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Can( y)on Tajo Baja CA Mexico near San Diego

Original Post
other · · San Diego, CA · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 15

Has visitation increased since the Northern Mexico including Canon Tajo guidebook came out? Is that the most updated climbing guide available? Are you up for a weekend there? Its a couple of hours south of San Diego CA. Passport required. I'm not sure what kind of vehicle is needed on the roads. Google Canon Tajo for info.

ClimbBaja · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 25

Visitation has not increased. Most USA citizens are fearful of traveling to Mexico. Long lines at the border in recent years have dissuaded others. More Mexican climbers are visiting from Tijuana, Mexicali, and Ensenada, probably not as a result of the Northern Mexico guidebook. There is an increasing number of Mexican climbers in northern Baja, under the mentoring of Tajo climbers.

There is little useful info in the Northern Mexico guidebook. The relevant few pages are available on the free on line sample; no need to buy the book. There is no other published guidebook. 2WD this time of year, recommend truck or SUV.

Passport required for return to the USA, by CBP policy of several years. The reality is that a driver's license and birth certificate will suffice, assuming the person is not "of color" and speaks fluent English. (Yes, CBP engages in racial profiling). At worst, it's a mild scolding by CBP.

I wrote a response to your "other" post under General Climbing, but probably won't post it. It's clear from this post that you have not been there and have little knowledge of the issues that you were writing about. I'm trying to be helpful here and not offensive. Just saying that you might want to avoid trolling, writing uninformed opinions, calling the developers and stewards "haters", and taking a pro-guidebook position.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310
ClimbBaja wrote: There is an increasing number of Mexican climbers in northern Baja, under the mentoring of Tajo climbers.
Climb Baja.... thank you so much for all that you have done to protect one of the most awesome climbing spots to be found anywhere on the planet.

It makes me feel good to know that some of the locals have picked up our sport.

Many years ago while returning from another trip I made down there with several other climbers we were getting some cold beers at one of the stores located where the Dirt Road cuts off from the Paved road (hwy 2 the cement plant) anyway there are some prominent large boulders right there, so we started to boulder on the excellent stone. We noticed a few young guys watching us. My GF went over to them and struck up a conversation, she was the only one of US who spoke Spanish, and invited them over for some beer and we showed them just what we were up to. They seemed interested and curious about the climbing. They told my GF that there were indeed many places close by that have boulders even larger than the ones we were climbing on.
Anyway we decked these guys out with climbing shoes and chalk bags, with boots on, they picked up the moves quickly and we spent the rest of the afternoon bouldering. When it was time to leave and we started changing out of the boots, our new friends took off the loaner boots and tossed them back into the van, we made a decision to "Plant a Seed" ...... as E said. So we gave them Boots and chalk bags- bid them farewell and took off for home.
Its good to know that there are some local climbers down there, maybe one of those guys that got a free pair of shoes is a climber now.

Climbing down there is really an adventure, every time I go, something wonderful or scary goes down.....we have a real international climbing destination and its right next door.

I hope that every American who goes there is a good ambassador and takes the time to shop at local stores and hit the restaurants... you can learn a lot about the people who live in Northern Baja and have a blast.
Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

There's a guidebook? Man what I would have given for one of those 20 yrs. ago when I had time to explore. The only info I could ever get was copying handwritten topos from San Diego climbers, the few that had been down there at least.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Fat Dad..... oh that would have ruined the experience. The first time I went there we drove the land cruiser around for two days before we found the big stone... and what a stone it is!

other · · San Diego, CA · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 15

Baja I was there twenty years ago and didn't drive. I read the dozens of pages of rants and attacks on potential guidebook authors. The haters claimed that a book would destroy the area. Now a book exists, visitation has increased and no one is saying that Tajo has been destroyed. You echoed what Kennedy said-Americans are afraid to go. You're angry that you haven't been paid for your route names, you're angry that the info is wrong but you refused to help the authors to make the info right.

