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.

 From high up, looking out the valley of El Portrero Chico. Photo by Lida Frydrychova.

From high up, looking out the valley of El Portrero Chico. Photo by Lida Frydrychova.

 The grandiose towers as you enter the valley proper. Photo by Lida Frydrychova.

The grandiose towers as you enter the valley proper. Photo by Lida Frydrychova.

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”.

 Just another gigantic limestone wall to climb. Photo by Lida Frydrychova.

Just another gigantic limestone wall to climb. Photo by Lida Frydrychova.

 I guess this place is alright. Photo by Lida Frydrychova.

I guess this place is alright. Photo by Lida Frydrychova.

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.

 Don’t forget about me! A few pitches up fantastic limestone. Photo by Lida Frydrychova.

Don’t forget about me! A few pitches up fantastic limestone. Photo by Lida Frydrychova.

 High above the valley after a successful climb, Lida starts the rappel. Photo by Josh Lynn.

High above the valley after a successful climb, Lida starts the rappel. Photo by Josh Lynn.

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.

 The token climbing ass shot, butt on descent. Photo by Lida Frydrychova.

The token climbing ass shot, butt on descent. Photo by Lida Frydrychova.

 The Gang right to left: Lida Frydrychova, Rena Ahmadova, Catalina Sanchez, Mike Samson, Shaun Luong and Josh Lynn.

The Gang right to left: Lida Frydrychova, Rena Ahmadova, Catalina Sanchez, Mike Samson, Shaun Luong and Josh Lynn.

More information on climbing in El Portrero Chico can be found at:

El Portrero Chico - Mexico's Sport Climbing Paradise

Mountain Project - El Portrero Chico


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