The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. –Joseph Campbell
I am very sad to report the death of our good friend Homero Gutierrez. Homero was the first Hidalgo local to befriend the visiting climbers and turn his property into the Camp 4 of the Potrero Chico.
For many years he offered us all a home away from home and hosted many a Thanksgiving dinner for 100 climbers, many a Super Bowl party, and the annual New Year’s Eve bash complete with live music, fireworks and mechanical bull.
Tami and I were the first climbers to settle permanently in Hidalgo and relied heavily on Homero for everything from purchasing property to finding a good mechanic.
Homero’s generous heart gave out on July 3rd, 2014 at the age of 59. He will be sorely missed.
Herewith a selection of photos culled from the interwebs:
Remember this little guy?
Caleb was adopted by Chris Palmer, a Brit who was living in Austin but has since moved back to England. Not bad for a Mexican street orphan.
In next month’s post I will be featuring our efforts to improve the lot of the local mutts.
Todo por servir se acaba. Everything wears away from use.
I recently finished my first novel by Peter Temple, Truth, and came across an excellent paragraph. It talks about boxing but I think it very well describes the rock climbing experience.
“He thought boxing might give him courage. It didn’t but he loved it from the start–the exercises, the drills. And most of all the sparring, the fighting. In the ring, in the thrall of adrenaline, looking over the fence of your fists into the stone eyes of the other man, a great calm took you.
“There was nothing else–a world stopped. Just the two of you, the smell of glove leather, of resin, of the salve, you were in a dance, hypnotized by each other. In the ring, time became elastic, it extended, contracted, extended. You felt alive in a way you never felt otherwise. There was a sense of order, there were rules, there was clear intent, ways and means, there was discipline and power. You felt little pain, your concentration on your opponent was total. He was your universe. He was you and you were him.”
Many of you have noticed that it’s been a while since I posted. I had major computer problems in April and lost a whole month of good photos. Then May came and went and I fell victim to my procrastinating habits so here we are in the middle of June and I’m finally getting out my May posting. There was actually a small but steady stream of climbers passing through in May, including a couple of blokes on their way to Brazil for the World Cup.
Ann Ramsey and I have finally finished the new route we started on the Jungle Warfare sector. Galletas con Leche (Milk and Cookies) 5.8, is a fine addition to this beginner’s wall.
Meanwhile, Mark Grundon put up a couple of moderates on the TNT Wall to the left of Tortilla Flat: Muffin Top (5.8) with Norma Torres and Dos Ninis (5.9) with Cope Fernandez.
The big news is that I finally, after two full years, finished and climbed my new 8 pitch route, Time Loves a Hero (5.11), on the Mota Wall. You can see the first ascent by following my blog posts starting on April 30, 2012.
As you can see, I was quite ambitous when I started, hoping that the route would continue on the walls above the huge ledge. When I got up there, however, I found that building a trail to the back walls would be a monumental task. A better approach will be following the ridge for one more pitch past the summit of Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
The first week of May I had a huge day when I jugged up 8 pitches, pulling up, coiling and stashing the static ropes, then spent the next 8 hours doing the last of the trundling and removing the last recalcitrant cactuses that were in the way. Overall, however, I was very pleased with how clean the route was. It was dark by the time I reached terra firma and I was so exhausted it took almost an hour to make my way back down the hill to my van. It felt like I’d hit the proverbial wall while running a marathon.
A couple of weeks later I went up and removed the fixed ropes from the first two pitches and the stage was set for the free ascent. Being the end of May there were very few climbers around but I was fortunate to enlist a couple of hard-climbing gals from California for the big day.
Herewith the photos from the first ascent:
None of us brought enough water so by the end of the day we were all dehydrated and running on empty. Since we all took falls at the harder bits the ratings for this route are still ambiguous. It will take a few ascents to reach a concensus. A tip of the cap to Kristen and Amy for the hard work of climbing the route and helping retrieve the rest of the static lines.
And by the way, now that it’s done I’m permanently retiring this old harness:
The next morning was Saturday and, as usual, there was a group of kids at my door bright and early wanting to go climbing. My whole body ached and my feet were killing me but I didn’t want to disappoint them so I loaded the kids and the dogs in the van and took them up to see the huge old Oak tree and the spring where it flows out of the mountain. Everybody had a blast.