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60


Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

other.... this is an argument as old as the hills, namely .... guidebooks bring the hordes.

Im sure that this has been argued to death and deserves its own topic.

I don't know if visitation has increased. I do know that from 1976 to 1988 (the last time I was there) visitation increased cause there were more climbs. But I never ran into another group of climbers.

I know that the wildness of the place changed. In 76 there was open range cattle ranching going on. In 88 there were small farms, homesteads, sprinkled around the landscape.....

So if you have some sort of AX to grind, why don't you come out and be more specific????

Stop beating around the bush... this is MP after all.


Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

"You give a guy climbing shoes,,,,awesome! But that isn't how the climbing community grows."

p.m. ..... you got a beef with ME?

If you ask, I will tell you all I know about the place. I do not have the time to spend writing guide books.

Over at Super Taco.... there is a long running thread about this place. Many of the active players post there all the time.... have you asked what is up?

I bet you would get some very up to date information if you did.

the LAST time I visited the place was 25 years ago so I would hate to give out stale old information.....

I recommend the "South Face" route, a 10 pitch 10B? or the next climb over... Joya... the Jewell 11B(?) 10-11 pitches... bolted face climbing.

Have a nice day.

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

So the noob feels like he can lecture everyone else about how everything has transpired since climbing began.

If you have a vision of what climbing and the climbing community should be, great. That's your vision. It's not everyone's vision. If you want a guarantee of easy to find climbs, bomber bolts, and guarantees of maximum efficiency for your limited vacation time, fine. Stick to sport climbing. However, that is not everyone's goal in climbing.

No one like spending most of their time finding climbs, but some people still like adventure and the feeling of climbing in an area that requires some work. No one likes old bolts, but some see them as an inconvenience vs. an impediment. If you want to find out more about an area, great. Keep doing what you're doing. Find a local and go. Mugs Stump had a dream of finding the biggest, raddest alpine climb, doing it, leaving no trace and then not telling anyone. That wasn't the dream though. It was hearing someone else say that they had just found and climbed the same route, thinking they had done it for the first time.

If you want to share, good for you. If others don't, that's there gig. Some of us don't need someone to hold their hand for them.

ClimbBaja · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 25

Interesting rant. May I call it a "rant", because you seem disgruntled about something, though it isn't clear exactly what your complaint is?
Well, cool that you got down there. No one is forcing you to return and "spend a month exploring and putting their (your) life on sketchy unknown climbs." Seriously, you can go anywhere else in the USA and most of Mexico and have perfectly "known" climbs, with guidebooks, topos, supertopos, and color glossy photos. No exploration necessary. Every boulder in SoCal seems to be in a guidebook.

Please consider this: Perhaps there are people who still seek adventure and are entitled to have just one place remaining which doesn't have a published and detailed guidebook. Once published it's a done deal; there is no turning back the clock. The adventure is diminished forever.

Who is maintaining these bolts and anchors????? I am.
One man in his 60's cannot maintain 300 bolted routes. You're right, it is a chore. Will probably have to enlist some help soon. I've given bolting seminars to Mexican climbers. Some are are currently engaged in replacing rusted bolts at La Mision (aka: Valle Azteca) on the coast with modern SS hardware.
Is one man fitting the bill for all this hardware? Yes. Would you like to donate to the effort?
Makes me wonder what kind of bolts have been set.
If you really want an answer:
1970s thru mid-80s: Mostly all 1/4" x 1.5" Rawl "Drive". (Most of these have been replaced on the popular/recommended routes. Still many to be found on the more obscure routes or farther from basecamp).
Late 80s to early 90s: Mostly 5/16" Rawl Drive (buttonheads). HME chromoly hangers and my custom production SS hangers (from HME dies). A very few carbon steel 3/8" wedge anchors.
Mid-1990s to 2010: 3/8" Ramset/Redhead "Trubolt" wedge anchors, mostly 3.75" long 304SS, with Fixe SS hangers.
2010 to 2014: 3/8" Trubolt and Hilti Kwik Bolt 3 wedge anchors.
2014 to current: Hilti KB3, 3/8" and 1/2" x 3.75" 304SS and 316SS, Fixe SS hangers. Welded tips to prevent removal/theft. Top quality hardware. Placed properly by someone with experience.

