Trip Length: 5 Days
Activities: Rock Climbing, Hiking
Highlights: El Potrero Chico, Cactus.... Everywhere
Video credit goes out to Jared Watson
Day 1 - Flight to Monterrey
Catch a flight to Monterrey Mexico. First off, the airport at Monterrey has a starbucks. This was a nice surprise. The airport is very nice, and easy to find your way as it is not very large. Once we gathered our bags, we were flagged down by our taxi driver "Herby". We arranged to have a taxi pick us up ahead of time, although any taxi driver will know where to take you if you hold out a carabiner. Our taxi ride was $55 USD but included the latest guidebook. The drive from Monterrey to El Potrero takes ~ 30 minutes and will take you through the small town of Hidalgo. Here most taxis will swing by the grocery store if you want to pick up some food. You can always walk there later during your stay which takes ~ 30 min. There are many accommodations that can be found on PotreroChico.org. Accommodations range from tent camping, to private rooms, or even an entire house if you have a large group. We opted for renting a very nice and large house from Jorge for $90 USD per night although there are less expensive houses to rent. This was during the busiest time of year over the new year holiday so $90 is on the high end of what you can expect to pay. You can email Jorge at for available houses to rent. After swinging by the grocery store, we were dropped off at our rented house to settle in and plan for the next days climbing.
Day 2 - Hike to the top of El Toro
The next day we woke to rain and a forcast indicating it was not going to stop. There are climbing areas that do stay dry like The Surf Bowl wall among others. We opted for a hike to the top of El Toro. This hike is great for an off day to rest the arms, but will be work on the legs. The hike is ~ 8 miles round trip with 2,700 ft of elevation gain, and consists of a few scramble sections, with lots of Cactus to keep it interesting. GPS data can be found here. I hear the views are amazing, however we were in clouds as it was raining so our view was quite limited. After completing the hike, we grabbed some AMAZING food at La Posada. They have a good beer selection, and super quality food. This place also has a gear shop with the essentials if you forget anything.
Day 3 - 4 - Time to Climb
El Potrero features over 600 sport climbs, many of which are multipitch. Nowhere else can you find a 23 pitch cimb that is bolted the entire way and has almost no approach time. Mountain Project has a good selection of the routes there, however we found that TheCrag.com featured the most complete list and has a nice satellite view with all the climbing areas outlined. Finding your way to the climbing couldnt be any easier. There is a main road leading into the canyon of which on either side is climbing just steps from road. Many of the popular walls have a plaque at the base to indicate what route it is which is nice. There are a few guidbooks available, however we stuck with just the paperback book we received from the taxi ride. This is the latest up to date book, however it features no maps or pictures. This ended up not being to much of an issue as the site shown below has a nice outlined map of the areas. Each area features different rock from slabby face climbing, to retro bolted crack climbing, towers and juggy fun overhangs. We were here over the new years holiday and thought it was going to be way overcrowded having to wait for routes to open up. This was far from what we experienced. We did not have to wait for any routes to open up the entire time we were there. Some of the more popular multipitch routes like Yankee Cliper and Space Boyz get a lot traffic so just get there before sunrise if you want first go.
Day 5 - Quick Boulder Sesh and the Town Market
Our flight out this day was late in the afternoon so we had some time to get some quick bouldering in and a trip to the town market. Bouldering in El Potrero is limited to one area at Plutonia Cave. There are a few routes on the outside of the cave, with the majority on the inside. Bring a headlamp if you want to boulder in the cave as no light penetrates. The hike to Plutonia Cave is quite confusing your first time (at least it was for us). If you do decide to go, after passing through the mining road gate, pass by two trails on your left, and take the 3rd trail on your left heading up hill. Hang a right at the slabby rock that resembles an archway and scramble up and over. Keep heading up until you reach the cave.
After getting in a few climbs we walked into Hidalgo to check out the town market. This happens each Tuesday morning, and features about a half mile of foods stands, clothing stands, and miscellaneousitems for sale. Many climbers re-stock their food supplies on this day as the produce and street food is very cheap. After gettign our fill of street food, we headed back to the house to ctach a ride with Herby to the airport.
Links contained in this article:
Hike to El Toro GPS data: https://www.strava.com/activities/464975898/overview
El Potrero Chico Main Website: http://potrerochico.org/
Congost de Mount Rebei: www.picoseuropa.net/prepirineos/congost-montrobei/index.html
Congost de Mount Rebei GPS Track: www.strava.com/activities/152073867
Hotel Estel in Berga: hotelestel.wordpress.com
Pedra Forca GPS Track: www.strava.com/activities/152073872
Hotel Guilleumes in Monestrol: www.guilleumes.com
La Teresina Via Ferrata: www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=4609311
Via Ferrata GPS Track: www.strava.com/activities/152073889
Deep Water Soloing Information: climbinspain.com/2010/07/tossa-deep-water-solo-in-costa-brava