Quien sigue a la liebre, este la prende.
He who chases the rabbit is the one who will catch it.
Pursue not the outer entanglements,
Dwell not in the inner void;
Be serene in the oneness of things,
And dualism vanishes by itself.
The weather can’t make up its mind–every time we think Winter is over we get slammed by a few more days of chilly, wet misery. A few days ago everyone got caught on the walls by an unexpected storm that blew in with high winds and a drenching rain. No one is complaining, though; we’ve had many beautiful sunny days in the high 80′s.
A tip of the cap to Jon Jones who was here for a few weeks and did quite a bit of maintenance work replacing and upgrading many of the old anchors on the Mota Wall. He also did some fine tuning on a few routes that needed improvements and bolted a new route with Andy Genereux on the TNT Wall between Baked Fresh Daily and No Habla Español. Señor Sucio is graded at 5.10d/11a.
If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a link for the short video they made of Alex’s unroped ascent of El Sendero Luminoso: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Phl82D57P58
Every Saturday morning Rosaura 10, and her brother Bryan 8, show up on my front porch all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed eager to go climbing. Sometimes they bring other kids who want to have a go. Both of them have become adept at belaying and lowering a climber with a gri-gri.
Hay mas tiempo que vida.
There is more time than life.
We must embrace pain and use it as fuel for our journey.
The last couple of weeks of January were very quiet but this month things picked up considerably with a steady stream of climbers coming and going.
On the new route front, Ann Ramsey and I have begun to clean and add more routes in the Jungle Warfare sector and Rick Ross has been quietly developing a new area on the Sense of Religion Wall up past the Hi Life sector. More info should be available soon.
The cold weather appears to be behind us, with the daytime temps in the 80′s and sunny so the action has shifted to the north-facing walls which are in the shade. El Sendero Luminoso has been receiving quite a bit of attention since Alex Honnold’s remarkable solo ascent a few weeks ago.
Justo es que pierda lo suyo, quien quiso robar lo tuyo.
It is only just that he who would rob you lose everything.
Whoever wants to understand much must play much.
The peak of the season has come and gone and it was a good one in spite of some nasty weather which made picking up and dropping climbers off at the airport a stressful and sometimes harrowing event. There was enough good weather, however, so that nobody’s trip was a total wash-out.
There has been no new route activity so far this winter but next month we are expecting four parties who will be bolting in various different sectors.
Alex Honnold stole the show again this year with his mind-boggling solo of El Sendero Luminoso. Imagine pitch after pitch of 5.12 slab climbing where most of the hand holds are side-pulls and there is nothing for the feet.
Radek and Shirley Chalupa were back for the third year in a row and though they didn’t stay long and the weather wasn’t perfect they managed to climb some good routes. You can see more of their travels around Mexico on their blog: chossclimbers. com
I somehow went and lost about 6 weeks of photos in my camera so if I took your photo for this section and it doesn’t appear you’ll just have to come back next year.
El mentiroso debe primero saber la verdad.
The liar must first know the truth.
Reality is what refuses to go away after I stop believing in it.
–Phillip K. Dick
The season is well under way, with climbers from all over the globe arriving by land and air. We’ve had some chilly weather dipping down from the North but it hasn’t been severe enough to prevent anyone from getting out and on the walls.
Two years after his horrific accident (remember here: magicedspotrerochico.com/?p=1822) Frank has returned to the Potrero with one main goal: to climb Double Trouble, the route he was working on when he fell.
Because the second pitch is a tricky 5.10d (which everyone knows is harder than 5.11) and both of us are kinda outta shape, we enlisted the cutest girl in the world to lead us up it.
Adrian Tanguay led the first pitch of Double Trouble while Sierra and I climbed the first two pitches of Leap of Faith so I could get some good photos.
Sierra then rapped to the first pitch of Double Trouble and smoothly led the second pitch.
Frank struggled a bit but did not give up.
Congratulations, Frank, long may you run.
Gino and Sierra made a three-day ascent of Sendero Luminoso, 15 pitches, 5.12d, over a very chilly Thanksgiving.
You can see the video they made here: vimeo.com/user3044616
The tiny puppy we found is developing into a beautiful, strong, healthy pit bull who needs a permanent home.
La amistad sincera es un alma repartida en dos cuerpos.
True friendship is one soul shared by two bodies.