Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.
John Paul Cashiola wanted to borrow my drill so he agreed to go up on my project to retrieve the drill from the summit where it has been chilling for the last few months. I’ve been anxious to get back to work on the project so this was a good chance to mosey up and make sure all my ropes and anchors are in good condition.
There’s a good photo of JP on the summit later in the Rogues Gallery.
JP and Trevor Wood put the drill to good use by bolting a new route on the Outrage Wall. Celestial Connection (5.12b) starts to the right of Celestial Omnibus and takes you directly up to Mothership Connection.
Alas, I’ve broken one of my fingers so it will be a while before I can get up and finish my project. No worries, though, Tami and I will be staying here all Summer again so I’ll have plenty of time to get the route finished before the climbers return in the Fall.
Before she left last month, Ann Ramsey and I managed to bolt the easiest route in the Potrero. Jungle Warfare (5.6) is the first route on the newly opened Jungle Warfare Wall which is at the far left end of the Jungle Wall. You can see some photos in the Kids Climbing section below.
Radek and Shirley Chalupa have been making annual trips to the Potrero. They can only stay a week each time but they climb every day, have a blast and take some cool photos.
The following are from a new route that went in last Spring: Excalibur on the Ivory Tower:
Priscilla, age 9, and Rosaura, 7, have been arriving at my house every Saturday morning to feed the goldfish and go climbing. Last week I gave the camera to Rosaura and here’s what she came up with…
I recently brought down another filled book from the summit of Estrellita…
Todo por servir se acaba.
Everything wears away from use.
Pitch Black–6 pitches–5.9+, 5.10+, 5.9, 5.10+, 5.10-, 5.10+ FA: Marko Steffen, Mehgan Curry and Kevin Nicastro. Special thanks to Darren, Nate, Andrea, Chantal, Julian and Alan.
This wall was originally climbed by Alex Catlin in 1989 using trad gear and the occasional bolt but never cleaned of its vegetation or loose rock. It never received a second ascent. In 2011 Marko Steffen got permission from Alex to transform the line into a modern Potrero bolted multi-pitch and bolted the first two pitches with Meghan Curry. He returned this year and spent 5 weeks adding 4 more pitches with Kevin Nicastro and a number of other volunteers.
Bolting the third pitch on lead took so long that they decided to bolt the next three pitches top down, approaching from the summit of Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Climbing the seven pitches of Treasure, plus an additional ridge pitch, with heavy packs and five ropes was a monumental task that took all day and half the night. They finally reached terra firma after midnight–a trend that would continue throughout the project.
Photos courtesy of Marko Steffen.
This route has opened access to the beautiful creamy wall above the huge ledge high on the Mota Wall which has now been christened the Covenant Wall.
Josh McCoy has just posted a new video of him and Alex Honnold working and climbing Mi Regalo Favorito–19 pitches–5.13d.
We have been rescuing Hidalgo street dogs ever since we first arrived more than 20 years ago but last year Dottie Cross and Ann Ramsey bumped things up a few notches by establishing the Fiona Animal Shelter, a non -profit organization. Donations have been trickling in and on April 13 we helped them celebrate the opening of the new kennels and veterinary office and surgery.
Dottie and Ann spent the winter tirelessly canvassing the town talking people into getting their dogs neutered and vaccinated for free, helping people fence their yards and build dog houses, and providing them with free dog food. You can help by contacting Dottie through her web site potreropups.org.
Now that the busy season is winding down I’ve had a chance to introduce a new batch of kids to the joys of climbing.
My apologies if I took your picture for the gallery and it didn’t appear–I had some computer problems and lost a whole batch of photos. You’ll just have to come back next season!!
No da el que puede, sino el que quiere.
It’s not the able that give, but the desirous.
Routes rate me, not the other way around.
A big Thank You! and a tip of the cap to Mark Grundon and Dustin Stephens who replaced the old bolts on Pangea, one of the most popular route on the Spires.
Guppie and Fear of Flying also received some long overdue maintenance thanks to John Brewer and Rick Ross.
