Thank goodness for last minute plans. This January, I unexpectedly found myself in one of Mexico’s premier climbing havens – El Potrero Chico – to rock out, climb, and generally be awesome for nearly a month. I had to take a roundabout way to get there flying from Wisconsin to Santa Barbara then to El Paso where I met up with my friend Diana to drive 700 miles to the town of Hidalgo in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. No big deal.
I zoned out for about 695 of those miles while we drove through barren, scrubby desert, but once giant, monolithic ridges of limestone erupting for thousands of vertical feet out of the gentle landscape decided to make an appearance, I quickly zoned back in. I figured this must be the spot. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to scale these beautiful cliffs?
One of my goals for this trip was to take on a couple of multi-pitch routes. For all of you non-climbers, a “pitch” is usually about half the length of the rope or around 100 feet-ish. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before my friend Diana (a wonderful guide and teacher!) took me up my first multi-pitch route, “Will the Wolf Survive” – an easy going 4 pitch route that brought us to the top of a nice little ridgeline that provided the perfect spot to enjoy a refreshing Tecate Light.
Don’t judge! The selection of quality cervezas in Mexico is severely limited. Also, climbing a 400 foot route with a glass bottle isn’t the greatest idea. Put these two factors together, and I had exactly one option – Tecate Light. I suppose I could have walked the 3 mile round trip to town for one of the other two options that fulfilled my requirements – Modelo Light or regular Tecate – but I didn’t think either of those two were worth the effort.
While we were on top of the ridge, some other climbers were rappelling down another climb (there they are behind Diana in the picture above), and they got a kick out of me and Diana drinking beer on the peak, so one of them snapped some pictures and was kind enough to make sure that we got some copies of them. It’s awesome to see the spot we were at from another perspective. Sometimes I forget how easy it is to be completely bad ass.
This is only the first of many great adventures I had in Mexico, so stay tuned. Up next – “La Estrellita” – 12 pitches going up over 1,100 feet.