• Roca Verde: Beat the Heat in Northwest Spain
  • Smith Rock Resurgence
  • Green Mountain Grip: Vermont’s Top Climbing Destinations
  • Climbing Beta: Rocktown, Georgia
  • Climbing Beta: El Potrero Chico, Mexico
  • Call of the Wild: America's Hardest Crag - Wolf Point - Is Just a Vision
  • The Hardest Bouldering in America ... and Maybe the World
  • Durango Unchained
  • Bishop Bound: The Boulders and Beyond
  • Everest Deserves Respect: Why It's Hard, From Someone Who's Been There
  • The Epic of All Epics
  • Origin of Species: Fontainebleau
  • El Cap's Hardest: Wings of Steel
  • Cragging in the Bay Area
  • Superwuss (5.10), Black Canyon
  • Island of Opportunity: Exploring the Potential of Puerto Rico
  • Waimea (5.10d): Runmey, New Hampshire
  • Storming Castles: New Routing in the High Sierras
  • Pure Magic: Spellbound By the Boulders of Switzerland
  • Cliff Notes: Moe's Saved!
  • Arctic Gold
  • Where Worlds Collide
  • Tahoe Moderates
  • Not So Fast: Lessons From a Father-Son Trip to Patagonia
  • Red Dihedral (IV 5.10b)
  • Place of Happiness
  • High Exposure: A Fresh Perspective on the Gunks
  • Flying Buttress (5.10)
  • California's Big House
  • Jah Man (5.10) Sister Superior
  • Wild Wild West Virginia
  • Wild Chihuahua
  • Vintage Vantage
  • Tuff Love
  • True Believers
  • Tower of the Damned, Climbing the Crystal Tower
  • The Stonemasters Climb at Pirates Cove
  • The Hidden
  • The Black is Beautiful
  • The Beast of the East
  • Souvenirs
  • Southern Idaho Secrets
  • Simon Yates' New Route on Mount Vancouver
  • Routes Less Traveled
  • Rock Climbing in India
  • Open Water Treading in Paradise
  • New Mexico
  • Never Mind The Dinosaurs
  • Mountain of Clark
  • Local Color
  • Limestone Harmony
  • King Air
  • In the Land of Myths
  • Ice Climbing in Norway with WIll Gadd
  • Green Party
  • Devil's Advocate
  • Deep Water Soloing in Mallorca
  • Conquistdors of the Useful
  • Classic Acts
  • Bouldering in Hampi India
  • Beyond the Fringe
  • Backwoods Bouldering
  • Attack of the Daks
  • Armenia Rock Climbing
  • America's Best Climbing Area: Red River Gorge
  • Alex and Thomas Huber Climb in Queen Maud Land
  • Ain't it Grand
  • Age of Reason
  • Sunshine (5.10) // Snowpatch Spire, Bugaboos
  • Shagged: Maine's Shag Crag Deals with Perma Draws
  • That Which Shall Not be Named
  • El Cajon Climbing Crag Bolts Chopped
  • Climbing Dark Star, a Sierra Classic
  • Rock Climbing and Bouldering in Mongolia
  • Destination Sinks Canyon Wyoming
  • Defying the Red Rock Bolt Ban
  • Creatures of Feature
  • Seeking Life After Death
  • Hyalite Canyon Access in Danger
  • Free Will in Purgatory
  • Moonlight Rising
  • Solar Eclipse
  • Shattered Glass
  • Black Sheep
  • Patz on the Back
  • Seeing Perfect Visionary
  • R' is for Rant
  • Cold War
  • EVEREST 2008
  • Monster Jacks
  • Border Country
  • Wabi Sabi
  • ¡Prohibido Escalar!
  • Good Ice Hunting
  • Cochamó Madness
  • Suffer and Be Merry
  • Game On
  • Close But No Cigar
  • Video Spotlight
    Alex Honnold Solos Lover's Leap in Dan Osman Tribute
    Alex Honnold Solos Lover's Leap in Dan Osman Tribute
    Whipper of the Month
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer

    Climbing Beta: El Potrero Chico, Mexico

    By Moja Gear

    The following destination beta is courtesy of mojagear.com:

    El Potrero Chico, Mexico


    A climber bears down on a vegetated multipitch. Tequila, anyone?

    Interestingly meaning, "The Small Corral," small is the last word that comes to mind when surrounded by the 1000-foot limestone cliffs enclosing the park. Resting in the Chihuahuan Desert in the East Sierra Madre, El Potrero Chico is a Mexican National Park located minutes from the town of Hidalgo in the State of Nuevo Leon.

