El Potrero Chico. Mexico, January, 2012 Mr.E & JTM honeymoon
At last the long-awaited honeymoon. Mr.E and I married in September and with our busy work schedules - had barely laid eyes on each other since. E was starting to wonder if he'd married a figment of his imagination. We blow out of LA the day after New Year eager to spend some time together.
AeroMexico sucks BTW. They ended up being our biggest bogie on this trip. F*#ked it up both going and returning. Going- the plane never showed. Missed connecting flight (of course) half a day was lost. Returning - Mr.E's name wasn't on the registration at all. By the time they straightened it out we got dumped in Mexico City and ended up sitting on our asses, all day waiting for a connecting flight. Our greatest fear... not that we would be killed by marauding Mexican drug-lords, but that we would be left to die in some Aeropuerto-Purgatory/Hell while waiting for a connecting flight to the Twilight Zone. I'll get to my observations about the Mexico City Airport later... but I digress. Back to the climbing.
We eventually got to Monterrey, Magic Ed found us and drove us out to a house we rented. We woke to magnificent, tall limestone. Bolted multi-pitch on finger-friendly rock. Sport-climbers paradise and the perfect place to get back on the rock after a 6 month hiatus. It was all good. We climbed like crazy. Ended up doing a total of 68 pitches (on 57 separate routes) in 11 days.
OK- less writing more pics:
2000 feet of bolted limestone awaited...
El Potrero Chico:
View from our back porch.
Moon setting in the morning light:
The house we rented. Nice kitchen & scalding hot showers, but the place was a refrigerator and impossible to get warm. A glass baking pan they had provided literally exploded
on us one night. We were really hungry and it smelled really good, so we picked our veggies out the shrapnel and ate it anyway.
Getting our feet wet. 1st few days we stuck to easy climbing.
Jungle Wall: We did the 1st three pitches of Yankee Clipper (5.10b) , Space Boys (5.9+)
and Las Chimuelas (5.9)
Magic Ed route marker. I started off thinking these were lame, but I'm a convert. Every route, everywhere should have one. It's so convenient when you don't have to actually figure sh#t out. ;) We also noticed that the hangars on the long routes had reflective tape on the top-sides to facilitate night rapping.
Weather was cold much of the time we were there so we spent a considerable amount of days camped out on the south-facing Mota Wall. All of the climbs were excellent. We worked that wall over. Climbed every route under 5.11. I'm no 5.11 climber but I even managed an 11b (Flaming Bearded Lady
)one day. The ratings are a bit soft but hey... I'll take it.
Erik onsighting (Flaming Bearded Lady
Mr.E- Onsighting Onward Through the Fog
5.11c not a great pic, but he was super excited!
The spires are a prominent double-spire in the center of the Potrero
1st day we were there some guys set up a slack-line between them.
We did some climbing on the south side. Mr. E had his 50th birthday while we were there. This is him- heading up Young Crankenstein
5.11d on his birthday. The crux spit him off so it took a nice whip and a hang but he managed it.
After the spires we headed up to the Outrage Wall.
Shot of the Spires from the Outrage Wall (Mota/Mileski wall in the background):
Strange ocher dirt at the base of the Outrage Wall- probably dug out of the mine. Me ID-ing Little Route, Big Tufa 10c
Obligatory Phallic tufa-shot: Ride-em-cowboy!
Every three days or so we'd take a walk into town. It was about an hour each direction. Farmer's market two days a week to pick up fresh veggies and Snickers. That road into town is LONG. The rest-days spent in the refrigeration unit, playing cards and reading got a bit maddening at times but it was nice to spend some quality time with my man. I'll add here.. we had no internet, no computer, no TV or movies, no phone and no car for two whole weeks. We both plowed through like four books each.
"Princess" the complimentary dog that came with the rental:
Local donkey that was saw hauling huge sacks up and down the road every day:
Long road to town. Just in case you don't know what a mountain is... I'm pointing at one.
Mr E visited El Potrero 10 years ago back in it's heyday. His observation was that it was basically a ghost town by comparison these days because of all the negative press. Really only one campground for 99% of the climbers. On the up-side there was less fighting for routes and we only had one French Canadian kick rocks down on us. Damn Quebec-ies.
Busy climbing day at the Wonder Wall:
Clipping Mexi-mank. Old ring bolt. 1st modern bolt was like 30 feet off the ground so we took it.
Das Mr.E "Coach" as I always call him when he wears the stripey-shirt.
Stone sitting man we found at the base of a climb:
We took a long trek up to the tippy-top of the cliff-line above the Milesky Wall one day. Were looking for some crack-climb. Since there were no magic Ed markers up there we of course were dorks and couldn't find it, but it's not a true Mr.E/Maidy epic unless we bushwhack (through cactus or something appropriatly spiney) for an hour looking for a route. We looked like we had been ambushed by a pack of chupacabras after that hike. The trip felt more complete after that.
Shot at the top of the hill. Me and E:
Cemetery in Hidalgo:
On the trip back, as I mentioned, we had to fly south to Mexico city to get north to our destination. (Meh) . As we were finally boarding our now-extended flight, the airport ugliness finally got to me.
I turned to E and blurted out:
"Let's blow this colander!"
We both were laughing hysterically as we boarded.