Unreported from last Spring, John Overmars and I fixed Las Chimuelas. The 5.9 second pitch originally went left, avoiding a vegetated ledge on the right. Over the years so many climbers went right through the ledge that the cactus has been cleaned off so we added a bolt making the right-hand variation a sweet 5.8.
We also added a bolt to the long run-out at the start of the third pitch and chains at the belay anchors. Most notably, I bolted a small ledge at the top of the third pitch. When we first put up the route there was a clump of cactus you could stand on to belay from but that clump soon fell off leaving a very uncomfortable belay.
Hopefully by my next posting I’ll have all the info, photos and topos for the new 5 pitch Pitch Black, as well as a new sector called the Jungle Warfare Wall.
Now that his kids are no longer actively climbing, Steve Ussach has decided to sell his house in the Potrero. Just ten minutes walk to the climbing and boasting spectacular views, the two bedroom casita sits on 3500 square meters (just under one acre) of land. Although it is fairly rustic, the house has water and electricity, as well as a septic system, fireplace and a swimming pool.
Asking price is $60,000.00 USD.
Alabanza en boca propia es vituperio.
Self-praise amounts to self-condemnation.
Do not fear death but rather the inadequate life.
We continue to enjoy a marvelous winter season in spite of the bizarre event that occurred here last month when a 12-piece, all-male, cumbia band and their support staff were kidnapped at gunpoint from a party and found a couple of days later in a well 50 miles away. This event did not affect the climbers in any way–nobody panicked, nobody fled. Everyone continued to climb and have fun–nobody more than Alex Honnold, who was here for almost two months and scored a number of impressive first, second and third ascents of big, hard routes.
Rest assured that you will be just as safe here as you would be in a movie theatre in Denver.
After spending a few weeks travelling around Mexico with his girlfriend Franke (in a “stolen” car that blew up near Guadalajara–but that’s a whole ‘nother story), Jens Richter returned to the Potrero and made the free ascent of his new route with Sam Magro.
Here is the topo of the route, which he has named El Prisionero del Cielo (Prisoner of the Sky), and photos of the ascent taken by Sam…
Jens has put up big routes all over the world and is very happy with this one, even though it was much more work than anything he’s done before. Check out Sam’s cool chalkbags: http://www.magomw.com. Sorry, can’t seem to get the linker working tonite.
In other news, Marko Steffen was here for a month and finished bolting Pitch Black, a 5 pitch route above La Ola. We’ll have a full report with photos in my next posting of this route which gains access to the beautiful dolomite wall above the Mota Wall.
Alex Honnold, with his partner Josh McCoy, tore it up with an impressive list of ascents during his visit. He got the FA of La Bestia (5.13d), an obscure short route bolted by Jeff Jackson. He also got the second ascent of El Gavilan–10 pitches, 5.13a, another Jeff Jackson/ Kevin Ghalager route on La Popa, a magnificent formation out in the desert 30 miles from Potrero Chico.
He also climbed what is probably the third ascent of Battle Royale–6 pitches, 5.13b/c, a Kurt Smith route in Las Estrellas Canyon.
Sonny Trotter climbed it a few years ago but I believe Paco Medina of Monterrey bagged the first ascent.
Most impressive, in my mind, was the first ascent of Mi Regalo Favorito–19 pitches, 5.13d, another Kurt Smith/Jeb Vetters project on the Outrage Wall. Before climbing this route Alex and Josh spent many days of hard, dirty, toil cleaning the vegetation and loose rock from the middle pitches.
While working on Mi Regalo Favorito he got a good look at the 5th pitch of Trail of Tears, an old Rodman route which had yet to go free so he bopped over and dispatched it at 5.13b.
Last but not least, Alex got the first ropeless solo of Timewave Zero–23 pitches, 5.12a.
I can honestly say that in 46 years of climbing I have never met anyone with the energy and drive of Mr. Honnold.