You state that SS has a maximum life of 50 years, per a magazine article. That is conjecture, and the number 40, 50 or 75 years floats around on the forums when we have our technical banter. Nobody really knows the life expectancy as we didn't start using SS until after the advent of power drilling in the late 1980s, less than 30 years ago. SS in limestone, in a tropical coastal environment, can break under body weight in one year due to SCC. A dry climate like Tajo, in granite, probably well over 50 years. Maybe 100+ years, there are variables and nobody really knows.

"But please dont make it so that the only way you can be a outdoors climber is buy endangering you life even more that the sport already demands."

If you are worried about safety, I'd suggest walking away from any route that is equipped with 1/4" bolts, Leeper hangers, or 1st gen SMC hangers, at Tajo or anywhere else. Learn to distinguish between 1/4" (dangerous)and 5/16" (probably still okay at Tajo) Rawl Drive buttonheads at a glance. Between Leeper (dangerous) and HME (okay at Tajo) hangers, or first generation SMC (seriously dangerous) and subsequent SMC SS hangers (okay). If you want to be safe, then acquire some technical knowledge. Blindly clipping bolts of unknown origin and by unknown installers is a gamble. I don't trust most of the bolts in the USA, and flat out refuse to climb on bolts in sandstone.

If a route looks "sketchy" or over your head in a wilderness area or at Tajo, with no rescue protocol, then find something easier. That is not the place to push your leading limits. I generally tell new visitors that most routes at Tajo are 1 or 2 points harder than they appear from below. It is wise to choose routes that are a grade or two below your hardest or sport-climbing grade. Expect runouts. Many routes are PG or R rated, in a style reminiscent of 1970s Yosemite/Suicide Rock. A few routes have been retrobolted (protection bolts added) with First Ascenionists' permission. I don't want anyone getting seriously hurt on my routes; "spicy" is good, dangerous is not.
Take 2 ropes for rappel descents. (I don't know why people don't automatically know that, but they frequently don't).
And don't lead slabby friction with the rope between your legs!

Climb on, climb safe, climb again.

ClimbBaja · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 25

Canyon Tajo update:
The 20+ miles of dirt road has seen "improvements" in the past year, with significant grading, new concrete culverts and vados (dips), even road signs and KM (kilometer) markers. Thankfully, the final 1.5 miles to basecamp hasn't changed much.

The Rumorosa Wind Project has approx. 40+ wind generators near La Rumorosa. Planned development forecasts hundreds more to the south, including Tajo. Construction has not yet started south of La Rumorosa. When it will begin remains to be seen. Plans in Mexico follow unpredictable timelines. There are steel towers near the granite domes for measuring wind speed. Presumably to identify efficient sites. Does anyone know if reversing the wires will create negative wind speed data? LOL

Climbing as a sport is growing exponentially among Baja California residents from Tijuana, Tecate, Ensenada, and Mexicali. "Rock On" climbing gym opened in Mexicali a year ago. There is a brand new gym in Ensenada (bouldering/ropeless I believe). More Mexican climbers are now visiting Tajo than estadounidenses (gringos).

This weekend will be cold and windy, but I plan to replace some bolts anyway.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

ClimbBaja...... thank you for posting updated information. The place is a changing but that is the way "progress" works, I guess.

Thank you for all the work you do taking care of things.

Randy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 1,521
Guy Keesee wrote:ClimbBaja...... thank you for posting updated information. The place is a changing but that is the way "progress" works, I guess. Thank you for all the work you do taking care of things.

It is also great to hear of the growing numbers of local climbers.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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