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Potrero low-down
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munckee


Feb 29, 2004, 10:30 PM
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Potrero low-down  (North_America: Mexico: Nuevo_Le_n: El_Potrero_Chico)
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I have four or five days to kill over spring break (mid march) and we're thinking about heading down to potrero (two guys from austin). What's the low-down on it? How is the drive? How SAFE is the drive? How safe is the living situation down there?

Hows the moderate climbing? Is there a guide book or site for reference?


roc-dude
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Mar 1, 2004, 8:50 AM
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The Drive from Austin is not bad. I think you can find directions on some of the web-sites if you do a google search. I like to cross the border at the comerical crossing 12 miles to the west of laredo. There is no traffic and it is quick. When you come back across, go through the main bridge in laredo. The Commerical Bridge is hard to get back in the US somtimes. We had a hard time because it was closed at an odd hour. I have not had any problems with safety on the drive. You can get a vehicle pass a the Mexican consulant it cost something like $50 and can save you hours at the border. I always get insurance. Search online or in laredo you buy it on the spot. "We did get stopped three times in two hours because we did not have tags on the back of the trailer once, but they all let us go each time with on tickets." Be sure to drive the speed limit which seems slow. A little spanish is helpfull at the crossings and toll booth. Most of the drive in mexico is on a toll road or freeway. Hidalgo the town where the climbs are is a little confusing, with several turns. Most turns have a sign for Potrero but I don't think all do. But the people are great if you need help. I have not had any problem with safty at the camp grounds. They seem safe to me. I would not leave your gear at the bottom of a climb. I have hear of theft there. The biggest issue is do not climb under other people and wear a helmet. That is the biggest problem I Know of. If you like Reimers limestone and the rating then add 12 or 13 more pitches in a place with $.25 cent beer and tacos, then you will have a blast. Below is a link to some beta I just wrote on Potrero's routes and guides.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=41528


camhead


Mar 1, 2004, 9:18 AM
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Re: Potrero low-down [In reply to]
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I would agree with most of what rocdude said.

However, crossing back into the USA from Laredo is a pain; I know people that have waited several hours to do so. The crossing at Columbia-Solitude went way quick when I did it. There was a HUGE line of trucks waiting, but there was also a special crossing for private noncommercial vehicles which did not have ANY line. Definitely recommended.

For the crossing getting Mex from Tex, you will need to get both a permit sticker for the vehicle, and permits for each passenger. The former requires a vehicle title, and the latter either a passport, or birth certificate and drivers license. They don't check for insurance.

The actual drive down is safe, and really quick if you take the toll road from Laredo (like $15 dollars). The federales that inspect you at the check points are mostly concerned with your vehicle sticker, and maybe with your personal tourist visas. They don't check for insurance.

MUY IMPORTANTE:
Before you cross back into the USA, you must return the vehicle sticker to the office. This is to insure that you did not illegally sell your car across the border. Sometimes the officals do not tell you about this when they issue you the sticker, but it is very important. If you do not return it, you may not be able to bring another car into Mexico in the future. Technically, you are also supposed to return your personal permits as well, but it is not as essential as the car sticker.

From my personal experience, I have not messed with insurance. It is a sketchy risk, but you should make te call over whether you want to fork over $70 for four hours of drive time. You don't need a car in Mexico, and I just didn't think it was worth it. If you get in an accident, you had just better be able to pay for the damage. As I said before, none of the officials with whom I have dealt have asked for proof of insurance.

PM me for more info if you want.


munckee


Mar 1, 2004, 9:38 AM
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Re: Potrero low-down [In reply to]
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Thanks, I'd love whatever further info you can offer.

We're going to run into a problem with the vehicle title issue though as the car has a lien on it (hence the bank has the title). Can we bring something from the bank proving that?


mike_ok


Mar 1, 2004, 9:58 AM
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Re: Potrero low-down [In reply to]
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To bring a vehicle with a lien against the title across the border, you need a NOTARIZED note/permission from the lien holder.

Its also pretty easy to get there by bus if you don't want to deal with taking the car in, or can't get the bank to sign off on your vehicle. Just bus to Monterrey, and at the bus station in Monterrey (it will be your final stop in Monterrey, very obvious destination), switch to the bus line "Mina", which goes, amazingly enough, to Mina... but also to Hidalgo's bus station. If you're lucky and the bus driver is in a good mood, he/she may even take you all the way to the park.

Bus tickets are fairly cheap... I think 18 one way from Laredo to Monterrey... so 36 round trip. Monterrey to Hidalgo is 2 dollars each way. So you're looking at 40 bucks to bus.


gblauer
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Mar 1, 2004, 10:44 AM
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Re: Potrero low-down [In reply to]
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I just got back and have an EXTENSIVE trip report (basically EPC for dummies). DO you want it?


munckee


Mar 1, 2004, 10:51 AM
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Hell yes! :D


juanjo


Mar 1, 2004, 11:02 AM
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The climbing here at EPC is extremely nice! the low downs are some part of the highway to Hidalgo and april's heat it goes around 40 C. Being there is nice, the people, the campsites etc. Buy an insurance for the time you gonna be here.
Anything else just pm


cdb1386


Mar 1, 2004, 11:19 AM
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For insurance on your vehicle, use
http://www.sanbornsinsurance.com/

Cross at the Columbia bridge on the way down and on the way back. Just watch for signs on the way back or you'll miss your turn.

If you have a copy of your title you can use that as I have before, but the name needs to match the person getting the vehicle permit. The vehicle permit is good for 6 months othewise return it on your way back if you don't plan on going again for a while. You will need a credit card for the purchase of the permit.

Wear a helmet, bring 2-60 meter ropes and lots of draws. Don't climb underneath anybody IMHO.

If you have any other questions feel free to email me or drop me a message.

PS: The drive from Austin to the Portrero is about 7-8 hours. Don't speed as someone said before.


redpiton


Mar 1, 2004, 3:22 PM
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Re: Potrero low-down [In reply to]
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Yes please.


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