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El Potrero Chico

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Summary

El Potrero Chico is one of the world's premiere big wall sport climbing destinations with over 600 routes including more than a dozen big wall multi-pitch climbs.

Description

El Potrero Chico park is located just outside the small town of Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Being just an hour away from the city of Monterrey, Mexico it is very easy to get here. Flights from the U.S. can have you to the climbing destination in as little as a half day. A taxi can take you from the airport to EPC in under an hour for about $45USD.

El Potrero Chico is also very easily driven to from the U.S. The most common route for driving comes through Nuevo Laredo at the border with Texas. After the border crossing the drive can be done in under 3 hours.

The size and beauty of the mountain here is incredible and is a wonderful sight for the eyes. Come to Mexico and enjoy not just the climbing but the wonderful culture as well.

Get an impression about the area in this video: https://youtu.be/UngOjysJN-g

Guidebooks: There are currently (2019) 5 paper guide books for EPC moderately available:

  • EPC Climbing 2nd Edition by Frank Madden (2019). The most up to date guidebook for Potrero. Full color topo images. Route descriptions and beta for key routes to climb while visiting. Books are available at El Buho, Rancho El Sendero, La Posada, Homero's camping, Lemuria and Leo's Taco's and Taxi Services. Also a percentage of the proceeds go to El Buho to help with the building of a new school in a nearby town as well as to Escalando Fronteras for helping at risk youth in Monterrey. https://www.epcclimbing.com/

  • A Climber's Guide to El Potrero Chico by Simeon Heimowitz (2018). More like an extended rant about climbing development in EPC with some route information interspersed. The lack of index and odd cliff layout makes finding routes harder than it need be, too.

  • Climb El Potrero Chico by Ed Wright. Generally done as an annual edition, with the 20th edition in 2015. Mostly a route listing, little details beyond name & grade for most routes, though it does include hand-drawn topos for a few of the longer routes. No longer being updated or printed.

  • The Whole Enchilada by Dane Bass (2007). A real guidebook, route descriptions, cliff pictures, etc. Now somewhat out-of-date. But still floating around.

  • Mexico Rock: A climber's guide by Jeff Jackson 1999. The original guidebook to El Potrero Chico containing not only a lot of good information about climbing in Potrero but also several other areas in the Northern Mexico area. Long since out of print, there are still some copies floating around so if you can get your hands on one, do it. A cool part of the history of climbing in Potrero Chico.

  • And for digital: Rakkup guide, also by Frank Madden. A more up-to-date version, but similar to his printed edition. https://rakkup.com/guidebooks/el-potrero-chico-rock-climbing/

Rest Day Activities:

The biggest thing people like to do is visit the San Joaquin Termas (hot springs). Great rainy day activity.

Nearby by petroglyphs site is a must to see an incredible part of Mexican history. Boca de Potrerillos, about a 30 minute drive from the Potrero. Taxi can be reserved by any of the campgrounds.

Monterrey is a great city to visit, it has multiple museums to visit and a very cool downtown park.

Grutas de Garcia and the Grutas de Bustamante. Super cool cave systems that you can pay a small price to go in and explore a little.

Access issues

Most of the climbing here is in a State Park and there is no fee to enter. Please help maintain a clean environment in order to help maintain these privileges. Respect the local land people by packing out what you pack in.

Approach

The rock climbing is split between the East and West side of the canyon. Most of the crags have a 1 to 5 minute approach while some of the crags have a 45+ minute approach from inside the canyon. Since most of the camping and lodging is just outside the park you will have a 10 to 15 minute walk to get inside the park.

Where to stay

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General Entries:

Rancho El Sendero, Homero's, La Pagoda and La Posada all have excellent rooms and camping available all throughout the year. Reservations are best made ahead of time in the case you are trying to get one of their rooms or casitas for groups. Plan ahead as they can get booked up well before busy season.

Rancho El Sendero - https://www.facebook.com/ranchoelsendero Homeros - http://potrerochico.org/listing/homeros La Pogoda - http://potrerochico.org/listing/la-pagoda La Posada - http://www.elpotrerochico.mx/

There are also lots of other casitas in the area for rent as well. Contact information can be hard to find for these ones but you can maybe just show up and get lucky finding one of them. They will have signs posted out front for the climbers to see.

Ethic inherited from Nuevo León

Please don´t litter, some crags like LaHuasteca are a little runout, but thats how they were set, please avoid adding bolts. Rebolting efforts are much apreciated, just send a heads up to the local climbing comunity for safety reasons.

History

View historical timeline

Climbing in this area was started many years before American's ever came here to develop. A handful of summits had been completed back in the 60's. This area saw it's big sport development begin in the late 80's by more than a handful of people. Jeff Jackson, Ed Wright, Alex Catlin, Kurt Smith, Elaina Arenz, Dane Bass, Kevin Gallagher, Hank Caylor, Tony Faucett, Rick Watson, Craig McCudden, Curtis Mai, Todd McCray and a host of Austin climbers.

For the latest in guidebooks that are available in the area check out the following links: https://www.epcclimbing.com/

http://rakkup.com/guidebooks/el-potrero-chico-rock-climbing/

Routes

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Areas

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Name
Style
Routes
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Grades

Areas

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Name
Style
Routes
Ticks
Height
Grades
Mini Super Cliff
27
569
25m
1
TNT Wall Cliff
15
132
43m
1
16
305
30m
2
 Sport climbing,  Bouldering and other styles
61
161
110m
6

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Activity

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