% can be done just fine with a 60... Probably closer to the opposite. The guidebooks I saw including Rakkup assume you have a 70 and will not specifically state that a 70 is needed). You will be guaranteeing yourself some sketchy rappelling even if you do stick to those climbs that could be done with a 60. By and large, this place is established for 70 meter ropes. Almost everyone down there uses a 70. It is well worth your effort to procure yourself a 70m rope before you come down. A strong middle mark or bipattern is also highly recommended as some pitches are rope stretchers even for a 70 and the middle mark will make your rappels go much faster and smoother (You will be doing a lot of rappelling).

I also HIGHLY recommend an autoblocking rappel system. You are almost certainly going to have to deal with a few stuck ropes, and on almost every rappel will need to stop at parts and untangle your rope from shrubs, flakes, cacti etc. I was psyched to be rappelling with my Mammut Smart Alpine to go hands-free when needed.

The Rakkup guide is excellent by the way, and in my opinion is the way to go.

This place is heaven on Earth in the Winter. Enjoy! Jan 21, 2017
Seth Hogan
Frisco, Co
Seth Hogan   Frisco, Co
This season I saw, on two separate occasions, mini-fridge to washing machine blocks come down from the jungle wall caused by climbers. Great place for a helmet as well as never climbing beneath another party. I also cannot recall a single day of climbing where I did not see baseball sized rocks being sent down. Largely at Jungle wall, Estrellas, Los Lobos and Mota wall are all contenders for serious rock fall. Jan 28, 2017
Anders
Berkeley
Anders   Berkeley
Here are some things I would have liked to know before I went:
1. Weather can be uncomfortably hot any time of year. I went in February 2017 and more than half the time it was in the 90s. Check the forecast before booking I'd say.
2. The surrounding area is not beautiful. Town is a complete dump and if you're an American or first world resident, it appears rather bleak which I found quite depressing. I also found it difficult to find good food. There are so-called farmers' markets twice a week but the quality was poor and I felt malnourished the whole time I was there.
3. It is not a very peaceful place. I arrived on a Sunday after taking an overnight flight, so I was very tired. As it happened I arrived on Sunday which is party time in an around the entrance to the park which was near enough to my campground to be completely unbearable. As it turned out though, it's loud EVERY day, Sunday is just the loudest of them. Additionally I found all the noise in the canyon to be very off putting. Punk local kids were often there in the mornings and early afternoons blaring loud music, smoking cigarettes and breaking bottles on the walkways for fun.
4. Not all campgrounds are created equal. I stayed at Quinta la Pagoda which was very dumpy and dirty. Most days I did not get a hot water shower. The water in the kitchen sink worked only sometimes. The kitchen was not a nice place to be anyway.

In spite of it all, I would still go back. The rock is extraordinary and there's a lot I keep one occupied. The climbing culture and community is very strong thankfully so it's easy to meet cool and like minded people. And did find that the overall shitiness of the place became less as I got used to it. Just would have been nice to have proper expectations! Mar 1, 2017
Charles Perry
Fort Collins
Charles Perry   Fort Collins
Wow. Just back from EPC after years gone. Posadas just opened their new pool, most excellent! Also worth noting is the new grocery store on the main highway. Has most items a normal store has as well as an ATM. Also went back to the hot springs. Take the highway just past Mina, you will see the first paved road to the left just before the Pemix station. It has a picture of the church. The entire road to the San Joaquin hot springs elpotrerochicoguides.com/sa… is now paved. Ate at the restaurant there and the food was awesome and around 600 pesos for a two person spread. All and all, and as usual, great climbing and a great time!

Oh, we drove down from San Antonio. Believe it or not, you need to have the title to your car to enter the country along with registration and passport. Highly recommend taking the Colombian Bridge crossing, avoiding the uber crowded Laradeo bridge crossing that dumps you into Nuevo Laredo. Columbian crossing is in the country and is quick. On 255 there is an automatic toll. Go to the Txtag site to pay or big fine. The 85D toll road is 275 pesos and they don't take dollars. So I would bring some pesos down. 85D and is a big upgrade over taking 85. Once you get off of 85D onto 85, take a right on 40 go 3.5 miles to Monclova exit (no sign says 53 nor Hildago) take right away from Monterrey and about 20 minutes later you are in Hildago. Have a shot of tequila for me! Apr 1, 2017
nickybo
College Park, MD
nickybo   College Park, MD
Rad place. Rad climbing. Super cheap to stay/eat/travel to and from. But take care when leaving gear at the bottom of a climb. We just did Estrellita and when we got back all of our bags had been taken (I assume not by climbers or locals but by party goers in the canyon). Either take everything with you or we were told to hang stuff on the first or second bolt. Apr 19, 2017
Nate Ball
Portland, OR
Nate Ball   Portland, OR  
Most people are just passing through, and thus there is minimal stewardship. Trails are often overgrown and/or highly eroded. There is garbage scattered about which is clearly not from locals. I even saw a tree beneath Satori that served as the pre-climb surface dook location, accented with TP wads.

