Yesterday, Honnold and McCoy were busy sending their Mexico project-- Mi Regalo Favorito.
"New 19 pitch 13c/d," wrote Honnold on Instagram. "Bueno!"
Mi Regalo Favorito is located on the Outrage Wall in El Potrero Chico. The new 19 pitch line, which was bolted but never climbed by Kurt Smith and Jeb Vetters, takes a plumb line all the way to the summit.
Alex Honnold has been on a vision quest in Mexico lately. Climbing with one of his “original partners” Josh McCoy, Honnold kicked off his trip by making the first ascent of La Bestia (5.13d), which he speculates to be the hardest climbing in Potrero Chico.
"This trip I’ve done this interesting little route that’s hidden in a mined out quartz vein,” says Honnold of La Bestia. “The two walls of the cut are like six feet apart, so when you fall off the route you hit the wall behind you.”
Moving on from La Bestia, McCoy and Honnold then freed an old A1 pitch on the Potrero route Trail of Tears. The free climbing on the pitch clocks in around 5.13a or b, according to Honnold.
“Surprisingly cool climbing,” he says. “It’s the 5th pitch so it’s in a cool position.”
Honnold and McCoy’s main objective in Mexico was to resurrect an old Kurt Smith and Jeb Vetters project—Mi Regalo Favorito—which has been bolted but never cleaned or climbed. However, the warm temperatures of Mexico stymied the team on the south-facing climb.
Chasing shade, Honnold and McCoy journeyed to the hinterlands of Los Remotos, after hearing rumors of a mythical wall called La Popa. The wall had been discovered and climbed by Jeff Jackson in the 1990s, and Jackson has been urging friends to visit the area for years.
“Someone had told me that there was a rad wall out there, so I asked Jeff about it,” says Honnold. “He sent pretty decent directions and really impressive pictures. When I showed Josh the photos he got super psyched. It was kind of a spur of the moment thing. Too hot to try our proj, so a north-facing adventure route sounded appealing.”
What Honnold and McCoy found was Jackson’s route El Gavilan: a climb Honnold describes as “totally amazing.” The nine-pitch adventure route travels through the steep limestone of La Popa with consistent 5.12 and 5.13 climbing.
“I don’t know if it’s actually the steepest thing I’ve ever climbed, but it has to be close,” says Honnold. “Certainly the middle pitches are the steepest things I’ve ever climbed up high on a wall.”
Honnold describes how he accidentally linked the two steepest pitches into one “totally epic” pitch. “When we cut the [haul] bag loose, it swung at least 80-feet out into space.”
Honnold and McCoy’s recent repeat of El Gavilan is the route’s second ascent. On the grade, Honnold suggests “hard 5.13a.”
“I thought each pitch had some charm,” says Honnold. “Both of us felt like we had a life experience.”