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Areas in El Potrero Chico

Cañon de los Lobos 0 / 23 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 23
Club Mex Wall 0 / 17 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17
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 / 14 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15
El Mirador 0 / 7 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Fitness Canyon 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Front Side aka El Toro 0 / 27 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 32
La Ola (The Wave) 0 / 10 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
La Selva (Jungle Wall) 1 / 19 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 20
Las Agujas (The Spires) 2 / 17 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 19
Las Estrellas (The Stars) 0 / 27 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 27
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 2 / 59 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 60
Narnia 1 / 14 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15
Outrage Wall, The 0 / 34 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 34
Plum Wall 0 / 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
Scrutinizer, The 0 / 19 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 19
Sky Top / Smurf Bowl 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Surf Bowl, The 0 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
TNT Wall 0 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
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 1 / 71 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 72
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 and Restaurants

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). See . Fully equipped kitchen. Great for a group. Homero Jr. is now the man in charge and he's a solid guy.

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.

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

Web Resources

http://potrerochico.org/
http://www.elpotrerochicoguides.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potrero_Chico
http://www.elpotrerochico.mx
http://cliffmama.com/climbing/Potrero/General_Diary.html
https://potrerochico.com/potrero-chico-multi-pitch-guides/

Guide Services

Rudy Peckham & Karla Moya - offering guide services, gear beta, rest day beta, camping suggestions and updated driving directions

511 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: El Potrero Chico Change
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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.
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Will the Wolf Survive?
Sport 4 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Aguja Celo Rey
Sport 2 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Cactus Pile
Sport 3 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Pancho Villa Rides Again
Sport 5 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Sport 7 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Satori
Sport 7 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Snott Girlz
Sport 7 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Pitch Black
Sport 6 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Estrellita
Sport 12 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Space Boyz
Sport 11 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13
Mugre Mugre
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Two Pumped Chump
Sport 2 pitches
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Don Quixote
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Yankee Clipper
Sport 15 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Time Wave Zero
Sport 23 pitches
Will the Wolf Survive? Cañon de los Lobos > Los Lobos Wall 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport 4 pitches
Aguja Celo Rey Las Agujas (The Spires) 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport 2 pitches
Cactus Pile Mota Wall 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport 3 pitches
Pancho Villa Rides Again Mota Wall 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport 5 pitches
Treasure of the Sierra Madre Mota Wall 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport 7 pitches
Satori Front Side aka El… > Zapatista Wall 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport 7 pitches
Snott Girlz Mota Wall 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport 7 pitches
Pitch Black Conundrums 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport 6 pitches
Estrellita Las Estrellas (The Stars) 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport 12 pitches
Space Boyz La Selva (Jungle Wall) 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport 11 pitches
Mugre Mugre Virgin Canyon > Lower Virgin 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13 Sport
Two Pumped Chump Mota Wall 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport 2 pitches
Don Quixote Virgin Canyon > Lower Virgin 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Yankee Clipper La Selva (Jungle Wall) 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport 15 pitches
Time Wave Zero Timewave Buttress 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport 23 pitches
More Classic Climbs in El Potrero Chico »

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Idaho Bob
McCall, ID
Idaho Bob   McCall, ID
Whoa Anders. Get real. EPC has wonderful rock, people and laid back culture. Good food also. It's not a yuppie climbing gym. Mar 2, 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
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
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
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
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
John Robinson
Elk Grove, ca
John Robinson   Elk Grove, ca
Any opinions on the accommodations at Quita La Pagoda? We can rent a 3 bedroom house there. Jan 6, 2017
Jason Denley
CO, AK
Jason Denley   CO, AK
I am planning on flying from Monterrey to costa rica and I want to send my climbing gear back to Colorado from mexico. Has any one done this ? any recommendations on how to mail my gear? how hard would it be to sell my 70m and draws at potrero? thanks for any suggestions Nov 23, 2016
Cassidy Thomas
Salt Lake City, UT
Cassidy Thomas   Salt Lake City, UT
Has anyone done the drive, through Nuevo Laredo- to Monterrey- To EPC in the past year or so? Some friends and I really want to make a trip but can't afford to fly. I was discussing this with a mentor of mine who has spent a substantial amount of time down in Mexico (and throughout Central and South America) and he expressed some concern over the safety of the drive. I was curious if anyone had any thoughts? I speak a good amount of Spanish but definitely am not fluent and my two friends speak none— if that makes a difference. Sep 2, 2016
Hi there- I will be traveling to El Potrero in mid-November or mid-December and am trying to find a climbing partner during that time. I'm a mid-to-hard 5.10 climber and would like to take advantage of the multi-pitch climbing while there. Let me know! Thanks, Skylar Jul 25, 2016
Pink Thunder
Lakewood
Pink Thunder   Lakewood
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
Pink Thunder
Lakewood
Pink Thunder   Lakewood
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
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
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
I'm driving to San Antonio and I'm taking the greyhound but i don't know where to store my car. Where can i store my car without it being towed or vandalized? Dec 6, 2015
Hey all,

I was looking to take a group of college students down to EPC for a winter climbing trip. Has anyone been down there recently and know of the safety of the climbing areas. I have to sell the trip to administration so any information would be helpful. Thanks! Oct 8, 2015
Does anyone know what the names of the two routes are at the far left side of the Wonder Wall crag. Around the corner almost in the lower part of Virgin Canyon. They are newer routes but I can't seem to find FA or route names or who equipped the routes. Any info would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! Mar 3, 2015
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
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
Jshep  
Hey yall!
Really psyched to head down for new years! Quick question, how is the tap water? Should I plan on bringing aquamira or a filter? Thanks Dec 26, 2014
drewp  
anybody know if the buses from the airport run late (ie after midnight)? Nov 17, 2014
goatdavemac
Flat Rock, NC
goatdavemac   Flat Rock, NC
I'm about to head down to EPC on Sunday. I left a message with La Posada, but I have not heard back from them yet. Does anyone know if they are still open?

And if not, what facilities will be open from early/mid November on?

Thanks Nov 5, 2014
Noel Williams
Laramie, Wyoming
Noel Williams   Laramie, Wyoming
I am planning a possible two week trip to El Potrero Chioco this winter. I am mainly concerned about safety of the area. Can anyone give me any recent information (especially within context of a chica climber?) Any recent trip reports? Thanks in advance! Sep 22, 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
Bierson  
Here is a little blog post on a recent quick trip to El Potrero Chico. Biersons El Potrero Chico Jan 11, 2014
Hello,
Has anyone been to Potrero Chico this year? I'm just wondering if anyone has an update on the current safety of the area for folks who might fly into Monterey and head there.
Thank you. Jun 5, 2013
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
Daniel Norris
Montreal
Daniel Norris   Montreal
Los Delfines is close. But Edguardo's mom has a tacos stand just beside the park in front of la carneceria. Best tacos i have eat in Hidalgo... Mar 12, 2013
I'll be down there from the 10th to 21st too. I'll be joining Dan on some of those days, but certainly up climbing with other people too (just send me a message). Dec 26, 2012
I will be down in EPC with my brother on my 'senior expedition' for school from the 4th to the 15th\16th or so. I will be teaching my brother anchor systems and multi-pitch setups as he's primarily a gym rat so we can hop on some good climb. If anyone is looking to meet up and crag for a day or hop on a multi-pitch get in touch.


Dan Dec 20, 2012
C Miller   CA  
vimeo.com/48468088 Dec 2, 2012
Stephen Ackley
Flagstaff, AZ
Stephen Ackley   Flagstaff, AZ
I'd like to get down to EPC in mid December for an extended trip but my potential climbing parters are flakey. Is it hard to find partners if I flew down by myself? Oct 7, 2012
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
SteveBSU
Muncie, IN
SteveBSU   Muncie, IN
So I have never been to Potrero. I know seeing in the news that there is a good bit of violence in Mexico. Is any of the violence near the climbing area? My driving route has me crossing at Nuevo Laredo. Then I travel down route 85 through Monterrey. If anyone has driven his way and or know of any violence near here it would be greatly appreicaited. also it is safe to be driving/arriving at night? I am planning my trip from Indiana for the first week of march for my spring break. we would be driving through the night and arriving at night. thanks for the info and help Jan 19, 2012
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
I did finally hear from La Posada. Apparently, when I was trying to contact them, they had just finished up a very busy, week long holiday in Mexico, and were taking a break to catch their breath.