Check out this beautiful unclimbed wall on the south-facing side of Los Lobos Canyon…
We have a new property available to visiting climbers. Quinta Adriana is the closest rental to the climbing–it is literally a one minute walk to the Potrero Chico. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, huge living room with pool table, ample kitchen, landscaped yard with swimming pool, fully equipped gym with another bath, outdoor grilling area and huge porches with stunning views. Short term rentals are $120usd per night. Long term (1 month+) negotiable.
No hay camino mas seguro que el que acaban de robar.
No road is safer than the one just robbed.
Logic only gives man what he needs. Magic gives him what he wants.
–Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
It’s been a full month, the longest I’ve gone without posting since I started this blog, because, after a very slow start, the season snowballed on us and we’ve had more climbers here than the last two years combined. I’ve been busier than a one-armed paper hanger driving people from and to the airport, keeping people happy in the rental casitas and re-printing the guidebook which we ran short of right at the peak of the season. Although still well short of the number of visitors we were getting during the Tami’s Cafe Era it is good to see climbers are realizing that the media and State Dept. reports are overblown and everything here is tranquilo. You can see a few of the happy climbers in the Rogues Gallery below.
While my own project has been languishing, other new routes have been going up.
The big German route on the front side is ready to go and will receive it’s free ascent as soon as Jens and his girl Franke get back from a little tour around Mexico. Steffan unfortunately had to return to Germany due to a family crisis.
Meanwhile, Dustin Stephens and Mark Grundon bolted and climbed a new route on the Mota Wall. Que Onda, Guero? (5.12b/c) starts on La Vaca then continues up on steep rock about 10 feet left of the second pitch of La Vaca. The 42 meter pitch trends right at the top and ends at the anchor of La Vaca which was replaced with new stainless steel hardware.
Marko Steffen is back to finish his project in the Wild Kingdom. The five pitch route is going to give us access to the creamy walls above the big ledge on the Mota Wall.
Ann Ramsey is also back and plans to bolt some moderate routes on the slabs to the left of the Jungle Wall.
Guarda tu ayuda para quien te la pida.
Keep your counsel arrested until it is requested.
Music transcends all languages and barriers and is the most beautiful communicative skill one can have. Different types of music, whether it is vocal or instrumental, Eastern or Western, Classical or Pop or Folk from any part of the world can all be spiritual if it has the power to stir the soul of a person and transcend time for the moment. It makes one get goose-bumps in the body and mind and equates the highest mental orgasm and the release of grateful tears.
Ravi’s music definitely did that for me; he will be missed.
Remember little Caleb?
He now lives in Austin and was recently back for a visit during Thanksgiving.
In the last two weeks, friends of ours have found two puppies wandering the streets of Monterrey and have brought them to us. Bobby Brown, a male Golden Retriever, and Twinky, a female Lab are currently part of our pack but we are hoping to find permanent homes for them soon.
In other news, Dottie Cross has been busy convincing the locals to get their dogs neutered. She has clipped 27 dogs so far in the last 6 weeks. Work continues full steam ahead building a surgery and kennel for the Fiona Rescue Operation. We’ll have a full report in our next blog posting.
First of all, a big THANK YOU and tip of the cap to Luke Randell who carried an extra rope all the way to the top of Timewave Zero to replace the tattered old fixed rope on the last pitch.
A couple of years before reunification, Jens Richter and Steffen Klug attempted to escape to West Germany, were caught, and spent a few months in prison before their mountaineering club was able to post a ransom and get them officially allowed to leave. Today they travel the world putting up new routes.
After a week of exploring they decided to put up a route on the front side, just to the right of Land of the Free. The new line clocked in at seven, 50 meter pitches, all in the 11d, 12a range.
Here are the first photos of them bolting the route. All photos by Jens and Steffen.
Work on my new 8 pitch route has stalled pretty much completely because I was sick for 3 weeks with a nasty cold, cough, sore throat. I did mange a couple of trips up to continue the cleaning and should have more to report in my next blog posting.
Anda tu camino sin ayuda de vecino.
Walk your own road and bear your own load.