Two Eye Catching MultiPitch Climbs in Potrero Chico Mexico
Two Eye Catching MultiPitch Climbs in Potrero Chico
By Kai Holloway
I looked down at the Potrero Chico Valley, and across at the stunning limestone cliffs that make up the climbing paradise of Mexico. We were at the summit of Super Nova, a classic eight pitch 5.11, water fall like rock feature. I couldn’t believe we had actually made it to the Yosemite of Mexico.
This January my family of five began our climbing adventure starting in Maine, and traveling south towards the Shawangunks, and Potrero Chico.
Throughout our trip south in our skoolie (converted school bus that we call BaseCamp) I had been dreaming of climbing and hiking in Potrero Chico because of its unique concentration of world class multi and single pitch sport routes. It was everything I hoped for, and a few pitches more!
These are my two favorite climbs in Potrero Chico.
My favorite route we did during our time in Potrero Chico was Super Nova, an amazing eight pitch 5.11a that goes straight up a waterfall like stretch of rock to an amazingly scenic summit.
Ever since we first arrived in Potrero Chico, Super Nova had stood out to me as one of the coolest rock faces in the park. But from the road it looks blank, and overhanging, so I assumed it was out of our grade range. I was pleasantly surprised when my dad and I looked in the guide book, and discovered that Super Nova was only 5.11a.
The next morning my dad and I woke up early, ate a quick breakfast of granola, and prepared our climbing gear for our ascent of Super Nova. The original plan had been to climb Satori, an awesome multi pitch 5.10c that goes up to the top of a ridge line, but that morning the wind was blowing, and it was even misting a little. The summit of the big peaks were surrounded by fog. It was uncommon weather for the desert climate here in the Potrero Chico area, but we decided we didn’t have to cancel our plans because Super Nova is tucked away at the back of the Estrellita Canyon, and therefore is protected from the wind and weather.
We started the fifteen minute walk from Finca El Caminante to the Potrero Chico Park with dogs barking behind us, then began the approach up to the base of Super Nova.
My dad clipped our new quickdraws, an anchor, the grigi, and a PAS (personal anchor system) to my harness. I was ready to lead the first, and hardest pitch of this monster climb.
The first pitch definitely felt like a 5.11, and both me and my dad had trouble on the crux — a long reach for a crimp over a lip with terrible foot holds.
Once we finished the first pitch it was a smooth ride up to the summit. I timed some of our pitches, and we were consistently finishing them in under 20 minutes.
The summit was really unique, and the view was stunning. We used a frayed fixed line to scramble up to a plateau, with small shrubs. My dad and I signed the guest book, and took in the view of the valley, and the fog shrouded peaks around us. We had conquered all 8 pitches of Super Nova!
|Belaying while anchored to the rock|
La Aguja Del Rey
La Aguja translates to “the needle,” and is an amazing double spire with four routes ranging from 5.10 to 5.12.
|La Aguja Del Rey in the Background|
We decided to climb a 5.11a route known as El Machismo because other climbers were already set up on the other more popular routes.
The crux was an overhanging bulge that had nothing but little crimps. The second bolt was hard to clip, but I made it to the anchor where I belayed my dad up. My dad belayed me up the second 5.10b pitch before bringing my brothers, Cove and Zevy, up the first pitch.
I then belayed my dad up to a good ledge in the middle of the two spires. There was another nice group of climbers up on the ledge setting up silks between the two spires.
Once my brothers had climbed up the second pitch I began my ascent of the last pitch (5.10c) up the smaller spire. The holds were thin, and I felt like the whole spire could topple off the edge of the cliff.
Once I got to the top I stood up, and put my hands in the air, and waved at my mom down on the ground below. Unfortunately nobody was able to get a good photo of me on the top of the world!
The plan had been for my mom to climb La Aguja with us, but it was getting late, and she was fine with staying behind.
The other climbers couldn’t believe we managed to get four people up and down the spire in one afternoon.
Check out my article about my family’s first day in Potrero Chico on my blog: https://www.kaioutside.com/
Potrero Chico is such a unique, and fascinating park, with one of a kind rock structures, abandoned glitter mines, and so much to explore, located right outside of the town of Hidalgo that has kind people, amazing tamales, and gorditas (Mexican greasy street food).
We definitely plan on driving BaseCamp back to Potrero Chico on our way back north, and I plan to write lots more stories about our time there!