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Road Trip Report Dec 26 2001 to Jan 5 2002
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Jan 12, 2002, 6:45 AM
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Registered: Oct 28, 2001
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Road Trip Report Dec 26 2001 to Jan 5 2002  (North_America: Mexico: Nuevo_Le_n: El_Potrero_Chico)
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Road Trip Report El Potrero Chico, Mexico Dec. 26 2001 to Jan. 5 2002

Type of Climbing: Sport

Travel Logistics: We flew from Toronto, Ontario to Monterrey with a stop over in Houston. Flight with all insurance was about $860 CAD. From the airport we took Golden Taxi service to the campground. Eight people with gear in a Suburban for 600 pesos. The drive took about 1 hour drive. Based on conversations with other climbers we got a good price. We paid 650 pesos to Luis, the owner of our campground, to get us back to the airport.

Weather: Nights were a little chilly, dropping down to about 3 degrees Celsius. Down coats and toques were common sights. Most of the days were sunny and temperatures were about 18 degrees Celsius. Sports bras were and shirtless guys were common sights. It was cloudy for a few days and temperatures did not climb above 12 degrees Celsius on those days. We did not get any rain while we were there.

Accommodations: The area has numerous campgrounds. I will try to give a description of each. The descriptions might be a little inaccurate as most of this is based on conversations with other climbers and a quick walking tour.

Rancho Cerro Gordo ( This is the site run by Kurt Smith. Most campgrounds have an open field for you to pitch tents in, this spot has more seclusion with a few bushes(cactus) separating the sites and specific pads for tents to be pitched on. The cooking area is a large covered pavilion with two fridges and 3 or 4 propane stoves. I think that they provide plates and pots for the visitors. Bathrooms were limited to about three stalls and three showers. For most of the year this would be fine but I heard some complaints about a lack of hot water, line ups and the facilities being dirty. (comments about the bathrooms are based on a couple of short conversations, I did not personally view the bathrooms). This campsite is about a 25 minute walk from the gates of the Potrero. If you want to party this is a great spot to stay.

Homerz (website?). This is the original campsite, place was very crowded while we were there. Many tents were pitched on a concrete pad under a tin roof. Others were lining the drive way. Cooking facilities were cluttered. They also had a couple of gas stoves available for people to use. I don’t remember seeing fridges and I don’t know if pots and pans were available or if people brought their own. I do not know what the bathroom facilities were like at this spot. This site did have a restaurant; I did not eat there so I don’t know how good the food was. This site is about a 5 minute walk from the Potrero. If you want to party this is a great spot to stay.

Quinta la pagoda: ( Crazylikeafawkes stayed here, I’ll let her comment about this site. This site is about a 4 minute walk from the Potrero

Posada El Potrero Chico ( This is the site where I stayed and if I go back this is where I will stay again. The mens washroom had 8 showers and 8 stalls and I think that the ladies room had the same. Bathrooms were cleaned once a day. Hot water was in short supply but not too bad considering the number of people around. Kitchen had three sinks, three stoves, some community pots and pans, one fridge, and one freezer that worked like a fridge. Be warned, knives forks and spoons left in the drying racks tended to get borrowed. They were returned clean but it was a little annoying. Large tupperware bins are available for storing and sorting dry goods. Tents were set up in a large flat field. You had the option of renting small rooms with private bathrooms attached if you wanted them. This site is not a good place to go if you are looking to party. One other thing to note, the owner Luis strictly forbids the use of drugs. If your vacation plans involving flying with THC airlines, stay someplace else.

Groceries: Readly available at the small despositos. Everything is in single serving sizes. It is worth your while to find the supermarket downtown on a rest day. Checko’s restaurant is located close to the campgrounds. It is only open in the evenings. Had the Chicken Quesadias one night and enjoyed them. Ate at Restruant Express another night and did not enjoy it. You will want to have Pesos to pay for food.

Alcohol: You can get 970ml cold beers at the local despositos(7-11 type stores) for about 17 pesos plus deposit. If you want hard liquor you must go to the Drive thru Minimart at the main highway (when you drive in look for Restruant Express and the last gas station, this is where the drive thru is). A 26oz bottle of rum was 100 pesos.

Drugs: Saw and smelled a lot of pot on New Years Eve. I don’t know if this was imported or purchased locally.

Water: At the start of the trip we bought a lot of bottled water, by the middle of the trip we were drinking the tap water from the Posada after putting it thru a filter. The filter was to remove dirt, not bacteria. None of us have gotten sick, yet.

Gear: A lot of the climbs are 30m high so a 50m rope is useless. TIE A KNOT IN THE END OF YOUR ROPE. If you want to do the multipitch lines you might need an extra 60m rope depending on the route you choose. Some of them can be climbed with a single 60m Rope

For a climb to require 10 draws plus anchors is very common. Rack a lot of draws.

Some of the first bolts are high up (especially on climbs of 5.10 or under), so a few pieces of trad gear or a stick clip is often a good idea.

Helmets are required. Falling rock is common. Very common.

Shoes, If you have the option take two pairs. I took a pair of tight shoes for hard climbs and a pair of loose comfortable shoes for cold mornings and the all day multi-pitch routes.

Guidebooks. Guide books are a little confusing. Two guidebooks exist and they are very similar. Route descriptions tend to be a little vague and topos almost non-existent. You can get “Mexico Rock” by Jeff Jackson at Rancho Gordo, The book costs $10 USD and the 12 page update costs another $10 USD. You can also get a guide book that is called “Climb El Potrero Chico” by “Pancho Villa and The Caguama Queen” for $10 USD. I bought mine from a guy who had a sign on the side of his truck advertising guidebooks.

Now for the real stuff…

Climbing: Limited trad options are available. Everything I did was sport climbing. Most of the routes were well bolted but some of the easier lines had bolts high first bolts. The bolts looked healthy, I did see a couple of lines with homemade hangers and one spinner, but these were rare.

Most of the climbs are about 15 minutes from the road. Given the amount of cactus around I recommend you don’t wear sandals for the approach.

Travelling over the holiday season was a mistake; line-ups for climbs were common. If I go back it will not be during the holidays. According to Manboy, most of the time only 10-20 climbers are around. Over the holidays it swelled to about 400 climbers. I did not do any of the big multi-pitch routes. On most days these routes had 4 or 5 parties on them.

I climbed at Mini-Super, TNT, Mota Wall, The Spires, and Buzz Rock. Mini Super was nice had a good selection of climbs between 5.8 and 5.10c. It did get sun but was cloudy when I was there. Mota Wall has a lot of climbs in the 10-11 range and got a lot of really good sun. The Spires were nice, they do not have many climbs and did not have big crowds. Buzz Rock was good. Everything was under 10. Great place to go early in the morning. Bad place to be in the afternoon after the sun is hidden. To get to Buzz rock hop the fence when you see the rusted van.

[ This Message was edited by: sparker on 2002-01-12 06:46 ]


Oct 24, 2002, 9:08 AM
Post #2 of 2 (1373 views)

Registered: Oct 17, 2002
Posts: 46

Road Trip Report Dec 26 2001 to Jan 5 2002 [In reply to]
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Good beta - thanks

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