Trip Report
Cumbia Cave: the Land of Giant Tufas
Wednesday December 4, 2013 11:25am
Lots of tufas!
Lots of tufas!
Credit: KRS-Grun

The Cumbia Cave is down a bumpy road in Nuevo León, Mexico. It is located in an area called Las Adjuntas, which is where two rivers converge in a beautiful lush canyon famous for it's canyoneering adventure called Matacanes. The Cumbia Cave is on the way to the already popular area El Salto also known for it's amazing tufa climbing.

Rodrigo on some big stalactites on Cascabel 11a
Rodrigo on some big stalactites on Cascabel 11a
Credit: KRS-Grun

Nuevo León is loaded with climbing potential. With only a few local climbers bolting and a smaller number of US climbers then pre-drug war days it is overwhelming how much development of amazing climbing there is to be done here now. Another area which has huge potential is called El Diente which is ten minutes down a road from the city of Monterrey. It has everything for a great sport climbing area four stalactite caves, a 1,000 foot El Diente (the tooth), and an amazing two pitch tufa wall two minutes off the road pictured below. It is all on National Park land but unfortunately a mining company now owns the access road to this amazing gem.
A small piece of the amazing tufa wall that is currently off limits de...
A small piece of the amazing tufa wall that is currently off limits despite being in a National Park.
Credit: KRS-Grun

We found the Cumbia Cave while driving to another cave full of amazing tufas in the Chipitin waterfall. We decided the drive and hike was a bit to much for that cave though I think somebody could bolt a long adventure route there and it would be amazing. We started bolting the Cumbia Cave last spring and there are currently 15 routes from 11a to 13a.

Me on Celso Pina 12c jug fest
Me on Celso Pina 12c jug fest
Credit: KRS-Grun


With the abundance of holds and tufas at the Cumbia Cave we will likely be bolting many more routes. Just looking around a little last weekend I spotted another cave across the canyon. We also bolted an area called the La Cueva del Oso two years ago it is a little more remote and has the white dust of north facing limestone caves.
Fernanda on La Gripa 12c in La Cueva del Oso
Fernanda on La Gripa 12c in La Cueva del Oso
Credit: KRS-Grun

If anyone is interested in climbing or bolting in the Cumbia Cave this winter feel free to contact me for beta on getting there. There is some beta here:
http://www.elpotrerochicoguides.com/#!cumbia-cave/c1rqz

Beta for La Cueva del Oso here:
http://www.elpotrerochicoguides.com/#!cuevadeloso/c1wet

Joel transformed into a Tufa on Vasco Viejo 11d
Joel transformed into a Tufa on Vasco Viejo 11d
Credit: KRS-Grun

Rodrigo on the FA of Vasco Viejo 11d
Rodrigo on the FA of Vasco Viejo 11d
Credit: KRS-Grun

Donkeys!
A Las Adjunatas donkey.  Don't leave your food out while camping these...
A Las Adjunatas donkey. Don't leave your food out while camping these guys are worse then Yosemite bears.
Credit: KRS-Grun
The river at the camping for the Cumbia Cave.
Steam rising on the river in Las Adjuntas in the morning.
Steam rising on the river in Las Adjuntas in the morning.
Credit: KRS-Grun

  Trip Report Views: 2,222
KRS-Grun
About the Author
KRS-Grun is a climber and climbing guide from El Potrero Chico, and Yosemite. Visit http://www.elpotrerochicoguides.com/ for more information

Comments
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RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Dec 4, 2013 - 11:36am PT
So this is where all the tufas I thought would be in Potrero went.

Interesting about the white dust on N facing caves.

Very nice, thanks.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
  Dec 4, 2013 - 11:40am PT
Looks like an awesome place!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Dec 4, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
What a relief! I wasn't going to click on this because I thought it
was about Giant Tofu! This tufa stuff looks waay yummier.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Dec 4, 2013 - 01:47pm PT
Looks amazing!
thebravecowboy

climber
walking, resin-stained, towards the goal
  Dec 4, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
looks tough
Mike Friedrichs

Sport climber
City of Salt
  Dec 4, 2013 - 02:26pm PT
Wow. I'm salivating. My favorite type of climbing by far is climbing on tufas. I've never climbed in Mexico and don't know if I feel safe going there. Sure looks great though. Thanks for sharing.
CBclimber

Trad climber
Durango, Colorado
  Dec 4, 2013 - 07:20pm PT
awesome Mark. Can't wait to climb there again!
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
  Dec 5, 2013 - 01:26am PT
"A small piece of the amazing tufa wall that is currently off limits despite being in a National Park."

