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El Arcotete

  • Grade context: US
  • Approach time: 5 mins
  • Photos: 9
  • Ascents: 98

Seasonality

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Summary

Beautiful limestone arch with amazing routes and tufas. Mostly steep climbing with roof sections, often above the small river running through the cave.

Description

Despite the steepness you also find easier routes. Some of the routes have extensions into the higher sections of the cave.

Due to the fact that many of the steep routes end above the river, cleaning the routes can be rather challenging and it is not unlikely that you end up with a wet rope or wet feet . Downclimbing is definitely something to think about for some routes.

The cave is shaded all day and well protected from rain. That being said, it can be quite chilly at the base as the wind blows through the cave, especially if you belay from the Big Ledge.

Also, be aware that the park is quite popular with zip-lining, horseback riding and hiking. Many of the tourists come down to the base of the climbs and take pictures. Watch out to not throw rocks on them .

Access issues

There is an fee per person to enter park ($10 pesos 2019) and a fee fro climbing ($20 pesos per person and day in 2019).

Approach

From San Cristóbal drive east in direction of Tenejapa. After about 5km you will see a big Pemex petrol station on your right and shortly thereafter a big sign for the El Arcotete Parque Ecoturistico. Take a right on this dirt road and follow the signs to the park. The last part of the road is a steep downhill. Park there and hike down the stairs to the river where the climbing is.

Where to stay

In San Cristóbal de las Casas or you may camp for a small fee ($35 pesos for the first and $25 for subsequent nights) at the El Arcotete Parque Ecoturistico.

Ethic

Be aware that some of the stalactites can break if they are wet on the bottom or simply to thin.

History

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The Arcotete has a long history. They say, the old mayas already used it for their ceremonies and as a place to do offerings to their gods. Later on, at the time when San Cristóbal de las Casas was built, they tell the legend from a Frenchmen called Jean Francois d'Arcotete. He gave the name to the arch, which we use until today. Because of the loss of his wife, he took his life inside the arch. According to the locals, you can still here Jean weeping, in some of the cold nights in february.

Today, the Arcotete is an ecoturistic park inside the terrain of a local tsotsil comunity. The first climbing routes where established by Grupo Escala Chiapas. From 2003 to 2011 the group equiped 7 routes in the area. Years later in 2017, Sofia Tapia Garcia and Martin Siller explored the huge potencial of the arch and started equiping more than 30 routes. With the help from their friends Jose Carlos Ramos, Lucas Warmington, Ulises Guerrero, Karsten Thess and Ernesto Hernandez they changed the place within a year into a nice little climbing crag.

Routes

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Grade Route

These routes are at the base of the arch on the left side. Without crossing the river.

The first line on the left side of the cave. Shares first bolt with Chamula Yodler and passes 2 small roofs.

FA: Alejandro Gomez Aldama, 2003

A little extension of Gollum. The ancors were set from speleologics years ago.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Extension of El Puerco Valiente. Long endurance route with bouldery ending.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Shares 1st bolt with Gollum and then trends right through 3 small roofs with great rests.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Extension of Chamula Yodler. Spectacular moves in the big roof. First 5.13 of Chiapas.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Nice moves through the first roof followed by a little boulder.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Extension of El Dorado. Sequence of hard long moves through the big roof.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Goes through the center of the first roof to the big white tufa and ends before the big roof starts.

FA: Alejandro Gomez Aldama, 2005

Extension of Intenevris. Extend quickdraws to avoid rope drag.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

The longest route in the arch. An absolute journey in the vertical and horizontal. This route is the combination of Intenevris, "La Serpiente Cósmica" and Helldorado. Extend quickdraws to avoid rope drag.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Start on Intenevris. On the penultimate bolt climb right and through the roof till you reach the chains of "El Tótem". Please be carfull with the fragile stalactites.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Start on “La casa del murciélago mutante” but at bolt 7 climb left and onto the anchors of "El Tótem".

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Boulder in first roof and chimney in the upper roof.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Start on “La casa del murciélago mutante”. At bolt 9 climb right. Very nice boulder at the end.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

The easiest way through the first roof.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

The direct start to the route "Jade".

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Start at "La Torre de Mordor" and keep climbing to the balcony on the other side of the arch. Belay from there to clean the route.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

The route starts at the very end of the little beach next to the water with the standing stalactite column. Big jugs all the way up. Protected with bolts and slings. A candidate for downclimbing.

FA: Alejandro Gomez Aldama, 2005

This is the big ledge inside of the arch. Access it by climbing up at the base of "La Torre de Mordor".

The route starts on the big ledge (repisa) inside the arch. Bouldery start, nice finish. Crawl through the small cave behind the ancors to get to the balcony and get back dry.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Start at the end of the Big Ledge. Goes all the way up, right next to the balcony. To escape dry, climb left from the ancors into the balcony.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Shares the first bolt with "El Paso del Murciélago". Beautyful pinches lead you to a big ledge. To escape dry you can walk left on the legde into a big room. From there you can crawl through a small cave to the balcony and walk back.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

The route starts on the big ledge in the middle of the arch. It shares the first bolt with the route "La Llorona" and then goes to the right. To escape dry, escape like in "la Llorona".

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

These routes start on the right side of the other side of the arch, next to the dam. Only accessible from December to June.

The route starts from the dam on the other side of the arch. Super fun climb! To get back dry, escape like in "La Llorona".

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

These routes are on the other side of the river. To get there go downstream and use the bridge to cross. The first routes are next to the river, other ones a bit uphill.

Leftmost route on the other side of the river.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Climb the route "El Totem" and continue through the roof until you connect to "La Historia sin fin" and all the way up. In the middle part you can protect with slings. Rope drag!

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Starts just right of "El Tótem". To avoid a runout at the end, take a sling with you and protect around a big stalactite.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Slabby Start to technical moves on broken sidepulls and ledges. A bit run out with easy climbing to the anchor.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Shares first bolt with "Stoamandl" and passes left of the nice long tufa. Slabby start to tufa jug hauling.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

Right of nice long tufa. Sahres 1st bolt with "Cri Cri". Slabby Start to nice climbing along the tufa. The upper section is grey rock with runnels and huge sand watches.

FA: Martin Siller, 2017

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