All is fine, and we were able to make reservations for Thanksgiving week at La Posada. Oct 31, 2011
Does anybody have up-to-date contact info for Posada's? (such as a phone number) I've been trying to reach them via both phone and email in order to reserve a room for Thanksgiving week, but had no luck getting a return e-mail.

Is everything okay with them? Any info would be appreciated. Apr 22, 2011
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
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
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
joe disciullo
Charlotte, NC
joe disciullo   Charlotte, NC
Hi All, I need some help finding some locals please!

I climbed in Potrero 10 years ago and had a pretty serious accident. I was staying at Kurt Smith's Camp and a couple of locals really stepped up and took great care of me. One person was Mel, who was Kurt's partner. The other (I think it was Mel's cousin?) was a cab driver named Valentine. I'm headed back to Potrero and want to find these guys and say hello/thanks while I'm there February 20th-March 1st.

Does anyone know how I may be able to get in touch with these folks?
Any help would be appreciated.
Joe Feb 8, 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
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
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
Looking for some beta:

Draws: How many trad style draws should I bring? I have plenty of 2' and 4' slings. Out of the ~22 draws we bring, how many should be 2' or 4' extendable? I can't say we'll be linking all linkable pitches, but I imagine we'll link some, and would like to avoid rope drag. Basically, how wandering are these pitches (in general, obviously)?

Ropes: I have two 60s and a 70. I see in the section above that a 60 is enough to get up and down "90%" of routes, so I kind of think one 70 would be good. That said, are there any classics that we wouldn't be able to do without two ropes for rapping? (I think I read somewhere that the spires are this way. Is that correct?) Dec 14, 2009
amps  
Hola!
Just to make it clear, because climbers that are planing a trip to El Potrero have been asking me; the only area that is closed is the Jungle Wall, it has less than 15 routes that you can´t climb right now. El Potrero Chico is open to climb more than 600 routes.

gracias! Dec 11, 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
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
Eckhard
Denver, CO
Eckhard   Denver, CO
How is the drive down there once you cross into Mexico? Have never driven through Mexico, and it sounds like Juarez is NASTY right now. Just gathering info for a New Year's plans, Thank y'all! Nov 19, 2009
Phil Lauffen
The Bubble
Phil Lauffen   The Bubble
How is the climbing at the end of March? Too hot? Also, any beta on the drive to the nearest beach? (gf) Nov 15, 2009
Jerimiah Gentry
Denver, CO
Jerimiah Gentry   Denver, CO
I've cross posted this to a few places...

I am looking to go to go to EPC from sometime between the 8th and 22nd of December 2009. I have gear, am experienced on long routes and these days can red point 11a. I drive well and have a background in guiding, and I'm an all around swell guy... I do not have a car so I looking for someone who may be driving from the south east (Florida, GA area.) I am in Tallahassee. Contact me for more details! Nov 11, 2009
Ron Grat
Georgetown, Co.
Ron Grat   Georgetown, Co.
Thanks for the suggestions on donations. I will definitely bring down a couple of my old ropes to give to the fixed rope cause.

I'll be going down to Potrero for the first time at the end of October and could use some advice from someone who's driven down there before. Such as: Drive time from Denver? Should I buy the Mexican car insurance? Or any other suggestions/tips for a hassle free and safe border crossing.

Also-I have a partner for the first 2 weeks of the trip but will be looking for someone to climb with for the second half (nov 5-19) Anyone interested? And/or have a suggestion for finding partners when I get there?

Thanks!

-Ron Oct 2, 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
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
What style of climbing is it in El Potrero Chico? slab climbing with edges or vetrtical with pockets..? any info on the style would be helpful. thanks! Aug 15, 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
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
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
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
kyber
Portland
kyber   Portland
killing time:
maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=… Sep 30, 2008
Stich
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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
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
Eddie Avallone
Lewisburg, WV
Eddie Avallone   Lewisburg, WV
If you fly into Monterrey and get a taxi to the Potrero, how does one get to and from the crags? Walking distance, hitchhike, etc?? Sep 25, 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
The Whole Enchilada is now available at potrerokrew.com Mar 2, 2007
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

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