Also, Spanish is very helpful in communicating with your hosts, people in town, and the cashiers you will buy beer/food from. If you don't know much, just make do with what you have, or improv. Don't be a jerk and just speak in English. Also, and this may just be my pet peeve, but stop throwing words like "chica" and "amigo" into your conversation with English speakers. It doesn't make you sound savvy, it makes you sound fake.

Lastly, the homogeneity... do not expect an international community of climbers. Likely due to its proximity to the USA, and the relative lack of popularity of climbing in Mexico, the community is vastly white Americans. The distinction between this transient group, the locals profiting from it, and the rest of the community is crystal clear and doing little to change the perspective of Americans in EPC as any different from those in Cancun.

The climbing in EPC is amazing. I heard the weather is great in the shoulder seasons and there are no crowds. There is also still tons of development potential. Make sure you get in touch with Frank Madden, who is a great guy and is doing great work. Go down there with realistic expectations and some desire to be an ambassador and steward. Otherwise, the area will continue to erode, literally and figuratively. Jan 5, 2018
Nate Ball
Portland, OR
Nate Ball   Portland, OR  
I just returned from a week long New Years trip. Part of what influenced my expectations for the trip were the statements that are made about the area: how great the weather is this time of year, how good the rock is, how relaxing the area can be, etc. It could well have been because my expectations were so high, along with being unlucky, that I felt such disappointment from my time in EPC. That's not to say that it was a bad trip, but a lot of these expectations turned out to be, at best, only partially true.

There were hundreds of climbers. What I heard from long-time visitors was that this New Years was the busiest ever by far. As a result, every area and every route were packed. There were queues on every popular route within a 5-minute walk of the road. There would be 3-4 parties on each multi-pitch at a time, even more on longer routes like YC and TWZ. I stayed at Rancho El Sendero because it is advertised as being the "get-away". We were still constantly kept up late or awoken early, either by barking dogs, or drunken yammerers, or people getting an "alpine start" just to walk back and forth with all their quick-draws on their harness.

There was also tons of rockfall, pretty much at every wall. A lot of this happened on some of the most popular moderate climbs. Some of it was small stuff, but some of it was big enough to smash pots inside of packs. Maybe a reflection on rock quality, but more likely a reflection of lots of inexperienced climbers in one place.

The weather was downright unclimbable for a significant chunk of the time. Most days the valley was completely socked in with fog with only a few dozen feet of visibility. It did burn off in the afternoon a few times. Only one morning was clear. The temperatures stayed between 35-45F most of the time: cold, humid, dead air.

A lot of the bolts and hardware are suspect. The hangers look good, but there is a lot of corrosion on the old plated 3/8" wedges. Jan 5, 2018
Jason Albino
San Francisco, CA
Jason Albino   San Francisco, CA
Impressions/learned "pro tips" from an experienced California trad climber occasionally masquerading as a sport climber...

- La Lemuria was a great place to stay if you can pop for the $60/night over a short-ish stay. Just about the closest spot to the climbing, and Jorge was a great host. He cooked a great complementary meal for everyone on Saturday night when we were there, and you could easily squeeze four people into a two-bed room if you were trying to travel light but still be pretty comfortable on-the-cheap.

- As with most places, reports of crowd factors are only going to be as relevant as your timing. While this place is obviously becoming increasingly popular, we went during this past President's Day weekend (pseudo "border season"), focused on 5.10/5.11 multis, arrived at our climbs at 7:45/8AM, and had no problem with waits. In the one scenario where we did ("Pitch black", we just came back around 12/1 and were able to get started with no issues). So as with most places, the moral to avoid waiting for climbers is definitely to avoid the middle of peak season and weekends, start early in the day, and/or check out some promising obscurities and have some adventure!

- This is Mexico, folks, so there are night time parties, endless Mexican polka, bright lights where you might want dark sleeping areas, etc.. Embrace it! If you're looking for a backcountry/quiet nature experience, this is not the place for you.

- Checo's was by far the best place we ate, and its value/price ratio is super high. Go there regularly if you're not cooking for yourself!

- If you're climbing multis and concerned at all with comfort, there are a ton of hanging belays (e.g. Land of the Free, El Sendero Diablo). Consider a lightweight belay seat, a really cushy harness, and/or really comfy climbing shoes to swap into for easy pitches, hanging out at long belays, and/or rapping.

- Make sure everyone in your party aware of how to assess loose rock and avoid it! Feb 22, 2018

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