Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mexico 2007

rik_mother superior
Rik on Mother Superior 12a on the Mileski wall

This winter holidays we went to the famous climbing area: Potrero Chico in Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. As we lived there previously for a year, it was a return to old friends, our dog Thunder, and of course beautiful limestone cliffs.
We climbed almost everyday onsighting and redpointing some great routes.
There were many climbers there, often cluttering up the long multipitch routes. Many beginner climbers seem to flock to the Potrero at the chance of doing multipitch routes which are fully bolted. The seriousness of the climbs are underestimated and often result in dangerous epics. Everyday we heard and saw repeated rockfall. Perhaps they were due to the increased climber traffic, recent rainfall, or some people speculate that the nearby quarry's blasting is somewhat responsible. When we left the Potrero, I was relieved that there had been only half a dozen injuries and no deaths.

3 amigos
Jose Juan, Rik and Leanne in the Cemex Lab

Our good friend Jose Juan works at the Cemex Plant in Hidalgo. We were fortunate to have an interesting tour through the newly reopened concrete factory. This factory was the first established concrete factory in Mexico and was opened exactly 100 years ago.


  • Gumbies,

    Glad to hear that you made it back safe and sound from Hidalgo - while you were down there I read a report on the web about a climber dying on a climb not long before you arrived at Portrero Chico.

    Happy New Year! Look forward to reading more about the trip on the blog.

    Cheers, Gord

    By Anonymous gw, at 10:55 am  

  • Rick,

    Sadly, your description sounds like it may be a case of 'suicide by climbing' - not unlike those distraught people who intentionally get ino a onfrontration with officers of the law in an attempt to "commit suicide by police."


    By Anonymous gw, at 8:34 pm  

  • you're always so well informed. we knew about the accident too - though the details make little sense. although an experienced climber this guy was trying to climb the longest and loosest climb in the potrero barefoot and using no rope; he also didn't tell anyone where he was going. I think he knew he was taking about the same risk with his life as, say, a soldier on D-day in Normandy; our own climbing is truly a walk in the park by comparison (maybe Central Park in New York during the daytime ;)

    to be fair, the rock in the Potrero tends to be loose almost everywhere. The availability of ample bolt protection lures many an inexperienced climber high onto the walls where they proceed to pull off chucks of rock much to everyone's detriment. we saw bombardment from above almost every day. combine this with the crowds of other climbers below who generally do not wear helmets, and you've got a dangerous situation. during our stay there were 3 or 4 other, rockfall-related injuries - all these were non-life-threatening, but this too was a matter of some luck.

    By Anonymous rick, at 8:49 pm  

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