Calgary Section in El Portrero Chico, Mexico
Authentic Mexican culture, easy pace and lots of multi pitch climbing are the distinct characteristics of this hidden climbing gem in northern Mexico. Relatively little known to Canadians but very popular with Texans, this small area of northern Mexico boasts over 600 sport routes many of them multi-pitch climbs including the longest climb in North America, The Time Wave Zero.
Extend the season by chasing the sun
It was my boyfriend’s idea to change things up and instead of the usual US trip where the exchange rate has been unfavorable for the last few trips, we would head some place where climbing is excellent, weather is warm and traveling low hassle. El Portrero Chico met all these requirements. We decided to post the trip with the ACC Calgary Section. In mid-November we had organized a group of six excited climbers and embarked on 7 days of climbing in warm Mexico. The very basic house we rented was perfect for our group with shared kitchen and 2 people per room. It worked well and was cheap. Climbing was only 15 minutes walk away. Over the 7 days we climbed many of the top rated climbs and enjoyed Mexican culture of “anything goes”.
Right at your doorstep
The rock was limestone – sharp, with nice pockets and grippy. Walls had cacti and palm trees growing on the interesting thin-like rock features of the canyon. Most of the time we could either see or hear each other even though we might have been climbing different climbs — that is how close the walls were. The route descriptions were straight forward and all routes required rappels.
So many options, so few days
The most exhilarating climbs were the Spires with only two pitches but exhilaratingly exposed including the triumphant stand on the top. Other popular climbs were Jungle Mountaineering, the first bolted route in EPC, Yankee Clipper, Estrellita, Will the Wolf Survive and for cragging the Virgin Canyon.
For all of us the Mexican culture and its people were a nice change of pace and brought lots of laughter during our outings.
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