Maybe it should be preserved the way it is?

Yes, I read the part about the mining company not allowing access...
all in jim

climber
  Dec 5, 2013 - 02:06am PT
Thanks for posting. It looks amazing.
cuvvy

Sport climber
arkansas
  Dec 5, 2013 - 02:55am PT
Climbing looks great. But, I want to climb into my 30's so not gonna risk it in that drug violence riddled area.
KRS-Grun

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Jan 6, 2014 - 10:21am PT
Aaarrrpppaa!!!!
Randisi

climber
  Jan 6, 2014 - 10:36am PT
Looks really cool.

But what do you need bolts for?

Just girth-hitch the stalactites. heh.
KRS-Grun

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Oct 24, 2014 - 08:53am PT
Here is a cool video Three Peaks Films shot down there: http://vimeo.com/105616007

Updated online guide can be found here:
http://www.elpotrerochicoguides.com/#!cumbia-cave/c1rqz

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Oct 26, 2014 - 12:44pm PT
Very nice!
ecflau

Gym climber
CA
  Oct 26, 2014 - 09:14pm PT
Thanks for the link, that look really fun!

Few questions to get the ball rolling here :

 What is the crime / safety like there? It seems to be in an area with heavy drug trade.

 What are accommodations like there?

 How are the people there like?

 How many routes are there? Are there multiple crags there?

I would love to get any beta on this to check out... thanks again for posting!
KRS-Grun

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Oct 27, 2014 - 09:01am PT
The Cumbia cave is best done as a side trip to El Salto Canyon. El Salto has better accommodations. You can camp or rent a cabin from Dona Kika who is the nicest lady on the planet. The Cumbia Cave is 40 minutes away from El Salto down a bumpy dirt road that needs a car with some clearance. Camping for the Cumbia is at a place called Las Adjuntas where two rivers come together and is where the famous Matacanes Canyoneering adventure finishes. On weekends Lalo is there to serve the Canyoneering people and has been extremely welcoming to climbers as we are there in the off season of canyoneering. He has an outdoor kitchen but things are pretty basic you need to come self sufficient. As far as safety El Salto and Las Adjuntas are up high in the mountains on dead end roads and have a much safer atmosphere then other parts of the region.

As far as route numbers there are 25 routes in the Cumbia and probably 150 something or more in El Salto which has been around since the 90's. Here is a link to Ulric's page with all the El Salto Routes: http://ulricrousseau.blogspot.com/2013/10/el-salto-mexico-climbing.html
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Oct 27, 2014 - 03:58pm PT
Thanks for the destination ideas! Most of the routes are of a difficulty well beyond me, but enough looks interesting to make it a worthy consideration for a week-long vacation.

Digging in more on the security situation:
1: Seems like some discouragement about camping out in the area- is this based on consideration for land use impact, or a security thing?

2: Is it kosher to rent a car in Monterrey and drive on the access roads to get there?

3: If we travel with climbing gear, an iPhone (my only phone, work provided), and wifey brings an SLR camera, are we making ourselves targets for theft? I assume some minimal degree of preventive maintenance is required, like not leaving stuff showing through the windows of the car.

4: If we get lost exploring some place, and pull off on a side road to bivy, how bad of an idea is that really?
KRS-Grun

Trad climber
Author's Reply  Oct 27, 2014 - 07:31pm PT
No discouragement for camping at the Cumbia just letting people know you have to be pretty self sufficient. There is not much impact because you can camp at a locals land and use his bathrooms.

If you rent a car you need a SUV to get down to the Cumbia as it is a bumpy steep dirt road. El Salto is all paved.

Having cameras does not make you a target. Monterrey is the second wealthiest city in Mexico so lots of people with nice things recreating. Common sense is always needed as anywhere. The only places I've been robbed is Boulder CO and San Francisco.

Depends where you are. If you get lost in La Campana one of the ghettos in Monterrey you are not ok, but most the ghettos are up on hills and easy to distinguish as there is no paint on most houses. Camping on a dirt road in the Park somewhere near the climbing areas is fine.

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