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Peña de Bernal

Original Post
theeinjem · · New Paltz, NY · Joined May 2016 · Points: 38

The Summary:
The rock is superb, the town is incredible, and the recommendations made for some of the best days of my life. I left Bernal not only having climbed the most satisfying lines, but having formed a new family and a second home. This place is already amazing but has so much potential for further development. I could see it blowing up as the Potrero alternative in the near future. The trip would not be the same without the help of SouthernXposure. Even if you do not need a guide, I would recommend contacting them for beta on climbs and the area. These guys really care about the place and want to see it enjoyed.


-This is for lack of a better description, one huge rock! This area houses multi pitch, single pitch, bouldering and some beautiful spires for easy free solo missions.
-There was a ton more here Than mountain project suggested, with thoughtful new, well spaced climbs being carefully cleaned and bolted all the time.
-This volcanic intrusion has very good quality rock. The climbs have been cleaned well and we experienced not much rock fall or holds breaking at all.
-Typically, the start of many climbs are slopey and slabby then turn into more edgy chicken heads. My katanas and muiras were the perfect shoe combination.
-There is also some sustained overhang on the El Capitain mini crag/giant boulder very comparable to the red.
- The bouldering is utterly fantastic. There is a great v4 by Tommy Caldwell. There are boulders all over the Chichid'ho property and a guidebook in the communal dining area.
-The spires were a nice surprise. They are currently only bolted at the top for high line, but you can throw some shoes and chalk on in order to scramble to the top of a few. I am most excited for these to be developed.

Multi pitch:
-The big multi pitch climbs are roughly 7pitches, about 35m per pitch. Bring a 70m and use 2 ropes if climbing in a party of 3. The routes wander, so be sure to get good beta from locals or keep a keen eye out for anchors when getting to the half way of the rope. Radios were helpful due to the wind and the wandery nature of the routes. Bernalina was beautiful and stress free. Pure gold. King Kong is a 10b on the back side and is one of the coolest routes I have seen. (Big chimney/tunnel for a few pitches).

Single pitch:
-There are quite a few new, single pitch routes near King Kong that are totally beautiful and very fun. Message Southern Xposure for beta. I believe a new guidebook is coming out soon.
-My group ended up spending many days at the El Capitain mini crag which was a quick walk from camp. There are a ton of routes 5.8 and up with the Peña providing the most beautiful backdrop.

Getting there:
-I would second the recommendation of SE to keep an eye out and fly to Querétaro. It is only 40 minutes and $2 (44 pesos) to get to Peña de Bernal.
-be careful how late you travel from Querétaro to Bernal. The local bus stops running around 9 as well as the taxis.
-Mexico City was cheaper for me to fly to. There are the most incredible busses (Primera Plus) that go straight from the airport to Queratero.
-My group opted to spend New Year's Eve in the historic Zocalo then took a taxi (clearly marked and easy to find) to the Central Norte. $18 (300 pesos)

Town of Bernal:
-"You can take a girl, throw her in the middle of town at 2am in a bikini and she'd be fine"
-The town is safe, clean, welcoming, colorful and thriving. I had no issue as a young female from the United States walking through the town alone at night with all of my luggage.
-the Peña is a big tourist attraction especially during the Christmas/New Years season. There are a ton of street vendors with really cool hand made things.
-Haggling is a blast and you'd be amazed at how low you can get prices. (Wool Blanket for $11/ 250 pesos)

-There is a wonderful fruteria with tons of fresh produce. Very affordable and no stomach issues from fresh fruits or veggies.
-The street food is fantastic. Bernal has some of the best gorditas. I also recommend getting the Elote. It is corn on the cob with mayo, cheese, lime and chili powder.
-The ice cream across the street from Hector's hotel is the ultimate reward after a long day of crushing climbs.

-Simeon of Southern Xposure climbing did an awesome job pairing my group of 20-somethings on a budget with the paradise that is Chichid'ho for camping. This place was truly the highlight of my trip. The peaceful campground is the secret treasure of the area. There has access to sport multipitch, two single pitch sport crags that grow every day and top notch bouldering. You can rent crash pads. Fernando was the ultimate host and he became a good friend very quickly. There is a huge community kitchen, water. showers, bathrooms, tons of hammocks and places where you can camp that are 5 feet from some awesome boulder problems. Getting from town to Chichid'ho is a bit of a hike and difficult to find if you don't know where you are going but absolutely worth it. Besides Bernalina and the 5.7 variation, we did most of our climbing on the back side by Chichid'ho anyway. $8/150 pesos per night.
-The hotels are great too. We arrived late the first day and ended up getting a hotel at Hector's horse farm/house/hotel. Comfortable beds, water, nice showers and a cool place to hang out in the center of town with a 10 min approach to the big climbs. He is a very interesting guy to talk to if you speak Spanish. He is an accomplished hydraulic engineer and owns some amazing artifacts and an extensive library.
-Casa Celia is next door to Hector's and for around the same price I believe they have a hot tub overlooking the Peña.

SouthernXposure on facebook. on instagram

Top of third largest monolith in the world
Will Haden · · KC, MO · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 90

This is so awesome to see!! I studied abroad in Queretaro in college and met Fernando and Omar through a mutual friend.

Wasnt climbing much then so I can't wait to get back down there and see what it looks like.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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