    Potrero has a deep history of climbers coming to the area since the early 1990s to establish hard and long sport routes.

    The limestone and dolostone rock was formed under a shallow sea millions of years ago and various mountain building events have pushed the rock unit up for your climbing pleasure. The limestone and dolomite fractures vertically to create shear pocketed technical faces, adventurous vegetated slabs, and clean overhangs similar to the limestone found in Spain. The tallest cliff is the North Face of the Mountain of El Toro, which is just shy of 2000 feet.


    Climbing Style

    Pockets and crimps and tufas, oh my! The limestone of El Potrero Chico is reminiscent of the Spanish variety.Bolts! A rope and a dozen quickdraws with allow you to crag or multipitch adventure climb with the safety and low weight of a sport rack.

    Multipitch sport climbing is the name of the game; however, Potrero has so much more. There is also spectacular single pitch face and powerful overhung tufa climbing. There is also pretty rad bouldering for low commitment days and an endless supply of highline potential for the slacking enthusiasts!


    Best season

    Visit in late fall, winter, and early spring. The Chihuahuan Desert gets hot!


    Climbing grade range

    The tall climbing tends to have a lot of moderate routes in the 5.9 - 5.11 range, with the exception of a few harder test pieces. Single pitch climbs span into the 5.13s.


    Best local spot

    Ask the locals about cheap natural hot springs. Some are indoors and essentially awesome spas.


    Top climbs in area 
    A slackliner walks the plank between Las Agujas (The Spires).

    Multipitch Sport

    -Aguja Celo Rey (5.10, 2 pitches) – Great two pitches to get you on top of Las Agujas (The Spires). It's all about the destination on this classic.

    -Treasure of the Sierra Madre (5.10c, 7 pitches) – Sustained 5.10 climbing on truly varied terrain. Climb vertical sections, roofs, traverses, and through some plants. A little bit of everything!

    -Snot Girlz (5.10+, 7 pitches) – Moderate route and a great intro to Potrero multipitch. First two pitches are the hardest then 5 rewarding pitches of 5.9!

    -Black Cat Bone (5.10d, 9 pitches) – Fun, long, and varied route on the jungle wall.

    -Space Boyz (5.10d, 11 pitches) – One of Potrero's longest routes, climbs right in the center of the park. A guaranteed adventure!

    -Sendero Diablo (5.11c, 6 pitches) – Fell incredibly exposed on this mostly overhung route leading up the Outrage Wall.

    -Sendero Luminos(5.12+, 15 pitches) – Must do route if you climb at this level. 11/15 pitches of incredible continuous 5.12 climbing. 

    Singlepitch Sport

    -Pangaea (5.11c) – Dynamic hueco jumping on great overhung rock. Everyone loves this route.

    -Don Quixote (5.11d) – Technical stemming up a large dihedral. This route is as much a puzzle as it is a climb.

    -Celestial Omnibus (5.12-) – Fantastic tufa climbing on the beautifully exposed Outrage Wall.

    -Surfer Rosa (5.13) – Prepare your thumbs for this classic tufa pinching test piece!


    Best kept secret

    It's Mexico! Tacos anywhere and everywhere will be delicious!


    How stiff is the grading?

    If you can crimp incut edges, you're good to go.


    Where to stay?

    La Posada is the most popular area and where the parties are at. But there are other options such as La Pagoda and Homeros, which are a bit cheaper with less crowds. Another great option is to rent a house if you're planning a stay for over a week.


    Other information

    Rest day or best day? A huge plus to visiting El Potrero Chico is how affordable it is. After the hassle of driving across the border or an international flight. One can stay in Mexico for literally a fraction of US, Canadian, or European destinations.

    Northern Mexico is known to be sketchy and dangerous, which is certainly true near the border. But the town of Hidalgo is one of the friendliest and mellow places I've ever been to. Don't let this deter you from visiting this epic climbing destination.

    Beta contributed by Kevin Boyko.


    READ Potrero Chico First Ascentionist “Magic” Ed Wright Dies


    About Moja Gear 

    Moja Gear is a community-powered hub for rock climbing content and gear. Share and explore climbing stories, interviews, training tips, videos, and more at mojagear.com. Now through November 30, 2015, enter ROCKANDICE at checkout to save 15% .


    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article: